11/30/06 - Animal Manure More Environmentally Dangerous Than Automobiles
According to the UN agency's Livestock's Long Shadow-Environmental Issues and Options report, farm animal manure produces 18 percent more greenhouse gas emissions, as measured in CO2 equivalent, than cars. It is also a major source of land and water degradation, the report said. The fermentation of food inside the intestines of animals leads to the production of dangerously high quantities of methane and ammonia in feces. Both ammonia and methane are significant contributors to acid rain. The report pointed out that a surge in meat and dairy product consumption has proved a boost to the livestock sector. The world's livestock sector now uses up nearly a third of the earth's entire land surface, it said. The report listed some potential remedies to reduce the negative effect of the global livestock. They included controlling access and removing obstacles to mobility on common pastures; payment schemes for environmental services in livestock-based land use; and improving animals' diets to reduce intestinal fermentation and consequent methane emissions.
11/30/06 - GM confirms: We're developing a plug-in hybrid
Rick Wagoner, chief executive of General Motors Corp., has finally come clean with plans to commercialize a plug-in hybrid consumer vehicle. He didn't give any dates, only a commitment that GM is considering this a top priority. "Production timing will depend on battery development," he said." Wagoner did say, however, the first version would be a Saturn VUE plug-in hybrid. "We're working today with a number of battery companies to develop the technology necessary to build a plug-in hybrid." Wagoner made the comments during a speech today at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show. An environmental activist apparently wasn't satisfied with the commitment, or the lack of a date, and walked up on stage asking Wagoner to sign a pledge to be the industry's fuel-economy leader by 2010. Wagoner's response: "You have to leave now."
11/30/06 - Acoustic Levitation Works On Small Animals
"Researchers for at least two decades have used acoustic levitation to suspend light materials without a container. Wenjun Xie, a materials physicist at Northwestern Polytechnical University in China, has previously used ultrasound fields to levitate globs of iridium and mercury, very heavy materials. Now the scientist has performed the feat with live animals. From the story: 'Xie and his colleagues employed an ultrasound emitter and reflector that generated a sound pressure field between them. The emitter produced roughly 20-millimeter-wavelength sounds (17,150hz using speed of sound in air c = 343 m/s), meaning it could in theory levitate objects half that wavelength or less.' Apparently the ants, spiders and ladybugs endured the trick just fine, but the fish didn't do so well due to lack of water." / More Info - Xie and his colleagues employed an ultrasound emitter and reflector that generated a sound pressure field between them. After the investigators got the ultrasound field going, they used tweezers to carefully place animals between the emitter and reflector. The scientists found they could float ants, beetles, spiders, ladybugs, bees, tadpoles and fish up to a little more than a third of an inch long in midair. When they levitated the fish and tadpole, the researchers added water to the ultrasound field every minute via syringe. The levitated ant tried crawling in the air and struggled to escape by rapidly flexing its legs, although it generally failed because its feet find little purchase in the air. The ladybug tried flying away but also failed when the field was too strong to break away from. "We must control the levitation force carefully, because they try to fly away," Xie said. "An interesting moment was when my colleagues and I had to catch escaping ladybugs." The ant and ladybug appeared fine after 30 minutes of levitation, although the fish did not fare as well, due to the inadequate water supply, the scientists report.
11/30/06 - NATO eyes greater role in energy security
NATO leaders will study at a summit starting on Tuesday whether the alliance should take more action to avert potential threats to energy supplies, for example by mounting patrols of key shipping lanes. The talks in the Latvian capital Riga, the first NATO summit on former Soviet soil, come amid Western concerns that Russia is exploiting its vast energy wealth to gain political influence over import-dependent countries in Europe. "Energy security is a NATO-relevant subject," NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told Reuters in an interview ahead of the Riga summit. While energy security has always in theory been a concern of the 57-year-old alliance, the issue has gained prominence since Moscow last winter briefly cut off gas supplies to Ukraine in a pricing row. Recent unrest in Nigeria and sabotage in Iraq have highlighted the vulnerability of energy supplies, and security analysts warn that terrorist groups could inflict damage on Western economies with attacks on oil or other facilities. While Washington is open to discussion, a number of European nations are wary about entrusting the alliance with security tasks which they consider are national responsibilities, such as the protection of pipelines.
11/30/06 - Chinese buyers think Original Gadgets are Fakes
Here's what's happening in China: 1) Japanese and Korean gadget, phone and car makers release sleek, innovative new devices or vehicles domestically in Japan and Korea; 2) Chinese rip-off companies buy one, and return to China where the whole thing is copied; 3) The Chinese companies sell the fake version domestically in China; 4) when the original is finally sold in China, Chinese consumers think the original is a counterfeit of a Chinese original, since the Chinese phone was sold first, and are OUTRAGED at the copyright violation. Counterfeiters cost legit companies about $600 billion per year and growing fast, and the overwhelming majority of it happens in China.
11/30/06 - New Software Can Detect Anger
A new computer software that can detect anger by listening to human voices, has been developed by software developer Sound Intelligence. The software, named Sigard Sound Intelligence, is said to detect anger with a high level of accuracy. According to its developers, the program can be combined with closed circuit TV systems which would alert security personnel about loud, angry people in public transportation, outdoor public places, night clubs and bars. Sound Intelligence said Sigard uses a single analysis computer in monitoring sensor input from several locations. It works by imitating the way humans hear sound just as a person can immediately detect anger and aggression in the midst of background noise. The software "listens" for the same parameters that humans used in determining aggressive speech, the developers said. When the software detects an aggressive human voice, it activates the camera at that location and alert the security guard to what could be potential trouble.
11/30/06 - Finagling Coinage to bolster the Economy
All of depreciating dollar talk and the export of paper financial instruments as the #1 US export, has revealed to me why the CONgress tried to get rid of the US Penny last summer. If the penny is required, then copper and zinc become the metals backing the US currency! Hahahaha... As the purchasing power is sucked out of the dollar, Pennies will be become worth a nickel for their metal content...then a dime...then a dollar...then $10...then $20... tears are coming to my eyes from thinking about the absurdity of this "new economics" crap. (via urbansurvival.com)
11/30/06 - Hexagon shapes preserve Enzymes
Inactive enzymes entombed in tiny honeycomb-shaped holes in silica can spring to life, scientists at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have found. The discovery came after salvaging enzymes that had been in a refrigerator long past their expiration date. Enzymes are proteins that are not actually alive but come from living cells and perform chemical conversions. To the research team’s surprise, enzymes that should have fizzled months before perked right up when entrapped in a nanomaterial called functionalized mesoporous silica, or FMS. The result points the way for exploiting these enzyme traps in food processing, decontamination, biosensor design and any other pursuit that requires controlling catalysts and sustaining their activity. The silica-spun FMS pores, hexagons about 30 nanometers in diameter spread across a sliver of material, mimic the crowding of cells. Ackerman, lead author Chenghong Lei and colleagues said crowding induces an unfolded, free-floating protein to refold; upon refolding, it reactivates and becomes capable of catalyzing thousands of reactions a second.
11/30/06 - Ghost hunting van on eBay
This 1986 GMC G30 was apparently used on Miami Vice and Nash Bridges and later tricked out by the American Institute of Parapsychology to investigate hauntings. The current owner is auctioning it on eBay with a starting bid of $3,000. Comes with working pan/tilt mounted on roof (camera removed), deep cycle battery bank-(all hold full charge), a 250gig 4 channel DVR which also records 4 channel audio and acts as a quad.You could record audio and video remotely for a month. Huge power inverter to run everything you need on 120v AC. Like new Samsung 17" Flat Screen monitor. 2 smaller swivel LCD Monitors. Pan Tilt Controller, dash mount flip out LCD monitor and rear mount infrared camera for backing up easily. I also have the 20 watt low frequency tx/rx set which is like new,used with the van and already mounted antenna. You can recieve and record clear audio and video for many miles with this setup. Integrated sound system in the back along with a video effects board. All equipment works very well. Four swing out chairs and a practical work area in the back. Even has a huge xray flourescent light table viewer mounted to wall. Windows are mirror tinted. Has a very solid tow bar section for towing another vehicle(see pic). Van has been in everything from childrens books on ghosts to above mentioned tv shows...
11/30/06 - Internet Archive Gets DMCA Exemption
"The Internet Archive has successfully lobbied for a DMCA exemption for the Software Archive. The IA keeps out-of-date programs, games and other random craziness for future programmers to savor. At the rapid pace of software development, this makes sure that we can create a history for us to remember and wonder at the programming of early games."
11/29/06 - Gaia scientist Lovelock predicts planetary wipeout
(Or we could send the best to live inside the Moon... - JWD) The earth has a fever that could boost temperatures by 8 degrees Celsius (46.4 degrees Fahrenheit) making large parts of the surface uninhabitable and threatening billions of peoples' lives, a controversial climate scientist said on Tuesday. "We are not all doomed. An awful lot of people will die, but I don't see the species dying out," he told a news conference. "A hot earth couldn't support much over 500 million." "Almost all of the systems that have been looked at are in positive feedback ... and soon those effects will be larger than any of the effects of carbon dioxide emissions from industry and so on around the world," he added. Lovelock said temperature rises of up to 8C were already built in and while efforts to curb it were morally commendable, they were wasted. "In the change from the last Ice Age to now we lost land equivalent to the continent of Africa beneath the sea," he said. "We are facing things just as bad or worse than that during this century." "There are refuges, plenty of them. 55 million years ago ... life moved up to the Arctic, stayed there during the course of it and then moved back again as things improved. I fear that this is what we may have to do," he added. If either India or China suddenly decided to stop their carbon-fuelled development to lift their billions of people out of poverty they would face a revolution, yet if they continued, rising CO2 and temperatures would kill off plants and produce famine, he said. "If climate change goes on course ... I can't see China being able to produce enough food by the middle of the century to support its people. They will have to move somewhere and Siberia is empty and it will be warmer then," he said.
11/29/06 - Lutec back in the News
(Thanks to everyone who sent in the headsup about this. Many of us have been watching them for years now and are puzzled why no activity or SALES, only investment pitches. I hope my misgivings at this point aren't true, but unfortunately, this sounds like another investment pitch. - JWD) We have made adjustments so that the input and output are both DC. This means we are able to connect digital Watt meters as seen in the above video that measure in kilowatts the input and output. The Wattmeters are identical, this takes away many objections relating to the method of ascertaining correctly the input and output performance of the LEA. The meter on the left of screen measures the amount of input power being consumed and reads 0.05 Kilowatts, in watts this represents 50 Watts. The output meter on the right of screen demonstrates 0.22 Kilowatts. This means the output is 220 Watts. The image at top right is showing the load applied in the form of light bulbs burning the 220 Watts. What this means is that the output over input efficiency is 440%. This also demonstrates that if we put a number of these units together, or, build larger ones the output efficiency will remain at this level while the output figure will increase relative to the unit size or number of sections. / The Pitch - Investment Opportunities - Evergreen Enterprise Ltd of Hong Kong is the owner of exclusive rights to negotiate and contract all global, regional and individual country licensing of the LEA. See www.evergreenltd.com.hk for further details. For the smaller investor there are several interesting opportunities available. Email [email protected] or go to www.evergreenltd.com.hk Limited investment opportunities also exist for high net worth individuals and qualified corporations to get in early on this ground breaking technology, for all investment and participation opportunities see www.evergreenltd.com.hk
11/29/06 - Acoustic sensors make surfaces interactive
(High end Wacom Cintiq touchpads for artists run from about $975 up to $3,900.00. - JWD) A series of acoustic sensors that turn any surface into a touch-sensitive computer interface have been developed by European researchers. Two or more sensors are attached around the edges of the surface. These pinpoint the position of a finger, or another touching object, by tracking minute vibrations. This allows them to create a virtual touchpad, or keyboard, on any table or wall. The system, called Tai-Chi (Tangible Acoustic Interfaces for Computer-Human Interaction), was developed by researchers from Switzerland, Italy, Germany, France and the UK. "We have made a system that can give any object, even a 3D one, a sense of touch," says Ming Yang, an engineer at Cardiff University, UK, who is coordinating the project. Using cheap acoustic sensors the surface of any 3D object can be instantly made into a touch-sensitive interface capable of tracking two objects at once. Its creators are planning to make hospitals more hygienic - keyboards and mice will be replaced by desks wired to perform as keyboards and touchpads. A video produced by the researcher shows four sensors attached to a flat, vertical surface, being used to trace a researcher's finger (4.6MB, wmv format). The sensors were also used to create an interactive globe that accesses geographical information on a computer screen when the user touches different regions.
11/29/06 - Body-wired headphones
(In studying the patent, it is NOT similar to Dr. Patrick Flanagans Neurophone. Instead, this device simply uses the body to transmit audio to headphones, instead of needed a connecting cable to the music source. Weird that I had a dream about Patrick Flanagan not 3 hours ago and then find this in the news! Wonder if there would be health problems from long time use? - JWD) Sony's Tokyo research lab has found a way to connect headphones to portable music and video players without the need for fiddly wiring. They simply feed an audio signal straight through the listener's body. Existing wireless headphones use Bluetooth radio, but this means pairing two devices beforehand and is prone to interference from other equipment. Another approach - infra-red - relies on line-of-sight, which is rarely practical. The new system uses the listener's body as a capacitor that carries a tiny electrostatic charge. A music or video player sends a fluctuating signal to a conductive cloth pad - such as a wrist band - and this slightly charges the wearer's body. A pair of conductive ear pads in the headphones pick-up the signal and rapidly convert it back into sound. Just a few millionths of an amp flow through the wearer's body, so there should be no nasty tingling effect. To convert the small charge into good quality audio, Sony uses a high frequency signal, which is digitally switched to carry data at 48 kilobytes per second. This is enough to deliver good quality, body-rocking stereo, the company says. Patent App 20060252371 - Listening to music with headphones connected to a portable type music reproducing device typified by a "WALKMAN (Registered Trademark of Sony Corporation)" is widely performed. The reproducing device proper can be put in a bag or a pocket, or worn on a body by a belt. However, when headphones are used, a headphone cable often becomes a hindrance and restricts the movement of a user when the cable winds around the body of the user. The present inventor et al. consider that it is possible to establish a connection between a portable music reproducing device and headphones by human body communication and thereby transmit audio data in a wireless manner. The frequency band such that the quasi-electrostatic field formed within the human body is dominant is specifically a frequency band of 3 MHz and lower. However, when too low a carrier frequency is used, a bandwidth occupied for data transfer is narrowed, and only a low data rate is obtained. Thus, practical carrier frequency is about 500 kHz or higher, which allows transmission at 48 kbps defined by ATRAC3-plus, for example, without any problem. In the present invention, outermost surfaces of the input and output signal electrodes of the transmitter and the receiver are formed by a conductive nonwoven fabric or conductive cloth. By forming the electrodes having a possibility of being in contact with a human body by a conductive cloth, a wearable device that is comfortable when worn on the body can be realized. It is also possible to greatly reduce discomfort when a person having an allergy to metals uses the device. FIG. 10 shows results of measurement of transmission loss when the area of the electrodes of the transmitter and the receiver was changed in the human body communication system according to the present embodiment using a quasi-electrostatic field. In this case, a band of 500 kHz to 3 MHz derived from the results shown in FIG. 5 and FIG. 7 are used as transmission frequencies.
11/29/06 - Creating Slippery Ships that Float on Thin Air
Yoshiaki Kodama is weaving a magic carpet large enough to carry a ship. Conjured up from thin air at the flick of a switch, this slippery blanket will help transport a fully laden tanker or container ship across the ocean at higher speed, and using far less fuel, than ever before. A craft that has less friction as it slides through the water will be far more efficient than standard ships. Slippery ships could travel across the sea much faster or carry a bigger load on the same amount of fuel, saving money and reducing pollution. This is crucial, considering that in 2003 more than 90 per cent of all goods that were sent around the globe went by ship - that's more than 6 billion tonnes, and the figure is set to increase. But how do you make a ship slippery? So far researchers have tried using tiny bubbles, slippery polymers and trapped sheets of air, and it seems that which method is best depends on what you want to achieve. If you simply wish to haul more cargo at a sedate 14 knots or so, in an environmentally responsible way using less fuel, then creating a carpet of microbubbles beneath a flat-bottomed hull may be the answer. On the other hand, the best option for a cargo ship expected to knife through the sea at more than 50 knots could be to cover the metal of the hull with a wall of air, effectively creating a boat in a bubble. Frictional drag has the greatest impact on the centimetre or so closest to the ship, where interactions between the metal hull and the water are the strongest. One possible way to reduce this was first attempted in the early 1970s by Michael McCormick and Rameswar Bhattacharyya at the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. They coated a cylinder with small bubbles of hydrogen generated by electrolysis, and dragged it through water. The result was a significant reduction in friction. Over the next decade, researchers showed that such microbubbles could decrease frictional drag by up to 80 per cent. However, the effect was difficult to replicate on real vessels. Since the 1980s, Russian shipyards have delivered at least 50 vessels, including patrol boats, ferries and landing craft, that are equipped with cavities in the hull. Pump air into them and they reduce drag by up to 40 per cent, yet require just 3 per cent of the vessel's power to maintain. Most of these craft incorporate a stepped or notched hull to create a V-shaped cavity into which air is pumped. One of the advantages of this technology is that it can be retrofitted by fixing wedge-shaped segments across a hull to create steps. Engineers at the Krylov Shipbuilding Research Institute in St Petersburg say they can build low-speed ships that save up to 20 per cent in fuel, and high-speed ships that save even more. And you can already buy a high-speed motor yacht equipped with this technology. But would it be money well spent? MARIN used models to compare air cavities, air films and microbubbles, and found that all resulted in net energy savings. "In our experiment," says Cornel Thill, a senior project manager at MARIN, "microbubbles were the least efficient, saving just a few per cent. The air film was better, and the air cavities performed the best." Thill thinks that this ranking could easily change as research progresses.
11/29/06 - The Organ Farmer
Anthony Atala makes bladders. Not the plastic-model kind but actual living, human organs. Step into his office at Wake Forest University’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine (IRM), where the 48-year-old tissue engineer is director, and you’ll find a suite of climate-controlled chambers the size of hotel mini fridges. Inside, spheres of human bladder cells resembling deflated pink balloons divide and grow. Culled from patients with incontinence problems, these cells will assemble themselves over time, forming into brand-new replacement bladders for the cell donors. Atala has been developing the procedure for 16 years, but he became the toast of the industry this year when he announced the first successful transplant of lab-grown organs into humans. Seven volunteers received the organs-new bladders-beginning in 1999, and today all report improved urinary control. Although the bladder is perhaps the simplest organ to replicate because it lacks blood vessels, Atala’s achievement paves the way for creating far more complex body parts, such as livers and kidneys. “The current organ shortage is a public health crisis,” he says. “People are living longer, and there aren’t enough organs to go around. That brings up the question, ‘Can we grow them instead?’” Like others working on similar tissue-engineering projects, he kept facing the same bugaboo: When he tried to grow bladder cells outside the body, they would divide and grow for only a few days or weeks before dying off. After years of trial and error, he hit on a solution: harvesting younger cells. “We used the layer of cells at the very, very base of the bladder,” he explains. “Once we started working with them, we were able to grow enough bladder cells to cover a football field in 60 days.” Atala is busy replicating more than 20 kinds of tissues and organs, including hearts and livers.
11/29/06 - New Hydrogen Control System Enables More Power from Less Fuel
The StableFlow(TM) Hydrogen Control System, a new product that enables electric power generating plants to produce more electricity more efficiently from less coal, oil or natural gas. The product is expected to provide substantial production and economic benefits to utilities and other power plant operators by modernizing how they control the flow of hydrogen needed to cool their generating equipment. A typical North American power plant operating two or three power generators produces about 300 megawatts of power. Proton's innovative StableFlow system -- which precisely regulates the quality of hydrogen "cooling" gas within a generator's casing -- enables efficiencies that have now been proven to save fuel costs up to $1,000 per megawatt of generating capacity per year. Accordingly, the average 300 megawatt plant can save up to $300,000 per year by installing a Proton StableFlow system on each of its power generators -- at a total cost that will be recovered in less than one year of operation. Mike Bennett, operations manager at the Mirant Dickerson power plant, said, "Controlling hydrogen in our generators automatically with the StableFlow Hydrogen Control System has increased hydrogen purity from an average of 96% to greater than 99%, optimizing fuel efficiency and maximizing generator capacity. Based on the successful installation and performance of this system, we are considering similar installations on the remaining units at the plant." This process is effective whether the cooling hydrogen is produced on site by Proton's revolutionary HOGEN(R) electrolysis-based system or from traditional trucked-in hydrogen. StableFlow technology enables a continuous purge through the electric generator that measurably increases operating efficiency and, as a result, the plant generates its power with less fuel that it would otherwise need to use. Proton's StableFlow system enables power plants to realize cost savings by maintaining hydrogen purity, pressure and dew point levels in compliance with OEM specifications. Mark Murray, Proton's president, said: "The results of the study affirm what we have known all along. StableFlow is a more efficient way to ensure proper generator cooling. This is a broad need, since more than 70% of all power plant generators in the world use hydrogen for cooling."
11/29/06 - New Urine Test ID's Prostate Cancer
A new urine test can tell prostate cancer from an enlarged prostate -- but can't tell whether the cancer is deadly. If a man has an enlarged prostate -- a noncancerous condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH -- his PSA level can go up. This often triggers unnecessary biopsies and, sometimes, unnecessary surgery. "The beauty of this test is it seems to be independent of the BPH component," Mark Emberton, MD, of the Institute of Urology at University College London, tells WebMD. "But it is not a perfect test. It does not rule out -- or rule in -- clinically meaningful disease." The studies showed that the PCA3 test isn't influenced by the size of the prostate, even in people with BPH. And they showed that the test can help men decide whether they need a repeat prostate biopsy. Prostate biopsy involves multiple needle punctures into the walnut-sized prostate gland. "This test is going to be of value in two currently problematic areas," Emberton tells WebMD. "It will help men with a [relatively] low PSA who need reassurance but don't want an invasive test. And it will help men with a negative biopsy but a rising PSA decide whether they need a second set of biopsies."
11/29/06 - 2006 L.A. Auto Show: Ford Explorer Fuel Cell
Ford is debuting what looks like a standard Explorer SUV in L.A. this week, but it’s actually packing a hydrogen powertrain and a tank of the alternative fuel that can travel 350 miles on a single fill-up. The fuel cell prototype is partially funded by the U.S. Department of Energy to show an actual alternative to petroleum. We’d have to assume the government wouldn’t want to invest in any hydrogen infrastructure without seeing some real working samples on the road. The fuel cell Explorer has been tested over 17,000 miles and traveled 1556 miles in a 24-hour period. Ford will also be launching its next generation Escape and Escape Hybrid compact SUVs tonight at midnight.
11/29/06 - Making Electric Vehicles Practical
Current research will double energy-storage capacity while also increasing the lifetime of batteries, improving safety, and cutting costs more than enough to make electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids practical for the mass market. At least these were the predictions of researchers presenting their latest work at the Materials Research Society (MRS) meeting in Boston this week. And although many significant challenges remain, an experimental type of rechargeable battery that's like a fuel cell could increase battery storage that much more. Current research should make electric vehicles practical--with the following caveat: they'll probably be used for trips of less than 100 miles. Those who want 300-to-400-mile ranges typical of gasoline-powered vehicles will need to turn to plug-in hybrids: vehicles much like today's gas-electric hybrids, but with a much larger battery pack that makes it possible to go longer on electric power, thereby saving gas. These batteries could be partly charged by an onboard gas engine, but also by electricity from a wall socket. Whittingham says that while he expects battery capacity to double, it's not going to get much better than that. The real advances in batteries, he says, won't be in energy capacity, but in safety, longevity, and cost. If electric vehicles are to be widespread, one of the most important goals of battery research must be to replace the cobalt now used in the lithium-ion batteries found in cell phones and laptops.
11/29/06 - Shocker fun
(I remember reading an old 1950s electronics magazine with a similar story where 300 volts was wired to a ring so that you zapped whoever you shook hands with, or kissed. - JWD) The second version of a device with one purpose: shock your friends like you've got a giant shag carpet. The ion generator is used to provide a static electric charge on demand. Looks like another great alternative use for a negative ion generator that could take evil christmas giving to a new level.
11/29/06 - Alternative energy powers up new jobs
Growth in the solar, wind power and biofuel sectors has been fast and promises to be enduring. Recently, BP PLC's solar division announced a $70 million plan to double the capacity of the Frederick factory and hire 70 more people. "The demand for solar energy is so strong, not only in the United States but around the world, that we have to keep up," said Lee Edwards, chief executive of BP Solar. Many boosters of solar, wind and biofuels have tried to sell them as pieces of a new American economy, but these nascent industries rely on many of the same skills and materials as the old economy - and that's good for people looking for jobs. The State of Texas is competing for a federal wind power research and testing facility, seeing alternative energy as part of its economic future. The wind turbines installed by Madison Gas and Electric Co. in Wisconsin were placed on steel towers that were built in Shreveport, La. Wind turbines also use components common in many endangered U.S. industries, such as gear boxes, rotors, control systems, disc brakes, yaw motors and drives, and bearings. "What we need are policies that advance the climate for investment in these products," says Marco Trbovich, communications director for the United Steelworkers of America. The ethanol sector has been adding jobs, too. In August, U.S. refineries produced 27 percent more ethanol than a year earlier, and 48 distilleries are under construction. Meanwhile, the solar industry has about 20,000 jobs nationwide, said Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association. That's a small number, but Resch said it is growing by 35 percent a year.
11/29/06 - DIY Car Heater
[lgtngstk] was tired of driving his cold Honda Civic to work. He built an instant on electric heater for his car from a toaster and an ATX power supply. The toaster elements were mounted to one half of the case, while the fan was left in it's stock location.To get the fan blowing hard enough, he whipped up a DC voltage doubling circuit. To finish it out, he added relay control and plenty of new holes in the case.
11/29/06 - Best Sitting Posture Is Not Straight Up
"Researchers at Woodend Hospital in Aberdeen, Scotland used a new form of magnetic resonance imaging to collect images from 22 healthy volunteers, who assumed three different sitting positions: slouching posture in which the body is hunched forward, an upright 90-degree sitting position, and a relaxed position where the subject reclined backward 135 degrees. They concluded that the reclined position is the best, and the forward slouch the worst." From the article: "'We were not created to sit down for long hours, but somehow modern life requires the vast majority of the global population to work in a seated position,' Dr. Bashir said. 'This made our search for the optimal sitting position all the more important.'"
11/28/06 - Suspended water droplets clue to Climate Change
The mystery is the droplets of water in the clouds. With the North Pole just 685 miles away, they should be frozen, yet more of them are liquid than anyone expected. "Much to our surprise, we found that Arctic clouds have got lots of super-cooled liquid water in them. Liquid water has even been detected in clouds at temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees Celsius (minus 22 F)," said Taneil Uttal, chief of the Clouds and Arctic Research Group at the Earth Systems Research Laboratory of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). "If a cloud is composed of liquid water droplets in the Arctic, instead of ice crystals, then that changes how they will interact with the earth's surface and the atmosphere to reflect, absorb and transmit radiation," said Uttal. "It's a new science, driven by the fact that everybody doing climate predictions says that clouds are perhaps the single greatest unknown factor in understanding global warming." Uttal noted that water clouds are more likely to warm the Arctic atmosphere than ice clouds, since the liquid clouds retain more heat radiated by the Earth's surface. "This means that the ice-to-water ratios in clouds may be very important in controlling the Arctic surface temperatures and how it melts," she said. In Nunavut, the melting is keenly felt. "In the old days, we used to have 10 months of winter; now it's six," said Simon Awa, an Inuit leader and deputy minister for the environment of Nunavut who was on the trip to Eureka. "Every year we're getting winter later and later." "The majority of the world's population hasn't really felt the global warming," said Awa. "But right now in the Arctic and in Nunavut, we're really worried because it's already affecting us. We are a thermometer of the world for what could happen." "The cycle is the same today, only you're taking something that took 100,000 years and doing it in one hundred years," he said. "There's a point where animals can't change fast enough, there's a point where plants can't change fast enough, so they'll either compete it out or go extinct."
11/28/06 - Patient survey will determine GP bonuses
Patients unhappy with access to their GP will be able to affect the income of their surgery in a government move certain to anger the medical profession. Patricia Hewitt, the health secretary, is planning the NHS's biggest survey, sending questionnaires to five million patients asking whether they find it easy enough to get a prompt appointment with the family doctor, and at a convenient time. Part of GPs' incomes will depend on achieving a high level of satisfaction among their patients. The survey - to be carried out in January - will provide a total of up to £72m in bonuses for GP practices across England with a high level of patient satisfaction. The average practice with 6,000 patients could earn an extra £8,000 if it scores well. "We are investing generously in new contracts for GPs and we need to make sure that practices are responding to patient views on access." But the British Medical Association said the survey included loaded questions that would encourage patients to believe they were entitled to early morning and weekend surgeries. The survey was part of a scheme to improve access to GPs that BMA negotiators had accepted as part of the contract for 2006-07. "The two additional questions about patients' experience of opening hours will help primary care trusts assess the extent to which more flexible arrangements may be needed." The results of the survey, to be conducted by Ipsos/Mori, will be published in May and bonuses will arrive by June.
11/28/06 - Paranoia and Dread
It would be a lot easier to enjoy your life if there weren't so many things trying to kill you every day. The problems start even before you're fully awake. There's the fall out of bed that kills 600 Americans each year. There's the early-morning heart attack, which is 40 percent more common than those that strike later in the day. Shadowed by peril as we are, you would think we'd get pretty good at distinguishing the risks likeliest to do us in from the ones that are statistical long shots. But you would be wrong. We wring our hands over the mad cow pathogen that might be (but almost certainly isn't) in our hamburger and worry far less about the cholesterol that contributes to the heart disease that kills 700,000 of us annually. We pride ourselves on being the only species that understands the concept of risk, yet we have a confounding habit of worrying about mere possibilities while ignoring probabilities, building barricades against perceived dangers while leaving ourselves exposed to real ones. We dash across the street against the light and build our homes in hurricane-prone areas -- and when they're demolished by a storm, we rebuild in the same spot. Sensible calculation of real-world risks is a multidimensional math problem that sometimes seems entirely beyond us. And while it may be true that it's something we'll never do exceptionally well, it's almost certainly something we can learn to do better. The more pain or suffering something causes, the more we tend to fear it; the cleaner or at least quicker the death, the less it troubles us. The more we dread, the more anxious we get, and the more anxious we get, the less precisely we calculate the odds of the thing actually happening. The problem with habituation is that it can also lead us to go to the other extreme, worrying not too much but too little.
11/28/06 - Seminal Minority Report project
BRITISH criminal psychologists are putting together a list of the 100 most dangerous murderers and rapists before they have committed any such crimes, The Times has reported. Experts from London's Metropolitan Police's Homicide Prevention Unit are creating psychological profiles, compiled through statements from previous partners, information from mental health workers, and details of past complaints. "My vision is that we know across London who the top 100 people are," Homicide Prevention Unit senior criminal psychologist Laura Richard said. "We need to know who we are targeting." The team is apparently focusing its work on reducing the risk of those with a history of involvement in domestic violence turning to murder - about 25 per cent of all murders are related to domestic violence, the newspaper said. Once an individual has been targeted, police can decide whether to make moves towards an arrest - though the newspaper did not specify on what grounds this could occur - or they could alert relevant social services. The report was met with opposition from privacy groups with Simon Davies, director of Privacy International telling the newspaper: "It is quite right that the police should keep intelligence on suspected criminals, but it is obscene to suggest there should be a ... list of those who might commit an offence."
11/28/06 - Stonehenge as Healing Centre
Most 20th century archaeologists have debated what motivated primitive humans to go to the immense effort of transporting giant stones 240 miles from south Wales to erect Britain's most significant prehistoric monument. Now Timothy Darvill, professor of archaeology at Bournemouth University, has breathed new life into the controversy with the publication of a book which proposes that the monument was in fact a centre of healing. Prof Darvill also backs the recent view that modern-day druids and hippies who celebrate the summer solstice at the site in the belief that they are continuing an ancient tradition should in fact carry out their rituals in December. In his book Stonehenge: The Biography of a Landscape, Prof Darvill points to evidence that many of the human remains excavated from burial mounds around Stonehenge, dating from around 2300BC, show signs of the individuals having been unwell prior to their death. Chemical analysis of their teeth has shown that a good proportion of those buried near the monument were not locals, but in fact came from as far away as Wales, Ireland and the Lake District. A grave uncovered in 2002 three miles from Stonehenge revealed the remains of a man who became known as the Amesbury Archer. He was found to have originated in what is now Switzerland. Prof Darvill also points to 14th century folklore in the form of written accounts referring to a magician bringing the stones from the west of the British Isles. "It was believed that these particular stones had many healing properties because in Preseli there are many sacred springs that are considered to have health-giving qualities," said Prof Darvill. "The water comes out of the rocks used to build Stonehenge and it's well established that as recently as the late 18th century, people went to Stonehenge to break off bits of rock as talismans. Prof Darvill believes those seeking to tap into the monument's powers should do so in December during the winter solstice when our ancestors believed it was occupied by Apollo.
11/28/06 - How mirrors can light up the world
Two German scientists, Dr Gerhard Knies and Dr Franz Trieb, calculate that covering just 0.5% of the world's hot deserts with a technology called concentrated solar power (CSP) would provide the world's entire electricity needs, with the technology also providing desalinated water to desert regions as a valuable byproduct, as well as air conditioning for nearby cities. Focusing on Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, they say, Europe should build a new high-voltage direct current electricity grid to allow the easy, efficient transport of electricity from a variety of alternative sources. Britain could put in wind power, Norway hydro, and central Europe biomass and geo-thermal. Together the region could provide all its electricity needs by 2050 with barely any fossil fuels and no nuclear power. This would allow a 70% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from electricity production over the period. The mirrors are very large and create shaded areas underneath which can be used for horticulture irrigated by desalinated water generated by the plants. The cold water that can also be produced for air conditioning means there are three benefits. "It is this triple use of the energy which really boost the overall energy efficiency of these kinds of plants up to 80% to 90%," says Dr Knies. This form of solar power is also attractive because the hot liquid can be stored in large vessels which can keep the turbines running for hours after the sun has gone down, avoiding the problems association with other forms of solar power. The desert land is plentiful and cheap but, more importantly, there is roughly three times as much sunlight in hot deserts as in northern Europe. This is why the reports recommend a collaboration between countries of Europe, the Middle East and Africa to construct a high-voltage direct current (HVDC) grid for the sharing of carbon-free energy. "Nuclear power accounts for just 3.1% of global energy supply and would be hard pushed to provide more. Yet CSP could supply 30% or 300% of future energy demand far more simply, safely and cost effectively. In the wake of the Stern report the enlightened investment is on hot deserts, not uranium mines or oil wells."
11/28/06 - DIY Shower Spa
Make your own shower spa this weekend with just your trusty drill and some PVC pipe. Okay, yes - it's not the most aesthetically pleasing of shower appliances, and Martha Stewart definitely would NOT approve, but who cares: this comes close to being the most useful and/or cheapest shower spa that I've come across. Basically all you're doing here is popping some holes in a tube and re-routing your shower head through it, so it's a pretty easy mod.
11/27/06 - Simultaneous Bidirectional flux induction for new Transformer technology
Novosibirsk scientist, Professor of Harbin Polytechnic Institute, Head of Research and Technical Center 'Virus' Gennady Markov came out with a suggestion that the electromagnetic induction law discovered by Faraday in 1831 is not actually a law. According to Faraday, a magnetic flux in a ferromagnetic core of the transformer can be induced only in one direction. By Markov's theory the magnetic flux in a conductor can be induced simultaneously in both opposite directions. After several years of experimenting and practical studies Markov managed to prove the validity of his theory, develop an operable transformer on its base and obtain several international patents for his invention. In contrast to regular transformer, Markov's transformer has a vertically extended form and instead of the primary and secondary windings it has two primary windings with oncoming magnetic fluxes. By the new induction law, 'new' transformers can induce necessary voltage even from 'the worst iron' and can have considerably reduced sizes.
11/27/06 - Ban Santa as Marketing Creation of Coca-Cola?
GERMANS and Austrians are uniting against a kindly old man who brings joy to children all over the world. Their call: Ban Santa. Campaigners in both countries claim Father Christmas is an invention of the Coca-Cola company in the United States and should be ditched. In Austria, "Pro Christkind" - it means "For Christ Child" - want images of the baby Jesus and St Nicholas to replace the white-haired, portly old man dressed in red and white, who they see as symbolic of the commercialisation of Christmas. Their campaign, with a logo featuring a picture of Santa with a red line through him, begins on 2 December, the day before the first Sunday in Advent, at an event where traditional Christmas wreaths are made. Bettina Schade, of the Frankfurter Nicholas Initiative, said: "We object to the material things, the hectic rush to buy gifts and the ubiquity of the bearded man in the red suit taking away from the core meaning of Christmas. "The Christian origins of Christmas, like the birth of Jesus, have receded into the background. It's becoming more and more a festival that is reduced to simply worldly gifts and commerce." A Swedish-American artist, Haddon Sundblom, created the jolly Santa character for Coke and it was used in advertising campaigns in the 1930s and 40s. He was based on a previous figure produced for Harper's Weekly in the 19th century by Thomas Nast, a German immigrant to the US. The character is thought to have been based on several figures, including St Nicholas, a 4th-century bishop who had a reputation for generosity - Santa Claus is a corruption of the Dutch "Sinterklaas", meaning St Nicholas - the Russian character Ded Moroz, meaning Grandfather Frost, who gives presents to children, and the pagan Green Man. Early depictions of Father Christmas in Britain often showed him wreathed in ivy and dressed in green. Before Coca-Cola made red his signature colour, the Victorians would dress him in a range of colours including red, blue and purple. / On the other hand, Thomas Nast Santa from 1862 - This is Thomas Nast's earliest published picture of Santa Claus. Nast is generally credited with creating our popular image of Santa. This illustration appeared in the January 3, 1863 edition of Harper's Weekly, and shows Santa Claus visiting a Civil War Camp. / And it all appears to be pure gossip/urban legend as described at Cokelore at Snopes.com.
11/27/06 - Pasha supports the Turkish 'Fuelless Motored Machine'
The mysterious Erke company, which came out on the scene a month ago, claimed: "we have made the invention of this age," in a recent meeting where the generals were present. The company, which has been putting advertisements in the newspapers since October 29, appeared on the scene for the media for the first time yesterday. The press conference was unable to clear the shroud of mist over Erke attracting attention with its advertisements. The consultant of the board of directors, the retired general Ugural declared that they have invented a motored machine which does not require fuel for operation. Erke has attracted the attention of the public with advertisements since October 29. Erke avoided giving information which would have cleared the shroud of mist over the company with the press conference. The consultant of the board of directors, the retired general Ugural stated that they have achieved a new invention which will change world history. He added that this invention is a motored machine which does not require fuel for operation. The invention itself has aroused much curiosity among participants.
11/27/06 - Brain cancer hopes
(The best method EVER for tumors is to squirt superglue mixed with radium on it...tumour dies in about 1-3 months and excretes all traces, 99% CURE RATE, no return. - JWD) Scientists at the University of California in San Francisco say they have found a vaccine made from the patient's own tumour that triggers immune responses. The vaccine is designed for glioma tumours, a recurrent cancer of the central nervous system that usually occurs in the brain. Cerebral glioma tumours make up 60 per cent of adult brain tumours. Scientists tested the vaccine, vitespen, on six patients who all received bi-weekly vaccinations. Marketed as Oncophage, it uses specific proteins from the patient's tumour and is designed to program the body's immune system to attack new cancer cells. The scientists discovered all six patients showed tumour-specific immune responses. Their progress was monitored before, during and after treatment. After treatment all the patients lived longer than 14.6 months from the time of diagnosis, the average survival time.
11/27/06 - TruTouch invention optically tests blood alcohol levels
The company's newly developed product to test blood alcohol levels with light rays is included as a "bright idea" in Time's Nov. 13 edition under the "Best Inventions 2006" section. The machine, which cradles the arm of the person being tested, shines infrared light on the subject's skin to measure blood alcohol levels, eliminating the need for urine, blood or breath samples. The non-invasive test takes 60 seconds to produce results, compared with 20 minutes for a breath test and days for a standard blood or urine test.
11/27/06 - Dynamic Drive free scripts, software and services
11/27/06 - Microsoft Predicts Your Future
Microsoft has really out done themselves this time. Out of all the companies in the world leave it to Microsoft to predict your future with Zoltar…and surprisingly they developed it to be very amusing. You just have to enter in the name of the person that you want it to predict the future for and it will quickly tell you what lies ahead of them. After it predicts the future of the person that you requested it will give you an option to download Windows Live Messenger or to send the fortune to a friend. If that starts to get boring just leave Zoltar sit there and things will start to happen. I have noticed a boat and limo “driving” along the ground as well as clouds floating in the sky. I did a quick check to see if this was really made by Microsoft and looking at the WHOIS information it looks legit. Microsoft deserves a little credit for throwing something amusing into the mix of things they have created.
11/27/06 - Web Developers Bookmark This: Free Layouts
The selection of tools and templates are among the best that I have seen so I highly recommend that you bookmark this if you do, or plan to, create a website. One of my favorite parts about the site are the wonderfully designed templates that they have available. Most of them look very clean and professional but what is even more important is that they are free. They don’t just have the HTML templates either…checkout their great selection of free Flash templates. If you are a MySpace user you’ll find a complete section of layouts and backgrounds that will give your profile a fresh new look. If you really want to dazzle up your profile then use the generators that they provide to add things like an LED scrolling sign or glittery words. Lastly, they have an awesome selection of other generators and tools that will come in handy when creating a masterpiece. Most of them are used to create navigation bars that look professionally designed and they can be graphics-based or be purely designed using HTML/CSS. You can also make several different Flash objects (navigation bar, drop-down menu, etc…) using some of the other generators that they provide.
11/27/06 - Taking wheat to its wild side boosts nutrients
Scientists have found a way to boost the protein, zinc and iron content in wheat, an achievement that could help bring more nutritious food to many millions of people worldwide. Writing in the journal Science on Thursday, the researchers said they used conventional breeding methods to bring the gene into cultivated wheat varieties, enhancing the protein, zinc and iron value in the grain. The wild plant involved is known as wild emmer wheat, an ancestor of some cultivated wheat. "We really can produce wheat with more protein and more zinc and iron," Dubcovsky said in an interview. "So if that is grown in a developing country or is used as food aid, it will really provide more of those needed things in places where it's necessary." In making the wheat more nutritious, the researchers did not change how it tastes, Dubcovsky said. "We're not changing the composition or anything very dramatic in the grain," he said.
11/27/06 - Nissan plans to sell electric cars in 3 yrs
Nissan Motor Co. plans to develop and start selling subcompact electric cars powered by self-developed lithium-ion batteries in about three years, the Nihon Keizai (Nikkei) business daily reported on Sunday. Japan's number-two automaker also plans to develop and sell gas-electric hybrid cars by 2010 in an attempt to catch up with rivals Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. in the field of eco-friendly vehicles, Nikkei said. Nissan will also strive to develop bioethanol cars with the help of Renault, Nikkei said, adding that the Japanese automaker would provide Renault with fuel cell and hybrid car technologies.
11/27/06 - Smart homes a reality in S Korea
More than 100 homes offering smart technology have just been built in South Korea and another 30,000 are planned. The control panel on the wall maps out the apartment so Mi Yung can choose which devices to control. The air quality here is important to mother and child and so she pops on the air purifying unit, which could be anywhere in the home, because it gets its instructions from the plug socket. Each flat makes use of the electricity cables to transfer data as well as power. Each appliance has to be compatible with a system called HomeNet, one of a number of competing systems on offer in South Korea. The choice of service also limits what devices Koreans can buy to hook into the system as each appliance needs to be compatible. The panel also keeps track of Mi Yung's electricity consumption, pays her power bills, and holds video messages - either sent to it over the net, or from neighbours. The home's TV is also linked up to the system, so it can tell you when your washing machine has finished, or if someone visits you can decide whether to let them in or not; pretending you are not around has never been so easy. From outside the apartments you can access the system remotely, and even check who has been trying to get in while you were away. In South Korea's vision of the home of the future we will all wear mini-PCs on our wrists, which turns things on or off, opens doors, and tracks the wearer's position in the house at all times. Here, everything is voice activated, and the fridge can provide you with recipes which use the ingredients inside, and let you know if your food is out of date. It relies on the food packaging containing radio tags, or RFID labels, which can be read by the fridge each time it passes through the door. In the bedroom your wardrobe mirror can tell you your schedule for the day, help you select your clothes - if all your clothes have washable radio tags compatible with the system - and keep you up to date with the weather and traffic. When it is time to go, the house of the future will shut itself off.
11/26/06 - Warming may change GPS orbits
"Temperature directly affects atmospheric density," wrote lead author Jan Lastovicka, of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics in Prague. "At altitudes between 200 and 800 kilometers, atmospheric drag causes measurable decay of the orbits of satellites and space debris." Twenty-four satellites orbit the Earth to form the Global Positioning System, which is used for navigation, according to the Federal Aviation Administration's Web site.
Changes in the ionosphere, where satellites orbit, can affect how radio waves travel, making GPS systems less effective, the commentary said. The scientists estimated that the air cools about 63 degrees every decade at distances of 217 miles from the surface, the commentary said.
In the atmosphere closer to the Earth, the air density has decreased by 2 percent to 3 percent a decade, a figure that accelerates both after 1980 and as measurements are taken farther from the Earth, the scientists wrote. "The upper atmosphere is generally cooling and contracting," the scientists wrote. The "dominant driver" of the trend is buildup of greenhouse gases, they said; thus, human-generated gases "influence the atmosphere at nearly all altitudes between ground and space, affecting not only life on the surface but also the space-based technological systems on which we increasingly rely."
11/26/06 - Incentive Payments for Customer produced Electricity
Puget Sound Energy (PSE), a Northwest utility that builds and operates wind farms, is now giving its customers who generate clean, renewable power the opportunity to become "green energy" partners by providing them with annual incentive payments for all the electricity they produce. Customers who generate their own electricity with solar, wind or anaerobic-digester systems can receive .15 to .54 cents from PSE for each kilowatt-hour (kWh) their systems generate up to a limit of $2,000 annually beginning this year. The payments are in addition to PSE's net-metering benefits and the consumer rebates PSE offers on the installation of solar-power equipment.
11/26/06 - Humans Inhabit Body of Experimental Robot
A pair of new, immersive technologies allows a person to "inhabit" the body of a distant robot in an experiment conducted in Germany. The first is the haptic system (from a Greek word meaning "touch") that allows the operator to don a pair of gloves that can actually "feel" what the robot feels when it contacts an object. The second is tele-operated movement; as the person moves, so does the robot. A glove worn by the operator controls a three-fingered hand at the end of the robot's arm. As the operator moves the glove, the robot's hand moves. As the robot hand presses against an object, the operator senses resistance to movement in his own glove. Also, the operator's sense of being present with the robot is enhanced by the sounds picked up by the robot's microphones. The unique thing about the German robot is that it provides tele-operated walking movement as well as hand-manipulation. NASA is working on a similar kind of system; see the Robonaut Centaur, which also provides movement to a seated operator who uses a foot pedal to "drive" the bot.
11/26/06 - Using your Prius as a Power Plant
The Prius, unlike the generator, also has a battery that provides instant, UPS-like power, to your house. Careful research has shown that most* people would prefer not to go outside to manually pull a cord in the case of a power failure. The same independent research foundation,** using accepted methods of sampling and polling***, determined that most* people would prefer not to spend money on a big, expensive generator, even if they don't have to pull on the cord. The "cost" for the Prius, obviously, does not include the cost of the vehicle itself. If you don't have one and don't plan to get one, "never mind." If you are thinking of getting one, here's another reason to add to the gasoline-saving and environmental benefits. If you already have one, well then, it won't cost you anything, will it?
11/26/06 - Free Online Training Tutorials for Tons of Software
The queen of Web Tutorials, Lynda.com where you can try out more than 1,700 of them for free. They cover instruction for 75 major software titles. Many of the videos also include closed-captioning for the hearing impaired. We took a look at instructional videos for Adobe Illustrator and one titled "Effective Email," and both were the best teaching videos we've ever seen. The lessons on e-mail covered a lot of bases most people don't think about when they compose and send off a message. The first two chapters on any topic are free, and if you want to continue, there is a charge of $25 a month or $250 a year. This provides access to all the videos. For an additional charge you can get exercises to work on offline.
11/26/06 - UK Schools Bans WiFi Due To Health Concerns
"Schools in the UK are getting rid of their WiFi network, citing health concerns from parents and teachers. The wireless emanations, parents fear, may be the root cause of a host of problems from simple fatigue to the possibility of cancer. A few scientists think younger humans may be more vulnerable to the transmissions, because of thinner skulls. From the article: "Vivienne Baron, who is bringing up Sebastian, her ten-year-old grandson, said: 'I did not want Sebastian exposed to a wireless computer network at school. No real evidence has been produced to prove that this new technology is safe in the long term. Until it is, I think we should take a precautionary approach and use cabled systems.'"
11/26/06 - Drastic Action on Climate Change is Needed Now - and Here's the Plan
The government must go further, and much faster, in its response to the moral question of the 21st century. It is a testament to the power of money that Nicholas Stern's report should have swung the argument for drastic action, even before anyone has finished reading it. He appears to have demonstrated what many of us suspected: that it would cost much less to prevent runaway climate change than to seek to live with it. If we're to have a high chance of preventing global temperatures from rising by 2C (3.6F) above preindustrial levels, we need, in the rich nations, a 90% reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2030. So how do we do it without bringing civilisation crashing down? Here is a plan for drastic but affordable action that the government could take. 1. Set a target for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions based on the latest science. / 2. Use that target to set an annual carbon cap, which falls on the ski-jump trajectory. Then use the cap to set a personal carbon ration. / 3. Introduce a new set of building regulations... / 4. Ban the sale of incandescent lightbulbs, patio heaters, garden floodlights and other wasteful and unnecessary technologies. / 5. Redeploy money now earmarked for new nuclear missiles towards a massive investment in energy generation and distribution. / 6. Promote the development of a new national coach network. City-centre coach stations are shut down and moved to motorway junctions. Urban public transport networks are extended to meet them. / 7. Oblige all chains of filling stations to supply leasable electric car batteries. / 8. Abandon the road-building and road-widening programme, and spend the money on tackling climate change. / 9. Freeze and then reduce UK airport capacity. While capacity remains high there will be constant upward pressure on any scheme the government introduces to limit flights. / 10. Legislate for the closure of all out-of-town superstores, and their replacement with a warehouse and delivery system. (On the site, these topics are in depth.) Climate change is not just a moral question: it is the moral question of the 21st century. There is one position even more morally culpable than denial. That is to accept that it's happening and that its results will be catastrophic, but to fail to take the measures needed to prevent it.
11/26/06 - Listening for 'Aggressive Tones'
You're probably already aware of the United Kingdom's large network of video cameras inspecting public places. News.com now reports that they'll be listening for trouble as well. Based on a model in use in the Netherlands, new cameras will be fitted to 'listen for aggressive tones,' such as those used during an argument. From the article: "The system works by putting microphones in CCTV cameras to continually analyze the sound in the surrounding area. If aggressive tones are picked up, an alarm signal is automatically sent to the police, who can zoom in the camera to the location of the suspect sound and investigate the situation. 'Ninety percent of violent cases start with verbal aggression,' Van der Vorst said. 'With our system, the police can respond a lot quicker to a violent situation.'"
11/26/06 - NIH Confirms Protocol To Reverse Type 1 Diabetes
"In 2001, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital demonstrated the efficacy of a protocol to reverse of type 1 diabetes in diabetic mice. New data from a study performed at the National Institutes of Health provides additional confirmation of the ability to reverse type 1 diabetes and on the role of spleen cells in islet regeneration. Spleen cells appear to contribute to islet recovery more in mice who are older and with more advanced diabetes compared with younger mice with less advanced diabetes, in which regeneration of remaining islets may be the dominant mechanism."
11/25/06 - New Weather Forecasting System
Matt Haugland, 26, OU has invented an innovative weather forecasting idea for more accurate temperature readings in specific locations won the grand prize at the Collegiate Inventors Competition. His invention is "The Uncoupled Surface Layer Model," which forecasts temperatures based on physical evidence, as opposed to statistics. Haugland said it allowed the forecasts to be based off local, area information, as opposed to statistics obtained from the nearest airport. The result? Location-specific forecasts, as opposed to general area forecasts, an idea tested by Weathernews in 13 locations in Japan. "It predicted the temperatures 50 percent more accurately than what's currently forecast in Japan," Haugland said. "Statistical models only work at places where you can get statistics from. With my model, you can use it anywhere." Haugland also tested his work initially on a five-acre plot of land in eastern Cleveland County and in different areas of California. In these tests, he saw 40 percent more accurate temperature forecasts than the current system. "I wanted to see how it would work in a wide variety of situations," Haugland said. "There were very diverse microclimates." In the future, Haugland said he hopes to expand his model so it can track temperatures more efficiently, as well as during all times of the day. He said he does not plan to sell the invention, but rather, start his own company, "NanoWeather," in Norman to license use of the technology. For samples of Haugland's forecasts, visit www.nanowx.com.
11/25/06 - The `make anything machine'
The ``self-replicating rapid prototyper", or RepRap for short, is amachine that literally prints 3D objects from a digital design. Its creators hope that in the future it will be a must-have mod con for every home. And instead of queueing for this year's equivalent of Buzz Lightyear,Robosapiens or TMX Elmo, parents will simply download the sought-after design off the internet and print it out.``If people can make anything for themselves what's the point in going to the shops?" said Adrian Bowyer at Bath University, England who started the project. The Santa machine works like a printer, except that rather than squeezing ink out of a moving nozzle it squirts molten plastic in layers. These build up to make 3D shapes. To date the machine has made a beltbuckle, a scale architectural model and even one of its own components. Dr. Bowyer said that soon it would be able to make items using other materials. ``In principle it could make almost any item that people want," he said. So-called rapid prototyping machines that manufacture objects from digital designs have been around since the 1980s, although they still cost upwards of GBP20,000 and mostly have specialised industrial applications. The difference with RepRap, which is the size of a fridge, is that the ideas behind it are not owned by anyone. Dr Bowyer's vision is a machine that can be made, adapted and improved by its users. ``I did not want an individual, company or country to make money from this," he said. If Dr Bowyer's vision is realised there could be profound implications for the global economy. Instead of large companies manufacturing largenumbers of consumer goods and distributing them to shops, consumers would buy or share designs on the internet, manufacturing items on their own replication machines. ``At this time of year, toy companies lose thousands by not being able to get toys to the market or having toys they can't sell... This way the product would always be available and you would be able to reuse materials afterwards perhaps in another product," said Professor David Wimpenny, of De Montfort University, Leicester, England. ``It would revolutionise Christmas. Michael Hart, founder of Project Gutenberg, an online repository of over 19,000 eBooks, predicts that if RepRap takes off, vested interests in industry will fight the technology tooth and nail. ``In 30 years, replicators are going to be able to make things out of all sorts of stuff," he predicted, ``Somewhere along this line, the intellectual property people are going to come in and say, `no we don't want you all printing out Ferraris and we don't want you printing out pizzas'.'' / More info at RepRap. - A universal constructor is a machine that can replicate itself and - in addition - make other industrial products. Such a machine would have a number of interesting characteristics, such as being subject to Darwinian evolution, increasing in number exponentially, and being extremely low-cost. A rapid prototyper is a machine that can manufacture objects directly (usually, though not necessarily, in plastic) under the control of a computer.
11/25/06 - Nuclear power stations by the sea?
Any Australian nuclear power plants would most likely need to be built on the coast where gigalitres of seawater could be used to cool them, suggest experts. "Because we've got a water shortage in this country it would be best to place them on the coast," says nuclear power engineer Professor John Price of Monash University in Melbourne. Price's comments come in the wake of a draft report from Prime Minister John Howard's nuclear taskforce that proposes constructing 25 nuclear power plants to meet Australia's future energy needs. Price, who welcomes the new report, says "gigantic" amounts of water are required to cool a nuclear power station. "I'm talking about tonnes per second," says Price, who has designed nuclear power stations in the UK. One estimate, from a recent report to the Queensland government, suggests a 1400 megawatt nuclear power station would use around 25 gigalitres of water a year. Instead of discharging warm water, some nuclear power stations evaporate water into the air through cooling towers, Price says. While Rose says this is a preferred option, Price says this is a waste of water. According to the Switkowski and Rose reports, it is also possible to use 'dry' cooling, which reduces water consumption by using air as a coolant. But they say this would be more expensive. Another option, says Price, is to use waste heat from nuclear power stations to desalinate water.
11/25/06 - Diseases appear on rise with temperatures
A warmer world already seems to be producing a sicker world, health experts reported Tuesday, citing surges in Kenya, China and Europe of such diseases as malaria, heart ailments and dengue fever. “I can't think of a greater legacy for the last two years of the Bush presidency than to work on a bipartisan basis with Democrats as well as Republicans” for a deal to cut emissions, Miliband said. Besides disrupting normal climate zones, continued temperature rises will “increase threats to human health, particularly in lower income populations, predominantly within tropical-subtropical countries,” a U.N. network of climate scientists has projected. Those problems are arising in parts of the world that have contributed little to global warming, Campbell-Lendrum noted. In Kenya, where temperature increases have tracked the global average, malaria epidemics have occurred in highland areas where cooler weather historically has kept down populations of disease-bearing mosquitoes, said Solomon M. Nzioka, a Kenyan Health Ministry consultant. Research shows that even a seemingly small rise in temperatures can produce a 10-fold increase in the mosquito population, he said. “Highland malaria seems to be on the increase in the rainy season and when temperatures are high,” Nzioka said. Authorities are particularly concerned about surging mortality from strokes and heart disease under warming conditions, he said. Global warming has been linked to more prolonged heat waves.
11/25/06 - Plane-helicopter combo takes to skies
A new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that takes off vertically like a helicopter and then flips over to fly forward like a conventional plane is being developed by Australian researchers. The T-Wing could provide cheaper and more efficient surveillance and reconnaissance, says Dr Hugh Stone of the University of Sydney whose team has been carrying out test flights. "It can take off and land like a helicopter," says Stone, an aeronautical engineer who began the research as a PhD project. "It doesn't need a runway." While helicopters can take off and land vertically and can hover, they are not as efficient at forward flight as conventional aircraft, which means they don't tend to fly as fast or as far. This is why 'convertiplanes' were developed, aerial vehicles that convert from helicopter to plane mode. Other UAV convertiplanes use helicopter type propeller blades and more complex and expensive technology to control the movement of the vehicle, says Stone. But the T-Wing uses fixed propellers, like a standard aircraft. Moving flaps that sit in the airstream behind the propellers are responsible for changing the direction of the aircraft and allow it to hover. These flaps are controlled by an onboard computer system that detects and changes the plane's location and orientation. "We can basically tell it a set of points in space and we upload those to the vehicle and then it will fly through those points," says Stone. "It doesn't need any intervention from us."
11/25/06 - Doing Well by Doing Good
For the past 20 years, Jim Fruchterman has been applying engineering talent directly to the cause of social good. When he first started pursuing the idea, it was pretty far out. Now it's common enough to have a name--social entrepreneurship--and Fruchterman himself has just been honored with a MacArthur "genius" award. One of the mainstay products of his six-year-old organization, The Benetech Initiative, in Palo Alto, is Analyzer, a software tool for collecting and analyzing data on human rights abuses around the world. Benetech created an online repository of books for people whose disabilities prevent them from reading printed text. Up next: low-cost land-mine detectors for use by humanitarian organizations around the world.
11/25/06 - The fleecing of an American, George Horvat
Generally, Americans acknowledge the steady flow of cash into the big pockets of big business, particularly under the current administration. Americans were fleeced, just by seven Bush administration agencies, for at least $1.6 billion between 2003 through mid-2005. This amount was paid, through hundreds of contracts, to advertising agencies, PR firms, and individuals. Pre-packaged spin disguised as news were used to propagandize Americans into believing that "war is peace" in Bush's ongoing profit-producing, conflict against "evil doers" This is according to a Government Accountability Office report released February 13, 2006.  "The Administration spent $1.6 billion on contracts with advertising agencies ($1.4 billion), public relations firms ($197 million), and media organizations and individual members of the media ($15 million)."  Gullible taxpayers are inadvertently paying the price of their own deception. Honest citizens frequently resist believing that their government would be so downright dishonest, especially when one has taken every precaution to protect his/her rights. George Horvat, an exceptionally gifted inventor created a remarkable system initially designed to assist his brother-in-law, a truck driver. Additionally it would help lower highway accidents and deaths. Horvat called his system the Traffic Speed Surveillance System (TS). It included roadway monitor transceivers that would receive speed, vehicle identification and driver information which would then be transmitted to a central processing station for identifying speed limit violators. The system also includes a vehicle disable feature which requires that the driver and vehicle identification be entered to operate the vehicle. Senator Robert Kasten was well aware of the daily automobile tragedies prevailing in America. Horvat further defined it for the senator: "Each and every day, just in the United States alone, we slaughter approximately 120 of our fellow human beings and maim and mutilate another 6,000. This senseless sacrifice happens every day! The daily economic impact exceeds $110,000,000, but this dangerous drain of assets is secondary to the inestimable toll of human suffering."  This denotes 1986 figures and I might add is greater, by far, than the number of individuals allegedly killed by terrorists. On October 7, 2004, an article appeared in World Net Daily. "A little-known federal agency is planning a new monitoring program by which the government would track every car on the road by using onboard transceivers." "The agency, the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office, is part of the Department of Transportation. According to an extensive report in the Charlotte, N.C., Creative Loafing, the agency doesn't respond to public inquiries about its activity." "Once the system is brought to life, both the corporations, and the government stands to reap billions in revenues. Companies plan to use the technology to sell endless user services and upgrades to drivers. For governments, tracking cars' movements means the ability to tax drivers for their driving habits, and ultimately to use a punitive tax system to control where they drive and when, a practice USDOT documents predict will be common throughout the country by 2022." The major media has not touched this story - no surprise there. Horvat says: "My invention in the hands of the establishment would be a disaster to our civil rights. When I invented it I intended it to drastically reduce the slaughter that takes place on our streets and highways every day. "The government has perverted into the mother of all surveillance systems."
11/25/06 - Add 7 Years to "PRIME OF LIFE" with Diet (1936)
Old age can be held at bay and life itself prolonged some 7 years by dietary means. Evidence for this has been obtained in nutrition studies with rats, made by Dr. Henry C. Sherman, Mitchill professor of chemistry at Columbia University and research associate of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. The diet that extended the prime of life in rats had an increased proportion of milk, making the diet richer in vitamins A and G, calcium, and protein, Dr. Sherman reported in a lecture at the Carnegie Institution. This diet "expedited growth and development, resulted in a higher level of adult vitality as shown by several criteria, and extended the average length of adult life, or improved the life expectation of the adult." Because eminent men usually attain their positions of "fullest opportunity" at an age when only the last third of their years remain to render "fullest service to the world," Dr. Sherman believes that the possibility of extending the prime period of life has greater than biological significance.
11/25/06 - New passport rules affecting Canada, Mexico flights
There's a new travel restriction that could affect plans for your next trip. The rules are changing for everyone who crosses US borders by airplane, and for an international city like Las Vegas, it's going to take some adjustment. If you are planning a post-holiday getaway out of the country, don't leave home without your passport. Currently, Americans can fly to or from Canada or Mexico with just a driver license or birth certificate, but starting next year, passports will be required for everyone. At McCarran's International Terminal, with daily flights to places like Mexico City, travelers without the proper ID could find themselves grounded. The rule change goes into effect on January 23. Initially, the new rule will apply only to air travelers, but in 2008 it will expand to include people traveling by car and boat as well. A new passport application can take up to 60 days to process. Rush delivery is available for an additional cost.
11/25/06 - Neoconservatives Patent Bush 'Mandroid'
Neoconservative pundits William Kristol, Michael Ledeen, and Paul Wolfowitz today confirmed what a handful of people have long suspected: The President of the United States is a humanoid construct cobbled together in Kristol's basement. "You must admit, he's a pretty convincing piece of work," Wolfowitz said, playfully patting his drone on the shoulder at a press conference this morning at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology. "Physically, I must admit that this....thing... is a remarkably convincing simulation of an actual person. But in designing it they seem to have forgotten what the 'I' in 'A.I.' stands for," objected one computer scientist. "I must say, though, that if nothing else, at least this revelation allows me to renew my faith in human beings." Nitpicking did not dampen the mood of the three techno-wizards as they regaled reporters with the story of their amazing creation. The Bush robot - affectionately dubbed, "The Decidenator" - is the culmination of work done during a neoconservative research conference on "Selenoid Operating Controls for Promoting Unconditionally Pretaliatory-Interventionist Technology." In layman's terms, the goal of "pretaliatory-interventionist technology" is to usher in a new era of American greatness, to make the Land of the Free into a beacon of hope for the world. A light bulb came on, as Kristol explains: "It hit me like a ton of bricks. Talk about inspiration. I realized we could build a ding-a-ling. Our own ding-a-ling, a superior, electronic ding-a-ling with none of the vulnerability to common-sense that might handicap a human ding-a-ling of flesh-and-blood." when we got around to assembling the brain we had pretty much run out of parts and taxpayers' money," Wolfowitz said. "So we used the guts from one of those 1980's Asteroids arcade games, and some stuffing from a beat-up old sofa that Mike was gonna toss." "And a half-eaten bacon-cheeseburger from White Castle that I couldn't finish," put in Kristol, admitting: "So strictly speaking, it's not a 'robot' but a cyborg - for it does have organic components." The three acknowledge that this fly-by-night approach has led to some glitches, along with some anxious moments. "Just prior to the 2000 presidential debate it froze up, and wouldn't do anything except shoot smoke out the ears and hiss, 'Free-dom,' in a voice like Darth Vader." said Ledeen. "We made it do shots of battery-acid to unfreeze its CPU. Luckily the debate was with Gore anyway, who would make a garage-door opener look like Cicero."
11/25/06 - Should You License Or Produce Your Invention?
Most inventors follow a typical pattern: They perfect their invention, determine its marketability and take steps to protect it under patent laws. But then comes a difficult decision. How will the inventor make money from it? Should he license the invention to a third party, or should he manufacture and market the invention himself? This decision will affect not only how an inventor earns money, but also how much financing will be needed to proceed. If you are a typical inventor, you will probably want to license your invention and collect royalties, or even sell it outright--we'll call this typical person the "inventor-for-royalties." But if you are more motivated and have a competitive business streak--we'll call this type of person the "entrepreneurial inventor"--you may wish to start a small business to produce your invention and market it. In that case, you will need substantially more financing to develop, produce and distribute your product. Licensing or assigning rights to your invention for cash is a simpler, less-expensive route than manufacturing and selling your invention. Licensing or assigning your invention is often preferable for those inventors who want to make money but care primarily about innovating and spending time in their lab. An inventor-for-royalties can also permanently assign all rights to the invention for cash. An assignment is a permanent transfer of ownership rights. When you assign your invention, you are the "assignor," and whoever purchases the rights is the "assignee." An assignment is like the sale of a house, after which the seller no longer has any rights over the property. As the assignor, you may receive a lump sum payment or periodic royalty payments. For those who place considerable weight on the entrepreneurial side of the scales, the financial reward of a license or assignment may seem unappealing--royalties often range from 2% to 10% of the net revenues. An entrepreneur may think, "Why should I give up my control and take a slice of the pie when I could keep the whole thing?" For this reason, inventors with a strong entrepreneurial drive often choose to form a business and to manufacture and market the product, a course of action that requires considerably more financial assistance than licensing.
11/25/06 - South American countries reach visa deal
(These guys have it right..cooperation, not division and paranoia. - JWD) Nationals from all 12 South American nations will soon be able to travel throughout the region without visas, regional foreign ministers agreed Friday. The decision at a meeting of foreign ministers of the South American Community is expected to become effective within 90 days, officials said. Visas will be exempt for nationals traveling between Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela. The visa exemption "represents a step in our efforts to eliminate our traditional divisions," said Chilean Foreign Minister Alejandro Foxley.
11/24/06 - Patent application for the Turkish Limitless Power "mystery invention"
Turkish Patent Institute approved that Erke Research and Engineering Co. had applied for the mystery invention which is claimed to produce "electricity without fuel". Many people claimed to be the inventor of the machine but this causes no problem for the patent acquirement. Different firms or people can acquire a patent of a device as long as they come up with "different techniques." Turkish Patent Institution President Yusuf Balci told reporters that he can not give any information about the device until the invention applications are published since the invention is the "property" of its owner. Balci warned reporters that there will be many people who will claim to be the inventor of the device but what is important is the applications and research reports submitted to the institution. But since the firm already announced it we can authenticate the application," he added.
11/24/06 - Clean Energy Invention to Freeze and save the planet
(I have to question this guys claims of 10-30km since the deepest drilling I could find was 40,000 feet (12.2 kilometers = 7.6 miles). He claims the Germans drilled to 30km, fully twice as much as the deepest recorded. Perhaps a natural hole like a lava tube? - JWD) Part-time inventor Andy Kabir-Buxton, told the WHT that his idea is based on the scientific principle that the deeper you dig, the hotter it gets. He worked out that a water-filled hole, 10km (6.2 miles) deep, would produce a temperature three times boiling point - the exact heat power stations require to generate electricity. The 53-year-old then took it one step further by suggesting that a Buxton Geothermal Power Station could power huge freezer units at both ends of the Earth "so that the melting of the ice caps could be reversed and then maintained". "The freezers would have to be massive but this is a massive problem," he said. "The power stations are cheaper and faster to build than nuclear ones, generate more electricity and are far cleaner. There's no reason why we can't have them all over this country and all over the world. Andy said he had tried to convince governments to adopt his clean energy idea throughout the 80s and corresponded with both Mikhail Gorbachev and West Germany's chancellor Helmut Kohl. He claims both countries tested his idea but the results were classified, although he read reports the Russians filled a 30km (18.6 miles) deep hole with water with almost apocalyptic consequences. Only one Buxton Geothermal Turbine Generator has been built, in the then West Germany, by Helmut Kohl, generating as much electricity as a nuclear power station. Because it was classified as an official secret in Germany no publicity is made of my invention, this in spite of the fact that UK politicians of the time went to see it. "The resulting steam cloud was noticed by NATO who thought it was a secret weapon," he said. "I almost caused the Third World War!"
11/24/06 - Cure Mental Health Problems by stunning the brain
(Would this be equivalent to bitch slapping someone to knock some sense into them? - JWD) The cure, which I term the Kadir-Buxton Method, has been used on a wide variety of mental health problems. The procedure stuns and resets the brain of the patient, so that the patient returns to a normal condition. The Kadir-Buxton Method is done by making a fist of both hands, and striking both ears of the patient at exactly the same time and pressure with the soft part of the inner hand which is where the thumb joins the hand. The procedure is painless and the patient regains consciousness faster the less hard the double blow is struck. With practice, I am able to render the patients unconscious for only thirty seconds. Other individuals have faired even better. There are three exceptions to the single stun that I have found, namely manic depression, and eating disorders, which are often caused by a trauma in life such as sexual abuse, and psychopathic disorder. The procedure of remembering the trauma and the stun technique must be done three times for the memory to be totally erased. Once the trauma is eradicated, the patient is cured. I have found that using the Kadir-Buxton Method three times whilst alcoholics and drug addicts are remembering their love of what they are addicted to as vividly as possible takes away all cravings to carry on with their addiction. You will find that the Kadir-Buxton Method is also effective against comas and senility, amongst other things.
11/24/06 - WIFI made me Sick
It is the hi-tech tool that has revolutionised home and office alike - but a growing band of campaigners claim wi-fi is a major threat to health. Sufferers say the electro-magnetic waves emitted by wireless computer networks - wi-fi - leave them feeling exhausted, nauseous and sleepless. Ms Figes said: "The day we installed wi-fi two years ago was the day I started to feel ill. At first I could not work out what the problem was. I had no idea why I felt so sick and run-down. But I knew that when I walked through the front door it felt like walking into a cloud of poison. "Imagine being prodded all over your body by 1,000 fingers. That is what I felt when I walked into the house... Then I started to think it might be the wi-fi, so we scrapped it - and I felt better." She added: "Most people I've spoken are really dismissive, but I don't think they've considered the long-term impact of this technology." The mother-of-two is just one of many people who contacted campaigning group ElectroSensitivityUK about their fears over the harmful effects of wi-fi. But Chris Guy, head of Reading University's School of Systems Engineering said: "The amount of power emitted by wi-fi devices is about a tenth of that given out by mobile phones. It is very, very unlikely that it is harmful because the power levels are so low. I just do not believe wi-fi is damaging people's health."
11/24/06 - The Future of War
"Robots can kill without mercy, remorse or pity. They are all stone-cold killers," said Pike. "And we don't have to write letters to their families." The United States army is already developing an arsenal of robotic weapons that could be deployed within a decade or so. In the air, Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) are now being used extensively in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere - both for surveillance as well as dropping so-called "Hellfire" missiles. The US is trying to develop ways for UAVs or drones to work in swarms, attacking targets en masse or operating an aerial delivery system to cover an entire region. Technology is also changing the nature of munitions. Already there are devastating thermobaric bombs which have more destructive power than any other conventional weapon, while microwave bombs or transient electromagnetic devices (TEDs), which release a massive burst of electromagnetic energy sufficient to disable computers without killing people, are also in development. Space may become the next battlefield, and it is in this area that technology is really pushing at the boundaries. Reports in the US suggest that ideas either on the drawing board, or else already in development, include killer satellites that could destroy an enemy's satellites, a Common Aero Vehicle (CAV) that could swoop with hypersonic speed up to 3 000 miles to attack a target, Hyper-Velocity Rod Bundles which would fire tungsten bars weighing 100kg from a permanently orbiting platform - and even a space-based laser that uses mirrors to direct the sun's rays against ground targets. This last project - known as the Eagle or Evolutionary Air and Space Global Laser Engagement - was contained along with other such radical ideas in a 2004 Air Force plan to transform space into a weaponised zone. The ratio between dead and wounded among US troops in Iraq is one to eight, while in Vietnam it was one to three. Pike believes development will be driven by the US, whose military budget already matches the combined totals of the next dozen or so countries. Despite being three years into a war that has led to the death of around 2,800 US and 120 UK troops, and perhaps as many as 655,000 Iraqis, he is concerned that new technology will further encourage the US to military action rather than diplomacy. "Some fear it will lead to the lone super-power going on the rampage,"he said. "If you think that people are fed up with America now, just give it time."
11/24/06 - Don't make a Bad Deal
You don't get anywhere if your idea is a secret. A leveraged idea is worth sharing. That said, please remember that the idea isn't what is worth anything. It's the effort and the cash and persistence that pays off. 1. Don't do a deal where each side gets a fixed percentage. A 50/50 split of a company invented in a bar is always a bad idea. Even paying someone 5% for some sort of contribution can come back to haunt you. Instead, build the deal around a shifting percentage based on contributions over time. 2. Don't assume that the money you start with is going to be enough. Let's say you and a buddy each put in $5k and each take half the business. Then what? What happens when the money runs out and only one of you is willing to put in the next block of capital? 3. Think about taxes. If you build a Sub S company, and the company loses money, you both get a write off... 4. Don't forget the arbitration clause. Sure, your venture won't go bad, but others do. A clause that guarantees informal binding arbitration not only saves you time and money when stuff goes wrong, but it helps keep stuff from going wrong because no one will blackmail the other with court. 5. Do a deal with someone you trust, but don't do a deal with a friend. You'll likely end up with neither a partner nor a friend in the end. 6. Don't forget the shotgun clause. At some point, one of you is going to want to run with the project. So build in a clause that says, "At any time, one person can offer to buy the other out. The second person then has the chance to either buy the first person out at the same valuation, or sell." Money can solve a few problems, and this is one of them. 7. In case you forgot, reread #1. 8. Worry about control. A lot. Sooner or later, control matters. Do you have it? Really? If you don't, are you okay with that? 9. The myth of most legal documents is that the world is going to stay the way it is. Or that the world is going to change, but just the way you expect it will. It won't, and it doesn't.
11/24/06 - Predictions on the Record
The purpose of the Long Bets Foundation is to improve long-term thinking. Long Bets is a public arena for enjoyably competitive predictions, of interest to society, with philanthropic money at stake. / Patrick Bailey sent a note about a looming earthquake prediction for Mexico City as posted at Brians Prediction - "In 2 days a 6.0 earthquake's magnetic field will be the trigger that causes the Mexico City quake at could kill more than 22,000 people. Also says to study this to predict the quakes exact time of arrival. I think it says "Mexico City Anomaly Magnetics" - and that was his prediction on the 19th...
11/24/06 - Depleted uranium: health effects and controversies
THE USE of depleted uranium (DU) containing munitions in the Gulf war, the Balkan conflict and more recently in Iraq has provoked intense controversy. Depleted uranium (DU) contains less concentration (0.2 to 0.4 per cent) of uranium-235. It is a relatively cheap product left when the proportion of U-235 atoms found in natural uranium is increased by a process called `enrichment.' DU is 1.7 times denser than lead and is used at the tip of armour-piercing shells. Dr. Keith Baverstock who was one among the 15-member review and oversight group claimed that WHO deliberately suppressed research indicating the carcinogenic risk from DU munitions. Dr. Mike Repacholi, the WHO scientist who oversaw the production of the report refused to include any mention of the research emerging from the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute of the US Department of Defence (The British Medical Journal ), he complained. Dr. Repacholi told BBC on November 1, this year that he had excluded the research because other reports did not corroborate the findings. In 2004, in an interview given to Rob Edwards, Dr. Baverstock claimed that while he was a member of the staff, WHO refused to give him permission to publish a study with Professor Carmel Mothersill from Macmaster University and Dr. Mike Thorme, a radiation consultant (Sunday Herald, 22 April). Baverstock believed that WHO censored and suppressed the study because they did not like its conclusions. WHO officials were bowing to pressure from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a pronuclear agency, he felt. WHO dismissed the allegation. "The article was not approved for publication because parts of it did not reflect accurately, what a WHO-convened group of international experts considered the best science in the area of depleted uranium" Dr. Repacholi clarified.(Sunday Herald, 22 April 2004). Professor Allen Brodsky, Adjunct Professor of Radiation Science, Georgetown University, who wrote a seminal book titled `Review of radiation risks & uranium toxicity' responded thus to my e-mail: "I do not think that the depleted uranium has been shown to have any effects on troops or citizens, as a result of the research that I reviewed in my book." The British and US forces fired about 320 tonnes of DU munitions in the Gulf war and may have used up to 2000 tonnes during the Iraqi invasion in 2003. The BMJ noted that reports from southern Iraq have documented a steep rise in the incidence of cancers since the 1990s especially in children. "There is no scientific or medical evidence to link DU with the ill health of people living in the Gulf region" BBC quoted the UK Ministry of Defence. "Although 90 per cent of the inhaled or ingested uranium is excreted within 24 to 48 hrs, about 10 per cent remains to form a long term radiological hazard" Sir Hugh Beach formerly Master General of the Ordnance and Warden of St. George House, Windsor Castle wrote in a candid report to the International Security Information Service (ISIS),UK.
11/24/06 - The SuperJet
Today's commercial aircraft engine will be replaced by Nazi-era technology in the next decade. We'll be flying from L.A. to China in six hours. Engineers are tinkering with jets that burn fuel in a sequence of miniature explosions much like the explosions that move a car engine's pistons. Today's jet engines suck in air, compress it, combine it with fuel and then ignite the fuel. The air pushes out the back, providing thrust and also spinning the turbine blades that power the compressor. The pulse detonation engine dispenses with the compressor and the turbine, thus potentially saving on weight and maintenance. Existing jets can power a commercial aircraft at up to 500mph of airspeed at an altitude of 30,000 feet; the pulse engine should be able to go at four times the speed and as high as 40,000 feet. Pulse propulsion technology has been around since the 1930s, when Nazi engineers developed it to power the infamous V-1 missiles that blitzed England in World War II. U.S. military engineers built knockoffs from captured parts, but the design received little attention outside the Air Force, where it was used to develop high-speed cruise missiles. But if they are to reach speeds beyond the sound barrier (761mph), Boeing and Airbus will have to redesign passenger planes completely. In the meantime the new engines will likely be used on cruise missiles and as afterburners to provide extra thrust for conventional supersonic fighter jets. Says GE's Correa: "People need to go to Bangalore or Shanghai. There's this unmet need building up, much like when people first needed to cross the oceans and continents on a routine basis. If you could deliver five times the speed of sound at a reasonable price and without a disastrous effect on the environment, people would like to do this."
11/24/06 - Corn finds future in energy
Why is corn so hot? Because internationally, funds have been buying heavily into corn overseas in its new avatar as an energy crop. In the US, corn is the main raw material for making ethanol. So funds are betting on corn prices to spurt in tandem with ethanol, which is linked to crude oil. Statistics certainly support the funds’ buying spree. Currently, there are 97 ethanol refineries in the US and 35 under construction. To meet the requirements of the Renewable Fuel Standards, which was put into law with the Energy Policy Act of 2005, renewable fuel use will need to expand to 7.5bn gallons by ‘12 - this year the US will use 4bn gallons. The majority of the renewable fuel used will be ethanol, resulting in the domestic ethanol industry doubling in the next six years. How big is this growing demand for corn use in ethanol? The US Department of Agriculture’s September 12 crop production report estimated corn used for ethanol will increase by 25%, from 1.6bn bushels in ‘06 to 2.1bn bushels in ‘07. But it is important to remember here that the US is still a net corn exporter. In fact, currently corn is abundant. This year’s harvest is predicted to produce the second largest crop on record. So till there is a large contraction in US corn exports, ethanol demand may not be the main driver, at least in the short-term. The possibility of China becoming a net corn importer is a more important factor for short-term bullishness.
11/24/06 - Need a firm hand? Then call a robotic helper!
The blue and white robots, which have cat-like ears and a large video camera lens for an eye, made their debut last month as hospital workers and are now being put up for rent to take additional jobs. The "Ubiko" robots can answer simple inquiries and hand out information, meaning they could be used as receptionists in companies or as guides in airports or train stations. "By putting these robots in schools, the robots can check out the atmosphere in the classroom, and by giving some comfort to students hopefully can prevent bullying among students," Ubiquitous Exchange spokesperson Akiko Sakurai said. The robot can record footage and pass it to school officials and parents to detect bullying, a problem which is causing growing concern in Japanese schools. They can also carry luggage and escort visitors and patients to their destinations. Ubiko can be controlled by voice despite being an autonomous robot, but further work must be done to improve on the rather annoying synthesized voice.
11/24/06 - Warnings of cheap gas threat to electricity
Russia could face a breakdown in its electricity sector unless domestic gas prices are raised, according to a senior bureaucrat. Anatoli Chubais, chief executive of the state-owned electricity monopoly UES, said: “We are facing a worsening gas deficit. The reason for the domestic shortage is clear - gas is too cheap domestically. The Government should raise the price to reduce domestic demand.” Russia’s domestic gas market is probably the cheapest and least efficient in the world. Gas costs $45 per 1,000 cubic metres, a quarter of the international market price. Mr Chubais said: “With such a low price, we are always going to face domestic shortages.” The cost for retail consumers is even less, so household gas is more or less free. Central heating in homes is also controlled by the Government, leading to a situation in which Russians in Siberia may leave windows open in temperatures of minus 15C because their homes are too hot. Many households do not even have control over their radiators - a central authority decides whether the thermostat will be on or off.
11/24/06 - Experts tap brain for 'out-of-body' sensation
(For the bio-experimenters out there, this looks like fun! - JWD) Two Swiss scientists said on Wednesday that they had been able to identify a part of the brain that may be responsible for the "out-of-body" experiences of patients who came close to death. Neurologists Olaf Blanke and Margitta Seeck said in a joint statement they had been able to make the observation during exploratory experiments for treatment of severe forms of epilepsy. Electrical stimulation of a key area of the brain near the temple (Angular Gyrus) upset the mind's perception of the body, according to the team from the University of Geneva's medical school and the Neuroscience institute at the Swiss federal technical college in Lausanne (EPFL). The brain generates an image of the body in the mind. But this is an external image as if the body were projected under, facing or behind the person, they said. "In the first two instances, the patients still recognise their own image; in the latter, however, they sense another, sombre and menacing, presence," the scientists explained./ ...More Info... - Dr. Michael Persinger has elicited out of body experiences through stimulation of the temporal lobes using magnetic signals derived from the EEG signature of one of the structures deep in the temporal lobes. Near the brain's right temporal lobe, the angular gyrus is an area of the surface of the brain close to the temporal lobe, and is associated with perception of sound, touch, memory and speech.
11/24/06 - Students' electric car hits the road
An electric commuter car, co-designed by a Durban university student, has left the starting blocks for its first road tests in the United States just weeks after being designed on a computerised drawing board. Known as the Pulse, the three-wheeler experimental vehicle was designed and made at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) by some of the brightest mechanical engineering students drawn from universities in several nations. The design team said the running costs of the vehicle should be about 70 times lower than a petrol-driven engine. They hoped it would achieve normal freeway speeds and be able to travel 200km, (124.3 miles) before its batteries need to be recharged.
11/23/06 - Turkish inventors develop & patent Limitless Energy Invention
(Looking for details on this, please share what you find..thanks! - JWD) After the declaration of Erke that they produced an engine without fuel; three people claimed that the invention belonged to them and put forward that limitless energy is possible. Erke Research and Engineering Company announced that they produced an engine working without fuel at the press conference and attracted attention. Then an electric technician Hüseyin Kiliç; retired officer Hasim Yigit and tradesman Yücel Karakaya called Sabah and claimed that they invented an engine operating without fuel. Kiliç claimed that limitless energy is possible. The generals attending the press conference of Erke company saying that they have invented an invention of the age are very surprised: "we did not attend for support; we were invited." The invention of Erke company composing the agenda of Turkey for days still remains a mystery. Nothing clear came up out of the patent letter Sabah read. The famous names attending the press conference said they did not attend for support; but they were invited.
11/23/06 - Nissan: Electric Cars for the Elderly
Two interesting EV concepts on the Nissan stand were the Hypermini, an ultra-small two-seater 100 km/h urban commuter with an aluminium space-frame, neodymium magnetic synchronous traction motor and high-performance lithium-ion batteries with a 115km range and the Micro UV. The Micro is almost a story in itself, as it was developed by Nissan subsidiary Autech under the sponsorship of NEDO (the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization established by the Japanese government in 1980 to develop new oil-alternative energy technologies) specifically for Japan's aging population. With the increase numbers of elderly drivers, this ultra-small electric vehicle is fitted with an active interface technology to support drivers with failing motor-ability and response-time that may impair their driving capability.
11/23/06 - Spies connect-the-dots with inhouse Wikipedia
United States officials say they have created their own version of Wikipedia for intelligence agents in a bid to encourage US spy agencies to share information and transcend bureaucratic rivalries. Launched in April, Intellipedia allows analysts and officials from a range of agencies to add and edit content on intelligence topics in a collaborative manner through a classified internal web. The office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) says the project will help revolutionise the prevailing culture of the US intelligence community, widely blamed for failing to "connect the dots" before the attacks of September 11, 2001. The brainchild of a tech-savvy younger generation of spies, Intellipedia has grown to include 3600 users and more than 28,000 pages of content, according to DNI. Unlike Wikipedia, which is open and based on anonymous contributions, all edits on Intellipedia are attributed and the content is accessible only to those with security clearances. Officials plan to expand access to their counterparts in Australia, Britain and Canada and say an unclassified assessment of threats posed by infectious diseases would be open to a larger group of users, including China. They say the system should produce more thorough and balanced intelligence assessments because the collaborative approach allows more analysts to be involved and retains a permanent record of each contribution - including dissenting points of view.
11/23/06 - Human Powered Generator
Good for emergencies, off-grid applications or for when you just want a little exercise, the Human Power Generator from Windstream Power can be pedaled or cranked by hand to charge 12 volt batteries and run small appliances. According to the product page, the average continuous power that can be generated by pedaling is about 80 watts; 50 watts if you're cranking by hand, though we have unconfirmed reports that Lance Armstrong could do 300 watts and mere mortals can crank it up to 200 watts. Aside from providing endless Lance-chasing fun, the generators work well enough to power a Medeski, Martin & Wood soundcheck -- pedal-powered guitars and amps: now that's rock 'n roll.
11/23/06 - Show them the money, and people act differently
“Show me the money,” demanded Cuba Gooding Jr., in the movie “Jerry McGuire.” He meant pay me the money, of course, but it turns out that merely showing it to people can change their behavior. “The mere presence of money changes people,” Vohs said. “The effect can be negative, it can be positive. Exposure to money, or the concept of money, elevates a sense of self-sufficiency,” and can make people less social. The experiments indicate that even quite trivial exposure to money changes peoples' goals and behavior, Carole B. Burgoyne and Stephen E. G. Lee of the University of Exeter in England said in a commentary on the paper. “Subjects exposed to the idea of money subsequently show more self-reliant but also a more self-centered approach to problem solving that subjects exposed to neutral concepts,” said Lee and Burgoyne, who were not part of Vohs research team.
11/23/06 - Honda's vision of the future -- a car powered by hydrogen
The Honda FCX looks like a slightly futuristic version of a blend of cars, especially those made by Honda Motor Co. But by one particular yardstick, the car is special -- it doesn't run on fossil fuel. Instead, a fuel cell car uses hydrogen. "This is the first purpose-built fuel cell vehicle to be put on the road in the hands of retail customers," said Stephen Ellis, fuel cell marketing manager for American Honda Motor Co. "It's not a car that is remade from some other platform." Honda says that within two years it plans to produce and lease to the public an untold number of cars based on the concept car the company put on display Tuesday. Tentative plans call for leasing the car for perhaps $600 or $700 a month. Automakers typically lease experimental cars to the public rather than sell them outright as a way of retaining control of them. What makes the car unlike any other sedan is its fuel cell stack, a sandwich of plates that generate electricity through an electro-chemical process using a combination of hydrogen and oxygen. The front wheels are driven by an electric motor. The only emission is water vapor. Friedman cited problems of making a fuel cell system start in minus-40 degree weather and making the systems as durable as possible. "We have to get a fuel cell vehicle that is durable and cheap enough," Friedman said, "and make sure the hydrogen is clean enough. No one will cheer if, at the end of the day, we make all our hydrogen from coal and melt the planet." As for the economics, Honda Vice President Ben Knight said a fuel cell car can get the equivalent of a gasoline-powered car's 65 miles per gallon. An FCX filled with 8.8 pounds of hydrogen can go about 270 miles, he said.
11/23/06 - Water filter system will benefit millions
Pure drinking water, the most sought after commodity on the planet, could soon be within reach of millions of people thanks to the ingenuity of Kiwi Russell Kelly, backed by space age technology developed for NASA. His recently designed filter system can turn sewage-polluted water into drinking water. International patents and trademarks protect the various processes. Having lived in Kashmir on the India/Pakistan border, and having travelled widely through Asia, Kelly and wife Sue set about inventing a simple filter system that was portable, required low maintenance and that could be operated by gravity, bicycle power or a generator. "Most surface water in the world is highly polluted with sewage and for that reason we did not conduct laboratory trials but chose to conduct real field trials that used Christchurch Avon River water that has a high E.coli count due to the large bird numbers polluting the river. "We also added raw untreated sewage from the city's treatment plant at Bromley at a rate of 5% to bring the E.coli and virus counts to a much higher level than would naturally be encountered even in Asia. The results have been extraordinarily successful and I am totally comfortable drinking this filtered water," he said. The filter is a four-step process where the polluted water first passes through a carbon-based filter. It then passes through a specifically designed 0.2 micron ceramic filter that has an iodine resin embedded in the ceramics to filter out cysts and bacteria and kill viruses in the water. The water then goes through a third filter which contains an iodine scavenging resin which removes the iodine taste from the water before it passes through a final carbon-based filter. "The iodine technology was crucial and we have been fortunate in that NASA has not only given us the rights to use it but also granted approval to use the Certified Space Foundation logo as they see our invention as having a 'significant beneficial impact on mankind'.
11/23/06 - DIY Energy Drink
EnerT, this simple do it yourself tea-based energy drink, may be a better (and cheaper) option than pricey Gatorade drinks. EnerT Ingredients (32 oz or about 1 liter): 2 Tea Bags / 6 level teaspoon sugar (24 grams) / A pinch of salt (0.5 grams) / 2 oz lemon juice (about 55 grams) / 30 oz boiling water. I use a lower potassium level as research indicates that Potassium loss is secondary to Sodium loss in hydration. You can add more lemon juice in, up to 4oz - if flavor allows. On the other hand, removing the lemon juice will still yield a good energy drink, but will reduce price by 66%. (via lifehacker.com)
11/23/06 - Viral Factories
Angela Belcher's lab genetically engineers viruses that can construct useful objects like electrodes and wires. The secret lies in the way organisms construct hard materials like shells and bones. "We're trying to understand how nature makes these hard materials," says Belcher, 39. "And we're applying those processes to materials that nature didn't have the opportunity to work with." Like cobalt oxide or similar compounds that can be used to make components for batteries, touch-screen technology, and semiconductors. "We're only interested in practical applications." "In nature, organisms build hard structures in a nontoxic way," says Belcher. "They generate little waste. But organisms haven't built solar cells, or batteries." She decided to work with the M13 phage, a long, thin virus that can be engineered to bind to certain types of molecules, including inorganic ones like metals. By selecting the viruses that bound most efficiently to a desired material, Belcher isolated the "stickiest" phages and then dunked them in a metallic solution, coating them with the molecules. The phages then connected and formed longer strands -- effectively making wires, or a thin sheet of film. Her lab employed this method to form an electrode that can be used in a lithium ion battery like the rechargeable ones used in electronics. The result looks like an innocuous length of celluloid tape, the sort you could use to wrap a package. "It's self-assembled," says Belcher. "The viruses make these materials at room temperature." So there's little pollution. "New factories will have equipment based on self-assembly," she says. "There will be clean chemistries. Things will continue to get smaller."
11/23/06 - originally posted 02/25/06 - Candle Heater for small rooms
The Kandle Heeter(tm) Candle Holder is an attractive ceramic radiator suspended above a candle flame on a solid steel frame. And it really works! The steel and ceramic radiator collects and concentrates the heat from the candle flame, becomes hot (but not burning), and gently radiates the heat from the candle into your room. Invented and manufactured in Fortuna, California from solid steel and ceramic components the candle heater is just over 9 inches tall and just under 7 inches wide and deep. It weighs over four pounds and ships in a 200 lb test cardboard box. The steel and ceramic radiator is comprised of three nested ceramic modulators held together and separated by a solid steel inner core. The steel inner core is positioned directly above the candle and is driven to very high temperatures by the flame. It gets very, very hot! The nested ceramic modulators transfer and moderate the high temperature of the inner core, one to another, until the outer ceramic modulator becomes a gently radiating thermal body that releases the concentrated heat from the candle into your home or office. If you burn candles, it only makes environmental and economical practical sense to capture the heat that is normally lost to the ceiling and use this heat in your own environment. (A typical 4.5 oz. jar candle contains over 1,000 Btu’s!) “The Kandle Heeter(tm) Candle Holder makes a real difference in a small room or bedroom,” says inventor Doyle Doss. “And if there is a temporary power outage you will be able to create a warm room for your family and friends.”
11/23/06 - The Thermal Rectifier / Heat Diode
Alex Zettl and his colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley), have shown that it is possible to make a thermal rectifier, a device that directs the flow of heat, with nanotubes. If made practical, the rectifier, which the researchers described in last week's Science, could be used to manage the overheating of microelectronic devices and to help create energy-efficient buildings, and it could even lead to new ways of computing with heat. Heat can be thought of as made of tiny packets of vibrations called phonons. A thermal rectifier allows phonons to move only in one direction. But rectifying heat is much harder than rectifying electric current, because most heat transport in materials is by diffusion, which is random, says Arunava Majumdar, a mechanical engineer at UC Berkeley and a coauthor of the Science paper. "The vibrations are not charged, so you can't bias them." The nanotube thermal rectifier is the first experimental proof that such a device works. As many as 7 percent more phonons were traveling from the high-mass end to the low-mass end than in the opposite direction. This small efficiency is not enough for practical applications. But what's more important at this stage is the solid proof that the thermal-rectifying effect exists, says Giulio Casati, a professor of physics at the University of Insubria, at Como, Italy, who, along with Peyrar, originally proposed the idea of a thermal rectifier. "It's the first step," he says. "When [engineers] built the first electrical diode, the efficiency was very low. So it'll take time." Majumdar says the next step is to explore various nanotube geometries as well as the platinum compound loaded on the nanotubes. "Could we change that material or could we change the geometry and thereby increase rectification?" he asks. "That's still up for grabs right now."
11/23/06 - Texas Instruments' lunatic fringe
(Thanks to Bob Paddock for the headsup on this. - JWD) Patient and relentless as a hunter, he stalks his quarry among TI's engineers as well as among academics, inventors and employees of small tech companies all over the world. "What I look for in these companies is the wild-eyed optimist who's going to tackle the market," Gene Frantz says. Frantz is the dean of an informal and amorphous group of TI engineers (and their peers and contacts outside the company) who call themselves the Lunatic Fringe. They are senior people who have been given free rein to follow their curiosity wherever it goes. "There's this continuum between total chaos and total order," Frantz explains. "About 95% of the people in TI are total order, and I thank God for them every day, because they create the products that allow me to spend money. I'm down here in total chaos, that total chaos of innovation. As a company we recognize the difference between those two and encourage both to occur." The spirit of the Lunatics - look everywhere for good ideas first, worry about turning them into products later - has suffused TI for years, begotten some of the company's greatest hits, and largely explains the success it is currently enjoying. There isn't anything as formal as a Lunatic Fringe membership list. "There are more Lunatics within TI than show up and raise their hands," says Frantz, who somewhere in his 32 years at the company (he can't recall quite when) began bestowing the appellation admiringly on colleagues who were willing to explore crazy ideas. How many are there? "Within TI, maybe no more than 100," he says. The closest thing they have to regular gatherings is the weekly Sea of Ideas meeting, named after a call to action made by Templeton. ("There's a big sea of ideas out there in the world," he exhorted his engineers, "and I want you to cast a big net.") And there are plenty of people within TI who don't necessarily consider themselves card-carrying Lunatics but nonetheless partake of the Fringe's freewheeling do-it-yourself ethos.
11/23/06 - Now, a mouse pad sans the mouse
Qinetiq, has developed a mouse pad that doesn’t require a mouse but instead monitors the movement of the hand above its surface. The pad catches the hand motions - left, right, forwards and backwards - through a T-shaped array of infrared emitters and sensors, placed together in closely spaced pairs. As and when a hand signal is made the T-shaped sensor pairs gets excited. Each emitter produces uniquely coded pulses so only its paired sensor can "see" the light as it is reflected by a hand moving above, reports New Scientist. The pad can also be personalised to follow certain complex gestures made by the hand, such as moving the hand rapidly in a circle, could be stored on a computer as a sign for the machine to "Save all work and shut down - it's time to go home!" Qinetiq says that the device could be inexpensive as infrared diodes are already manufactured by the million for remote control units.
11/22/06 - Apple and Eneco discuss turning heat into power
Apple is talking to small development company Eneco, which has developed a chip that converts heat into electricity. The chip can also refrigerate when electricity is applied to it, reducing local temperatures. Eneco president and CEO Dr Lew Brown believes the chip will revolutionise electricity generation, comparing it to the invention of the transistor. "Eneco is a development-stage company that claims to have invented and patented a 'solid state energy conversion/generation chip' that will convert heat directly into electricity or alternatively refrigerate down to -200 degrees celsius when electricity is applied," the report explains. The chip uses principles of thermionic energy conversion, which works on the principle that electrons can be bounced between a hot metal plate to a cold metal plate, creating electricity as they go. Eneco claims its chip's energy density is five-times better than current lithium-ion batteries and up to four-times better than future micro fuel-cell capabilities projected to ship by 2010. The main difficulty with exploiting this process at a commercial level has been in creating the vacuum between the two metals. But Eneco has overcome the problem by replacing the vacuum with, what the brochure describes as, "a properly selected semiconductor thermoelectric that is thick enough to support a significant temperature differential between the emitter and the collector in order to achieve efficiencies of practical interest". The result is a solid state energy conversion chip that can operate at temperatures of up to 600 degrees celcius and deliver absolute efficiencies in terms of how much heat energy is converted to electricity of between 20 and 30 percent. Brown also sees the chips ultimately replacing batteries altogether. He argues that by linking the modules to a microburner - a catalytic burner that produces between 275 and 600 degrees centigrade - you can heat the chips and generate enough power to run the device. In response to questions about their durability he claims that current thermoelectric technologies used on NASA's spacecraft have a life of over twenty years with no degradation in performance and that the chips are expected to enjoy a similar lifespan. Meanwhile, the fact that there are no moving parts means there is no wear and therefore no maintenance requirements. The main technical concern from the floor is around how you keep a temperature differential between two sides of a chip no thicker than a coin. But speaking to GBN after the presentation Brown explains that the design of modules incorporating multiple chips will resolve this issue. "Within the module you have a top ceramic plate which makes heat distribution uniform, then you have the chips in between and another ceramic plate on the bottom that takes the heat away," he says. "These ceramic plates effectively act as insulation so the hot side will be significantly hotter than the cold side." In theory this means you can stick the module on the side of a boiler, for example, and the external or cold side will still be very hot, but it'll be sufficiently cold compared to the side actually in contact with the boiler that there is a differential capable of generating a significant amount of electricity.
11/22/06 - Super Turbo Rice Husk Quasi Gasifier Stove
A super turbo rice husk quasi gasifier stove was a recently discovered technology for burning rice husks with the use of super heated steam jet. Enhancing the firing of rice husk with steam, efficient and clean burning of fuel can now be achieved. By injecting steam into the burning rice husks, a pinkish color flame is generated during combustion of fuel. The pinkish-color flame is suspected to be due to the separation of hydrogen gas from water. This stove, as schematically shown, employs the conical grate rice husk stove for domestic use developed at CPU way back in the 90’s. The cylindrical plate cover has a diameter of 20 cm and a height of 25 cm. The steam tank has a capacity to contain 650 ml of water per load. Instead of the side-in steam injection, steam is introduced from the center of the stove. One distinct feature of the stove is that even it is designed for domestic size cooking, it can suitably be adopted for slightly bigger pot (5-liter capacity) that is commonly used for small restaurant and/or institutional cooking. Performance tests have shown that ignition of fuel can be done in just a minute using 2 to 3 pieces of burning paper. When the firing has started, saturated steam can be converted to superheated steam within a period of 3 minutes. This superheated heated enhances the firing of the stove. Water boiling tests have shown that 2 liters of water can be boiled in the stove in a shorter period of 6 min as compared with that of without steam which boils the same amount of water for 11 minutes. Fuel consumption rate is slightly reduced to 3.19 kg rice husk per hour when operated as super turbo with a steam consumption rate of 1.34 liters per hour. The overall thermal efficiency of the stove is 50 to 70% higher than when operating the stove without steam injection. The power output of the stove is 1.28 kW which is higher as compared to 0.93 kW without the steam. The percentage rice husk char produced is 35%. It was observed that the color of the flame turned from yellow to pinkish color right after the superheated steam is injected into the burning gases. Hydrocarbons and soot are eliminated upon injection of steam. The measured level of CO during the tests averages to 215 ppm, which is the same with the amount of CO in the ambient air.
11/22/06 - Rice as a source of Electricity
Rice yields an abundance of biowaste: Husks make up around one quarter of the weight. Only a small fraction of this is utilized, for instance, to fire distillery furnaces. Researchers at Hanoi University of Technology now also want to use rice husks to generate electricity. Fluidized bed firing systems are state-of-the-art in Germany but predominantly burn coal. Researchers of this technology also want to utilize them in the future for biomass. “Simply put, such systems consist of a vertical pipe with an air distribution plate,” explains Dr. Eyck Schotte, who oversaw the engineering of the Vietnamese fluidized bed firing system. “The air distribution plate is covered by a bed material, usually quartz sand, mixed with the fuel. As the gas flows through the nozzles, it entrains the bed material with the combustible material to the top where the fuel is converted.” New fuel is gradually fed into the fluidized bed from the side. Since the temperature in this method is approximately equal in the entire pipe, temperature peaks are not produced that would release particularly large amounts of emissions. Not all biomass is the same however. Straw burns differently than wood and in turn differently than rice residues. Hence the German researchers implemented the principle of fluidized bed firing for their colleagues in Hanoi in such a way that they can test various fuels’ combustion behavior. “For instance, we can replace the conveying screws that convey other fuels into the combustion chamber and thus continually feed both coarse rice husks and fine coal dust into the combustion chamber,” says Schotte.
11/22/06 - UQM Propulsion System for Phoenix Sports Utility Truck
Phoenix Motorcars, Inc. will be exhibiting its all electric sport utility truck (SUT) (previous post) powered by a UQM® propulsion system at the San Francisco International Auto Show which began Nov. 17 and runs through November 26th. The Phoenix all electric SUT is powered by a 100 kW UQM® electric propulsion system which produces over 400 ft-lbs of torque, accelerates the vehicle from 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than 10 seconds and operates at peak system efficiencies of over 94%. The vehicle’s 35kWh NanoSafe™ battery pack (previous post) supplied by Altair Nanotechnologies, Inc. can be recharged in less than 10 minutes, with the appropriate battery charger, provides sufficient power and energy for a fleet vehicle to travel up to 130 miles and can travel at speeds up to 95mph. The vehicle is expected to qualify as a Type III ZEV in California.
11/22/06 - Regrowing Teeth
Most vertebrates have continuous tooth generation, meaning that lost teeth are replaced with new teeth. Mammals, however, including humans, have teeth that are generally only replaced once, when milk teeth are replaced with permanent teeth. Researchers from the Institute of Biotechnology at the University of Helsinki and their collaborators from Berlin and Kyoto have now shown that continuous tooth generation can be induced in mammals. The researchers activated the Wnt signalling pathway in mouse tissue; this signalling pathway is one of those used for cell communication and plays an important role in embryonic development. As a result of stimulating this particular signalling, one mouse molar developed dozens of new teeth with normal dentin, tooth enamel and developing roots. The crowns were, however, simple and cone-shaped, unlike the typically more complex multiple cusps of mouse molars. The development of the new teeth was studied through tissue culture, and it became clear they were the result of germination from previously developed teeth, just like the teeth of lower vertebrates. The evolutionary trend in mammalian dentition has generally been toward a decrease in tooth generation, as well as towards a more complex shape of the crowns of teeth. The research indicates that Wnt signalling could have played a crucial role in these changes during evolution.
11/22/06 - Becoming Cyborgs--One Organ At A Time
Writing today in Advanced Materials, Nicholas Kotov of the University of Michigan and colleagues describe how they have used hollow, submicroscopic strands of carbon, carbon nanotubes, to connect an integrated circuit to nerve cells. The new technology offers the possibility of building an interface between biology and electronics. Kotov and colleagues at Oklahoma State University and the University of Texas Medical Branch have explored the properties of single-walled nanotubes (SWNTs) with a view to developing these materials as biologically compatible components of medical devices, sensors, and prosthetics. SWNTs are formed from carbon atoms by various techniques including deposition and resemble a rolled up sheet of chicken wire, but on a tiny scale. They are usually just a few nanometers across and up to several micrometers in length. When a lateral voltage is applied, a relatively large current is carried along the surface but only a very small current, in the region of billionths of an amp, is passed across the film to the nerve cells. The net effect is a kind of reverse amplification of the applied voltage that stimulates the nerve cells without damaging them. To make bioartificial kidneys, scientists grow cells harvested from donor kidneys not suitable for transplant and then insert them into a specially developed filter tube. Because the finished product contains live cells, it is treated like an organ for transplant, flown to the receiving hospital by helicopter in a temperature-controlled case. Humes founded a company, now known as RenaMed, to commercialize the device, which has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. ( via Al Fin )
11/22/06 - Marsh gas replaces dung in Tibetan households
Some 630 Tibetan households have already opted for marsh gas in this winter, and a few years later, such clean energy will be popularized in Tibet, and Tibetans will soon bid adieu to cow dung fuel as marsh gas takes over as the new cooking medium. In Tibetan pasturing areas, dunghills can be seen in most families' compounds. Currently new environmental-friendly sources from wind, solar and terrestrial heat have been introduced in Tibet, which giving farmers and herds people access to a more convenient life. Tibet has longer sunshine time than other parts of China, and many people make their living on flocks and herds, which provide enough materials to make methane there. Developing marsh gas in Tibet will also help to build advanced ecological agriculture and protect local fragile environmental system. Because of low air pressure and lack of oxygen on the Tibetan Plateau, it is very hard to construct marsh gas pools in Tibet. Tibetan farmers and herds people enjoy warming themselves and cooking by this new energy. There are some 250 Tibetan engineers capable of constructing marsh gas pools at the moment.
11/22/06 - Holiday gluttony can spell disaster for undiagnosed diabetics
Hearty feasts and couch-potato marathons are holiday traditions, but UT Southwestern Medical Center experts warn that packing on pounds and not exercising could be deadly for the 6 million Americans who have diabetes and don’t even know it. “The obesity epidemic is surging and people don’t realize they’re setting themselves up to develop diabetes. They’re like ticking time bombs,” said Dr. Manisha Chandalia, an endocrinologist at UT Southwestern. “Without treatment, high levels of blood sugars in the body can damage blood vessels and nerves over time, leading to high cholesterol, hypertension, stroke, kidney disease and amputations.” If you are age 40 or older, obese, lack physical activity or have a family history of diabetes, Dr. Chandalia recommends making time during the holidays to visit a doctor for a diabetes test. Symptoms include excessive thirst or hunger, dramatic weight loss, fatigue, frequent urination or blurry vision. The holidays also are a perfect time to start getting healthy, she said, offering these tips: - Set consistent meal times. Avoid fast food. - At parties, cut food portions in half or don’t eat large portions of food, even healthy food. Eat skinless chicken or turkey. - Use low-calorie ingredients when making treats. - Exercise regularly. Go on walks to see holiday displays. - If you are an appropriate weight for your age, maintain your weight. In certain ethnicities, such as Asians, even modest weight gain can set the stage for developing diabetes.
11/22/06 - ZAP Hybrid Motorcycles
The enclosed Vogue cycle pictured here is a gasoline version based on a gasoline vehicle that is currently selling in Europe. According to ZAP chairman Gary Starr a hybrid version could get up to 150 miles per gallon, and he said the company would also consider an all-electric version if enough people inquire. Starr believes that wheel-based motors (as opposed to centrally located motors) will drive many of the electric vehicles and hybrids to come. He said wheel-based motors are approaching 90 percent energy efficiency, and the lack of moving parts (belts, etc.) makes them more durable. Today the company is manufacturing 2000 watt motors, but Starr envisions quickly ramping up to 5000-watt motors that would be sufficient to propel a small car. ZAP is currently selling the Zapino, a Vespa-like electric scooter for $4000.
11/22/06 - Hydrogen Motorcycle Runs Clean And Quiet
An all-British collaboration between fuel-cell pioneers Intelligent Energy and design stars Seymourpowell has produced a working prototype that promises a clean, quiet future. Their ENV bike (for "emissions neutral vehicle" and pronounced "envy") is the world's first motorcycle built around a hydrogen fuel cell. It is, to date, the simplest and most innovative articulation of that technology's potential. A vehicle that is obviously a bike, but one unlike any other that has come before. At 176 pounds, it sits in the band between a heavy-duty mountain bike and a lightweight two-stroke motorcycle. The ENV matches conventionally powered competitors. It can go from a standing start to 30 mph in 7.3 seconds and reaches a top speed of 50 mph. It has a range of 160 miles before refueling. Impressive stats from a bike with zero emissions, except H2O. The most unexpected aspect of its design is that the power source is portable -- you can take it off the bike. Called the Core, it is in essence a 1-kilowatt fuel cell the size of a small suitcase. And it can provide power to other devices, at home or in the wild.
11/22/06 - Pentagon panels sees three options in Iraq
A Pentagon panel has outlined three basic options for improving the situation in Iraq -- pull out, send more U.S. troops or reduce the size of the force but stay longer, The Washington Post reported on Monday. The options have been dubbed "Go Home," "Go Big" and "Go Longer" by insiders. the group had concluded there were not enough U.S. forces to "Go Big," sending in thousands more troops, the Post said. "Go Home," the quick pullout option, was rejected as likely to push Iraq directly into a full-blown civil war, the Post said. The Pentagon group devised a hybrid plan, "Go Long," which calls for cutting the U.S. combat presence combined with a long-term expansion of the training and advising of Iraqi forces, the newspaper said. The officials said that under the mixture of options, the U.S. presence in Iraq would be boosted by 20,000 to 30,000 for a short period, the newspaper said. Currently there are around 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. Democrats, who won control of the U.S. Congress this month, have vowed to push for a withdrawal from Iraq in the next few months. President George W. Bush has insisted U.S. troops would not leave until Iraqis can take over security and has repeatedly rejected setting a timetable for withdrawal. However, the White House has said that Bush is open to new ideas.
11/22/06 - Little Japanese Car Kits
To support your dream to make up your original car by yourself. Not only people who love cars but also like mechanical things must have dreamed at least once. This model makes your dream come true. [The K4] is composed of more than 500 parts and takes approximately 40 hours to assemble. The Mitsuoka Motor Kit-Car measures just under 2.5 meters (eight feet) long and can run at up to 50 kilometers (31 miles) an hour. The expected cost of each of this vehicle is US $6,460.
11/22/06 - World has under decade to act on climate crisis: NASA scientist
"The biggest problem is that the United States is not taking an active leadership role -- quite the reverse," he said. "We have to be on a fundamentally different path within a decade," said the man who earlier this year caused an outcry when he revealed that scientific warnings on the climate crisis were being rewritten by White House officials. He said reliance on -- and growing use of -- fossil fuels like coal both in the United States and in boom economy China had to be stopped and reversed to avoid the planet's climate tipping into catastrophe with floods, droughts and famines. Scientists say that unless action is taken to stop emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels for power and transport, global temperatures will rise by between two and six degrees Celsius by the end of the century. President George W. Bush has argued vehemently that such actions would cripple its economy and in 2001 turned its back on the Kyoto Protocol -- the only global pact on curbing carbon emissions.
11/22/06 - Michigan Teen Creates Fusion Device
"The Detroit Free Press is reporting that Thiago Olson, a 17 year old Michigan teen, was able to create a small fusion device in his parents' basement. The machine uses a 40,000 volt charge and deuterium gas to create the small reaction, which he says looks like a 'small intense ball of energy.' The teen's fusion device is obviously not a self-sustaining reactor, but it still shows how fusion technology is becoming more accessible. Hopefully this points to a future where large scale fusion reactors are both economical and widely used."
11/22/06 - Helmet Cameras to help Police
Not related to cameraphones, but interesting. A team of eight Metropolitan Police officers in north London are to be equipped with head-mounted video cameras to help in the fight against anti-social behaviour, reports The Guardian. "The tiny cameras, each the size of an AA battery, will be fitted onto the side of the officers' headgear. They record high quality digital images, which are then fed back and stored in a special utility belt. The cameras can record for up to 12 hours - the maximum length of any police officer's shift. Police say the cameras are clearly visible and that they hope they will act as a deterrent, as well as an evidence gathering tool." According to the BBC the cameras have been trialled in other areas including, Teesside and Berkshire in the last two years."
11/22/06 - High-def and science fiction don't mix
Every year, the effects are more impressive, the impossible more daring. That's because today's special effects are almost universally generated on computers, and computers get better every year. Moore's Law describes the trend in processor performance, doubling every two years and getting faster every year. Other laws describe even steeper curves for storage, bandwidth, and bus-speeds. If Moore's Law applied to cars, you could replace your $12,500, 10-year-old, 39 miles/gallon Toyota with a $50 car that weighs 200 pounds and gets 500 miles to the gallon today. It's a good reason to go to the box-office, but it's also the source of an awful paradox: yesterday's jaw-dropping movies are today's kitschy crap. By next year, the custom tools that filmmakers develop for this year's blockbuster will be available to every hack commercial director making a Coke ad. What's more, the Coke ads and crummy sitcoms will run on faster, cheaper hardware and be available to a huge pool of creators, who will actually push the technology further, producing work that is in many cases visually superior to the big studio product from last summer. It's one thing for a black-and-white movie at a Hitchcock revival to look a little dated, but it's galling - and financially perilous - for last year's movie to date in a period of months. You can see what I mean by going to a Lord of the Rings festival at your local rep-house and comparing the generation-one creatures in Fellowship of the Ring to the gen-three beasts in Return of the King.
11/21/06 - Schmalenbach Self-running Magnetic Driver
(This information courtesy of Engineer/Inventor Peter Schmalenbach. Since its all in German, I ran the pdf patent description through the L&H translator with some 'parsing' for an idea of how his discovery functions. Be sure to check out the videos of the device in operation. It is reminiscent of the Norwegian Finsrud device but without the springs and pendulum weights. - JWD) The device rotates a steel ball through a complete orbit (360°) with the help of permanent magnets where the steel ball is driven across 16 magnet steps and is transported in a hollow-shaped path over the entire circle, without reducing its speed. In each case the ball through each magnet step is driven by opposite and attractive magnets, at the summit of the hollow, it is pulled up and afterwards through gravity the step again leaves. The ball after the abandonment of a step is put on the next step and over the nearest summit is transported. The path components consist of non-magnetic material (preferably aluminum), brass or plastic. With the help of a cutting laser - the exact attitude of the magnets in each step is made so that the ball constantly rolls on the orbit runs. To accomplish this, the qualities of all steps must be precisely the same. The ball moves through 2 ferrite block magnets the size 60 x 30 x 9 mm³, that were used in the construction of the appliance, one height difference of up to 5 cm to overcome the opposing force. The orbit of the model appliance consists of aluminum and has 16 hollows. The diameter of the orbit amounts to 23 cm, the ball diameter 24 mm. The ball experiences the diminishing of power from the magnetic field after the force at the summit, the magnets partially became the hollow top of easing with iron plates as well as cent coins covered, as in Fig. 3 and Fig. in 4. In the last hollow, the ball still possesses the same speed as at the start. The magnets can even be arranged in such a way that the speed of the ball will increase as it traverses the path. As evidence, the appliance was demonstrated in a working model for the Patent office.
11/21/06 - MU engineering students building a hydrogen-powered car
The Mizzou Hydrogen Car Team - which until this school year developed MU’s solar car, Suntiger VI - has been working on a street-legal hydrogen car. MU is only the second institution in the nation to do so, said team president Kenneth Keane. The other is the University of North Dakota. Most major automobile manufacturers are also developing vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Keane said the team made the switch from solar power because of hydrogen’s potential as a viable alternative energy source. Hydrogen carries energy, like a battery. When it reacts with oxygen to make water, the reaction produces energy. That energy is then harnessed to run automobile engines. What makes the process difficult is turning the water back into hydrogen and oxygen for re-use. The method to do so, called electrolysis, is simple enough, but because electrolysis requires energy to work, an outside source of energy is needed. Mechanical engineering students are in charge of putting the car together. They are using a variety of steel alloys to build the car’s suspension and chassis and a specialized foam to mold and finish the frame. “Right now, the mechanicals are all about design, design, design,” Keane said. Before a tool is touched, the “mechanicals,” or mechanical engineers, use several computer design programs to virtually assemble the car to ensure its practicality and efficiency. The electrical engineers program and wire the car’s circuitry, and connect the fuel cell and battery to the engine. Chemical engineers are responsible for the hydrogen and its use in the fuel cell. The team’s goal after completion is to run the car at an average of 60 mph for 10 hours on a single tank of hydrogen. Currently, the team has one hydrogen fuel cell, though it is now debating buying a second to make the car run more efficiently. The first cell, which the team bought themselves, cost about $8,000, and the team is looking for grants and donations to buy the second.
11/21/06 - Cotton as Protein for food
"The exciting finding is that we have been able to reduce gossypol -- which is a very toxic compound -- from cottonseed to a level that is considered safe for consumption," said Dr. Keerti Rathore, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station plant biotechnologist. "In terms of human nutrition, it has a lot of potential." The cottonseed from these plants meet World Health Organization and U.S. Food and Drug Administration standards for food consumption, he said, potentially making the seed a new, high-protein food available to 500 million people a year. Cotton fibers have been spun into fabric for more than 7,000 years. For most of that time, products from the fuzzy seed that is extracted in the fiber process have been edible only for cattle. They can tolerate gossypol only after digesting it through the four compartments of their stomachs. "Very few people realize that for every pound of cotton fiber, the plant produces 1.6 pounds of seed," Rathore pointed out. "The world produces 44 million metric tons of cottonseed each year. Cottonseed typically contains about 22 percent protein, and it's a very high-quality protein." In all, about 10 million metric tons of protein are contained in that amount of seed, he said. The food value of the cotton crop may be for countries "where there are small farmers who grow cotton, and if they could use the seed they could get much more value from it," Rathore noted. He believes food products ultimately could be developed from the cottonseed of these new plants.
11/21/06 - Solar Powered Parking Meters
The so called "Muni-Meters" caught my eye because on top of each is an angled solar panel. With over 2,000 machines throughout the city the main reason for choosing a renewable energy sources was cost. By virtue of having their own power source laying underground power mains was avoided close to halving the overall installation cost for the machines. The parking meters don't need direct sunlight. They are designed to operate with ambient light only recharging an internal Sealed Lead Acid battery capable of powering the meter completely. Designed from scratch with solar power in mind, many of the efficient and durable internal components were specifically designed for the meters. Parkeon, the company that manufactures the meters was awarded ISO 9001 certification in 1994. With approximately 110,000 parking spaces, New York City is the largest operator of street parking facilities in the US. The city pioneered the use of pay and display in the Country, having first installed such machines over 12 years ago. Currently the city is evaluating credit card payments in 200 machines in Manhattan's theater district.
11/21/06 - Alarm over China's arms pursuit - in space
New alarms are sounding over signs that China may be developing space weapons, reinforcing suspicions that the People's Liberation Army is increasingly interested in the final frontier as a theater of war. Concerns about China's intentions rose in September, with a report that China in recent years has tested a ground-based laser against US reconnaissance satellites. The presumed aim: to be able to blind them, temporarily or permanently. The report, published in Defense News, suggested that the Bush administration has been mum on the issue because it needs China's help in dealing with North Korea's nuclear-weapons program. China's moves may be motivated in large part by US capabilities and policies. US military successes in the first Iraq war, the Balkans, and the early stage of the current war in Iraq were not lost on Chinese military planners, who noted the key role of US spy and navigation satellites in planning and precision bombing. If China ever confronted the US military, they saw, it would need a way to offset the Pentagon's high-tech advantage on orbit. During the cold war, he notes, the US and the Soviet Union agreed to keep hands off each other's reconnaissance and early-warning satellites - even as they researched antisatellite weapons. That's still the practice, he says. The Chinese have approached the State Department on this issue, with no success so far, he adds.
11/21/06 - Oxygen therapy helps stay young, healthy and fights hangover
All cells of the human body need an uninterrupted supply of oxygen. But it turns out that our organisms get not really enough oxygen for their good activity because of the modern ecology, stresses, bad nutrition and smoking. As a result, metabolic processes in the organism are deranged; people suffer from premature ageing inside and outside and stand higher risks of cardiovascular diseases. To avert the troubles, we need to compensate for a deficiency in oxygen on time. It is recommended to have 10-15 minutes of oxygen therapy a day. Doctors say there are no contraindications to the procedure, however longer procedures may entail oxygen poisoning. It will reveal itself in extreme fatigue, heaviness of body, weakness and drowse. Doctors say that together with oxygen cocktails the human blood and tissues get ten times more oxygen than the organism usually gets through inhaling. An oxygen cocktail is soft thick foam made of glairs or other foaming substances. It helps normalize gut organisms; improves toxin excretion and metabolism. Thanks to the volume of its foam oxygen cocktails bring down hunger and also activate fat burning. It is believed that people stay thin longer if they loose flesh thanks to oxygen cocktails and never put on weight again. Dermatological researches conducted within the several past years state that ageing is connected with a considerable reduction in the amount of oxygen in skin cells. As a result, metabolic processes in cells are getting slower; skin cells get less active, weak and old. To solve the problem cosmetics enriched with oxygen was invented. When applied regularly, oxygen cosmetics forwards production of collagen and elastane that support the youth of skin; it also accelerates healing of wounds, helps fight inflammatory processes and allergy on skin thanks to acceleration of metabolic processes.
11/21/06 - Low Brain Oxygen Ups Alzheimer's Risk
The researchers kept some mice in cages with low-oxygen air for 16 hours a day for a month. They kept the other mice in cages with normal oxygen levels. In humans, conditions such as strokestroke that hamper blood flow in the brain can limit the brain's oxygen supply. After the month, the researchers tested both sets of mice on a memory test in which they were timed while swimming through a water maze to reach a hidden platform. The mice that had lived in low oxygen performed worse. Those mice also had more amyloid beta plaque -- a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease -- in their brains, compared to the mice with normal brain oxygen levels.
11/21/06 - Mexico raises gasoline prices to pay for ultra-low sulfur fuels
The introduction of ultra-low sulfur Premium gasoline will cost state oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, an additional $195 million a year, and the ultra-low diesel fuel will cost an additional $258 million a year. Pemex began distributing the new clean fuels last month, and said it plans to invest $3 billion over three years as it extends the sales to the entire country. To cover the cost, service stations will charge an extra 29 centavos a liter plus tax for Premium gasoline, and 16 centavos a liter more for diesel. The increases will put Premium gasoline up to 8.25 pesos a liter (about US$2.90 a gallon) at the pump, and diesel to 5.68 pesos (US$.50 a liter.
11/21/06 - The Draft as a Deterrent for War
Charles Rangel, a New York congressmen, plans to introduce a bill for reinstating the draft. It is not yet clear what Rangel's proposed requirements are for drafting eligibility. Historically speaking, between 1948 and 1973 the draft called upon able-bodied males aging 18 through 26, including both citizens and non-citizens, that were registered with the Selective Service. Speaking Sunday, Rangel says, "There's no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm's way."
11/21/06 - Making better Self-Portraits
(This is interesting because you see yourself as in a mirror, your friends see the opposite. - JWD) Have you ever noticed that you're terrible at choosing good pictures of yourself? Or that friends like pictures of you that you don't find particularly flattering? This is because most of us don't have a perfectly symmetrical face, and we tend to like pictures of us that more closely resemble what we see in the mirror. If you want to post a picture of yourself that is more likely to appeal to those who know you, use some image manipulating software to flip your images horizontally and make a selection from there ... then you won't be bothered by the fact that your image doesn't resemble what you see in the mirror.
11/21/06 - The Real Star Wars (2005 article)
Since George W. Bush took office in 2001, the military-industrial complex has greatly intensified its longstanding drive to fundamentally change U.S. policy to permit the aggressive weaponization of space. In January that year, a commission headed by soon-to-be Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recommended that the military “should ensure that the president will have the option to deploy weapons in space.” In 2002, Bush cleared the way for this by unilaterally destroying the Anti- Ballistic Missile treaty which for 30 years was the bedrock barring an arms race in space. Among items on the drawing boards: • a military space plane bristling with precision-guided arms that could strike in 45 minutes from halfway around the world. • a program nicknamed “Rods from God” that could fling cylinders of tungsten, titanium or uranium to strike targets on the ground with the force of a small nuclear weapon. • a system of space-based mirrors to focus laser beams on ground targets. But whether or not any of the weapons would work, these programs will be catastrophic. At the very least, they are further boondoggles for the giant corporations in the far-right section of the U.S. ruling class that backs the Bush administration. They will move new trillions of dollars from human needs to feed already obscene military-industrial-complex profits. And should the proposed space weapons actually work, the consequences promise to make even the most gruesome science-fiction spectacle look like child’s play.
11/21/06 - I don't need to explain! - George W. Bush
"I'm the commander - see, I don't need to explain - I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being president." / "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." / "I believe God wants me to be president." / [I was] "chosen by the grace of God to lead at that moment." / "God told me to strike at al-Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East." / "I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn't do my job." / "See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda." / “Governments accountable to the voters focus on building roads and schools-not weapons of mass destruction.” (N.B.: The U.S. has 10,000 nuclear weapons) / "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator." / "I'm the decider, and I decide what's best." / “I don’t have the foggiest idea about what I think about international, foreign policy.” / "Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties [in Iraq]."
11/21/06 - Turning Kitchen Grease into Biogas
More than 3,000 gallons of restaurant grease -- the kind washed from grills and pans -- will be delivered to the plant each day by grease-hauling companies, which otherwise would pay a city fee for its disposal. Microorganisms in the plant's digester tanks eat the grease and other organic matter, naturally producing methane gas to fuel the plant's new 250-kilowatt microturbine cogenerator to produce electricity for wastewater treatment. Meanwhile, excess heat produced by the cogenerator warms the digester tanks to their optimum temperature for methane production. The grease and other organic matter will produce enough biogas at the plant to generate about 1.7 million kilowatt hours annually, which will meet 80 percent of the plant's power needs and reduce its electricity purchases significantly. Restaurants produce an average of 14 pounds of inedible grease per capita annually -- a total of nearly 4.2 billion pounds each year in the United States alone. Much of this grease is disposed of in landfills, where it releases methane -- a potent greenhouse gas -- as it decomposes, sometimes directly to the atmosphere. The total cost of the project, $5.5 million, was reduced by about $200,000 with a rebate awarded through the state of California's Self-Generation Incentive Program administered by Pacific Gas and Electric Company. The net amount, along with maintenance costs, is being funded entirely by savings from the new system and, therefore, will have no effect on the city's wastewater treatment rates.
11/21/06 - Dems Plan End To Oil Company Tax Breaks
(Excellent and way overdue! - JWD) House Democrats want to repeal oil company tax breaks worth an estimated $6.4 billion over 10 years. But hot-button issues such as a tax on the oil industry's windfall profits or sharp increases in automobile fuel economy are not expected to gain much ground given the narrow Democratic majorities in the House and Senate. For the most part, the tax benefits due for quick review are ones that lawmakers talked of repealing this year when summer fuel prices soared and oil companies took huge profits.
11/21/06 - Behavior May Influence Evolution
"Pending your beliefs about evolution, National Geographic is running an interesting article on the influences of behavior on evolution. The study supports the controversial idea that an animal's behavior in response to environmental change can spur evolutionary adaptations. By adding a predator to an island where a species of lizards lived with no predators, they witnessed a quick shift in the average length of legs on the lizards. Long legs meant to escape were useless against the new larger predators while short legs became the dominant feature since they increased climbing ability (to trees the predators could not reach). For the finer details on the research, visit the Losos Lab Research Page."
11/20/06 - Self-Running Generator powered by Static Electricity
(I could not find the patent that the article claims is pending. Inverter input can be from as low as 6VDC up to 120VDC which would be used to produce 120VAC or so which would determine if the 10 volt coils are in parallel or series. Don't rag on me for the diagram, I have no idea of the true schematic, this is just a rough idea of the layout with the coils incorrectly wired. Will know more in future. - JWD) Walter Owens thinks he has invented the machine that will "change the nation." Known about town as a "tinker," the Florala resident has spent the last 18 years working on the concept of creating a device that would solve the nation's, if not the world's, dependency on crude oil. His idea: a patent-pending prototype for a generator fueled by static electricity. "It works this way," he said. "Static electricity is all around us, everyday. If you stick your hand in Styrofoam peanuts and pull it out, they stick. That's static electricity. My machine draws the static electricity from the air, as well as producing more. That charge then goes into a coil system that magnifies the charge and converts it into D/C power. "That power then comes out of 12 different wires with enough amps to make electricity flow," he said. A power converter is used to change the electricity converted from D/C power to A/C power for use in everyday needs, he said. Operating on four car batteries, the machine works by using start-up energy from the batteries to drive a D/C motor that turns a flywheel. That magnetic flywheel runs through a system where 300 feet of 10-gauge copper wires, enclosed in sheepskin, pushes the electricity into 12 coils, with each coil producing somewhere around 10 volts of electricity. "This thing will build enough electrical power to operate an automobile," he said. "It needs no gas, no oil. This one unit is more than enough to run a house." He demonstrated his concept, by showing how his invention puts out enough power to run an outboard motor and corded work light. Owens, an accomplished inventor, holds 27 patents for items such as farm equipment, a boat, a commode system and a newspaper rack. "Look at all of our men and women who have lost their lives over the battle for oil," he said. "What if we could stop our dependency on gas, oil? We could bring our guys home and go a long way in stopping pollution. I knew it would be difficult, but I had to try. This could be the turning point for our world." Currently, Owens has completed a prototype and is looking for someone to take his invention into the marketplace. "This thing is much bigger than me," he said. "It's going to take someone much younger than me to get this thing out in the forefront where it needs to be. I'm looking for someone to do that."
11/20/06 - Standalone BioDiesler - 50 gallons every 3-4 days
Barbour's invention, the BioDiesler, is a stand-alone batch processor that can produce 50 gallons of quality biodiesel every three to four days. The goal of the recent hands-on biodiesel workshop at the Alcoa Intalco aluminum plant was to demonstrate the benefits of producing and using biodiesel in reducing both the cost and risk of fuel inputs. The good news in all of this is that the main ingredient for this type of home-brewed batch of biodiesel - grease from restaurants - is free. And even though a lot of people are already out there collecting restaurant grease to make their own biodiesel, there's still more than enough to go around. Using a blend of grease from various restaurants in the area, he started making a mini-batch of biodiesel. Obviously enjoying the task at hand, he smiled and told his audience, "This is kind of cool." Knowing how to make biodiesel involves some basic science. For example, because oil is acidic - and used oil even more so - it's necessary to determine how acidic each batch is. That involves adding the right amount of lye to the batch to bring the pH to 8.5. It also involves some math, but not any that could be equated to a root canal. Adding methanol, and then later extracting it, is part of the process. The lye-methanol mixture allows the glycerin in the oil to settle out. Several hours later, the group went outside to watch Barbour finish up a larger batch he had started earlier. As a starter, he let the glycerin that had settled to the bottom of the tank pour out into a bucket. He also demonstrated how he recovers the methanol that was used in making the biodiesel. Both glycerin and methanol can sold as byproducts. Once finished, biodiesel made according to Barbour's instructions meets the specifications of ASTM fuel. How good is it? "You can drink it," Barbour said, obviously happy to share that piece of information with the group. The cost of the ingredients used to produce a 20-gallon batch of quality biodiesel - methanol (wood ethanol) and lye - ranges from about 45 to 60 cents per gallon. The cost of an already-built ready-to-go set-up that includes a methane recovery system ranges from $13,500 to $15,000.
11/20/06 - Coolest Place in the World to Work
AMONG the most popular posts on Digg.com this week was one headlined “Coolest Place in the World to Work.” It linked to pictures taken inside Inventionland, a warehouse in Pittsburgh owned by an outfit that promotes inventors’ products. It’s an unusual workspace, combining stylish futurism with cloying, theme park imagery. There are waterfalls, castles and a giant walk-in cupcake. A Digg member discovered that they were just part of a series of posts by someone promoting Davison Design and Development, which operates Inventionland. Such “spamming” is a big no-no on Digg, and usually results in items being “buried” by the collective action of users. The Diggers did some digging, and quickly learned that the Federal Trade Commission recently won a deceptive-practices lawsuit against the company. An employee wrote that each office at Inventionland has “an Xbox, PlayStation, (soon Wii) not to mention a moat surrounding it. George Davison spent $$$$$ to create a ‘Wonkaland’ for his employees.” According to an article in Forbes this week (forbes.com), the company charges as much as $12,000 to help develop and market an invention. The company takes a share of royalties, if any. Davison reported $2 million in revenue last year. Of the 37,000 inventors who have signed contracts with the company in the last five years, eight have earned royalties surpassing the fees they paid to Davison. “Only 0.001 percent of Davison’s revenue was derived from royalties paid on licensed products,” according to Forbes. In March, a federal judge, ruling on the F.T.C.’s 1997 lawsuit, ordered the company to repay $26 million to inventors. The company appealed and Mr. Davison told Forbes that a settlement might be in the works.
11/20/06 - The Green Engine of the Future
Big cars may never win favour with the cycling fraternity, but in the future, they won't necessarily be towing the planet to its doom. While many SUVs today emit around 300g of CO2 per kilometre, in two decades' time they could be producing as little as 5g, and that only because traces of lubricants inevitably seep into the cylinders. Instead of pumping out greenhouse gases, the exhausts of these vehicles will drip almost pure water. At least, that's what BMW is betting. The company will produce the world's first batch of 100 hydrogen-burning cars next year. BMW's dual-fuel Hydrogen 7 is based on the company's 760 model. The engine block is the same - with the familiar four-stroke cycle of suck, squeeze, bang and blow - though the cylinder head has been re-engineered and additional plumbing installed to draw the hydrogen from an insulated tank, where it is stored as a liquid at -253C. Using hydrogen as a fuel is not a new idea; it burns 10 times faster than petrol (think of the Hindenburg) and powers the main engines of America's space shuttles. Importantly, it can be extracted from water with electricity produced by solar, wind, wave, tide, geothermal or nuclear generators. The leading rival to BMW's hydrogen engine in the long run is likely to be the fuel cell. This also uses hydrogen, but in a different way - more like a battery than an engine. Already, London has a fleet of three fuel-cell-powered Daimler Chrysler buses on the RV1 route between Covent Garden and Tower Gateway. And in Hawaii, Hyundai has been testing a battery-powered car with a technology called fast-recharge, which can "refuel" in less than 30 minutes, down from six to eight hours.
11/20/06 - Handheld Probe to Predict Wound Infection
The device can predict, as little as 12 hours after surgery, whether a wound is likely to become infected. The results could help doctors and nurses act quickly to prevent infections in the most vulnerable patients. Some patients have a far higher risk of developing an infection. This is because not enough oxygen-rich blood is reaching their wound. This not only slows down healing, offering more time for an infection to take hold, but the lack of oxygen also hampers the body's immune system as it tackles harmful bacteria. The new approach works on a simple principle - blood cells carrying oxygen are bright red, while blood cells which have no oxygen are purple in colour. The Durham team used a handheld device which bounces infra-red light into the skin around the wound. The signal that reflects back is different depending on the colour of blood cells in the wound. The study looked at 59 patients recovering from abdominal surgery, who were scanned at 12, 24 and 48 hours after their operation, then examined a week later to check for signs of infection. In all, 17 patients developed an infection in their wound, and scans from these patients had suggested significantly lower levels of oxygen in the tissue surrounding the wound.
11/20/06 - Scrap tires can be used to filter wastewater
Every year, the United State produces millions of scrap tires that clog landfills and become breeding areas for pests. Finding adequate uses for castoff tires is a continuing challenge and illegal dumping has become a serious problem throughout the nation. Dr. Yuefeng Xie, associate professor of environmental engineering at Penn State Harrisburg, has developed a method that uses crumb rubber to filter wastewater, which can help ease the tire problem and clean up the environment at the same time.
11/20/06 - The business card and the garden smuggler
The Dirt introduces us to this business card slash micro-terrain by Tur & Partner, landscape architects. It's a portable garden: impregnated with seeds, in the photosynthetic presence of sunlight and water, the paper eventually sprouts. Which, in turn, makes me wonder if you could use this exact same method to smuggle rare plants out of totalitarian regimes intent on crushing botany within their borders... whether or not such regimes actually exist. Or future trans-botanical geneticists, fleeing persecution, will hide their greatest seeds inside the pages of fake landscape guides, woven into the actual paper; they then bury their libraries in the soil of distant hillsides, and cloned roses and hybrid flowers soon grow.
11/20/06 - Israel's Newest Weapon - 'Bionic Hornet'
Israel is using nanotechnology to try to create a robot no bigger than a hornet that would be able to chase, photograph and kill its targets, an Israeli newspaper reported on Friday. The flying robot, nicknamed the "bionic hornet", would be able to navigate its way down narrow alleyways to target otherwise unreachable enemies such as rocket launchers, the daily Yedioth Ahronoth said. "The war in Lebanon proved that we need smaller weaponry. It's illogical to send a plane worth $100 million (53 million pounds) against a suicidal terrorist. So we are building futuristic weapons," Peres said.
11/20/06 - Sand dams: low-tech weapons against climate change
Sand dams and raised water pumps that dig deeper into the ground were just a couple of the low-tech ways of dealing with the consequences of climate change presented in Nairobi, Kenya recently. Sand dams, which are in fact made of concrete, are low walls placed across small rivers that cease to flow in the dry season. During the first two wet seasons of their existence, the space behind them fills up with sand, dragged down from the banks by erosion. The sand retains 40% of its volume in water, protecting that water from evaporation. Wells are then dug into it, supplying local villagers during the subsequent dry season. Aerts says there are now about 500 such dams in Kitui. For an initial one-off cost of $35 per person - supplied in materials and engineering support by the NGO Sasol - they keep locals supplied with drinking water year after year. The idea of the dams goes back more than 2000 years, to the Babylonian era, Aerts explains. It was later picked up by the English who built sand dams in India and Kenya. In other initiatives, they build water hand-pumps on raised platforms, designed to resist local flooding. In Andhra Pradesh, which suffers from both floods and drought, the raised pumps also reach deeper into the ground so they do not run out during the dry months. Cabot Venton says the Bihar government recently installed 30 low-lying hand pumps that were rendered useless at the first floods. By investing a little more money at the start and building higher pumps, the wells would have lasted longer. The cost to recover and repair the damaged pumps led to a government outlay three times greater than it would have cost to build the wells properly in the first place, she says.
11/20/06 - Nanotube secrets of Damascus steel Blade
For hundreds of years, some of the keenest minds searched in vain for the secret of how blacksmiths in the ancient Middle East fashioned a tough and flexible metal known as Damascus steel. The metal was highly prized for its extraordinary mechanical properties and an exceptionally sharp edge, and may have helped Islamic armies repel European crusaders with inferior weapons. The search for the secret of the shimmering alloy may now be nearing an end, thanks to a study that reveals that the blacksmiths unwittingly managed to create "nanotubes" of carbon, structures at levels of a billionth of a metre. Sir Walter Scott's fictional tale of the Crusades described the Islamic army's swords as being "of a dull blue colour, marked with ten millions of meandering lines.". "To get the pattern, they made grooves into the blade and forged it to remove the steps. This was repeated many times," said Prof Paufler. Damascus blades are thought to have been forged from small cakes of steel known as "wootz", probably produced in India. A sophisticated treatment was then applied to the steel, but details of this were lost in the 18th century.
11/20/06 - Effort Underway to Improve Short Attention Spans of Americans
A federally-funded effort to counteract what some medical professionals have termed the "epidemic-level shortness in the attention spans of American citizens" has been launched with the backing of the Congressional Task Force for Making People Pay Attention. The effort (to counteract short attention spans) is being launched in response to a recent study that determined that Americans, compared both to other nations and to themselves just a few days and weeks earlier, suffer from dramatically short attention spans. The ailment (dramatically short attention spans) has been identified as a leading cause of recent declines in technological, literary, political and social progress and may, some studies suggest, prove detrimental to the long-term health of the American economy and the well-being of its (America's) citizenry.
11/20/06 - First Research Confirms That Eating Slowly Inhibits Appetite
For more than 30 years, dieters have been told to eat slowly to reduce their intake of food. But until now, there has been no scientific evidence to support the theory. “It started in about 1972 as a hypothesis that eating slowly would allow the body time for the development of satiety [fullness] and we would eat less,” said Kathleen Melanson, assistant professor of nutrition and food science at the University of Rhode Island. “Since then we’ve heard it everywhere and it has become common knowledge. But no studies had been conducted to prove it.” In the study, 30 women made two visits to Melanson’s lab, and each time they were given a large plate of pasta and told to eat as much as they wanted. When they were told to eat quickly, they consumed 646 calories in nine minutes, but when they were encouraged to pause between bites and chew each mouthful 15 to 20 times, they ate just 579 calories in 29 minutes. Satiety signals clearly need time to develop,” Melanson concluded. “Not only did the women take in fewer calories when they ate more slowly, they had a greater feeling of satiety at meal completion and 60 minutes afterwards, which strongly suggests benefits to eating more slowly.” The women also judged themselves as having enjoyed the meal more when they ate slowly than when they ate quickly, Melanson added. One potentially confounding factor in the study was that the volunteers were provided water to drink with their meal, and when eating slowly they had considerably more time to drink before completing their meal. The greater consumption of water might have contributed to satiety under the slow condition.
11/19/06 - the Dolphin Boat
The dolphin-inspired boat designed by New Zealander Rob Innes has been named by Time magazine as one of the world's best new inventions. Mr Innes says he put years of time and money into Sea Breacher, a two-seater boat that can dive, jump and play like a dolphin. The invention made one of eight spots in the transport category on the 2006 Time magazine best invention list.The Sea Breacher can travel at 48km/h , powered by a 175hp engine. It is a newer version of their original one-seater dolphin-shaped boat, Sweet Virgin Angel, which was built in 2001. There are no plans to produce the $105,000 craft for the mass-market yet; the company prefers to keep them for exhibitions and racing.
11/19/06 - Laser detects Influenza, HIV and RSV in 60 seconds or less
The technique, called surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS), works by measuring the change in frequency of a near-infrared laser as it scatters off viral DNA or RNA. This change in frequency, named the Raman shift for the scientist who discovered it in 1928, is as distinct as a fingerprint. This phenomenon is well known, but Tripp explained that previous attempts to use Raman spectroscopy to diagnose viruses failed because the signal produced is inherently weak. But UGA physics professor Yiping Zhao and UGA chemistry professor Richard Dluhy experimented with several different metals and methods and found a way to significantly amplify the signal. Using a method they’ve patented, they place rows of silver nanorods 10,000 times finer than the width of a human hair on the glass slides that hold the sample. And, like someone positioning a TV antenna to get the best reception, they tried several angles until they found that the signal is best amplified when the nanorods are arranged at an 86-degree angle. “The enhancement factors are extraordinary,” Dluhy said. “And the nice thing about this fabrication methodology is that it’s very easy to implement, it’s very cheap and it’s very reproducible.” The researchers have shown that the technique works with viruses isolated from infected cells grown in a lab, and the next step is to study its use in biological samples such as blood, feces or nasal swabs. Tripp said preliminary results are so promising that the researchers are currently working to create an online encyclopedia of Raman shift values. With that information, a technician could readily reference a Raman shift for a particular virus to identify an unknown virus. Presently, viruses are first diagnosed with methods that detect the antibodies a person produces in response to an infection. Tripp explained that these tests are prone to false positives because a person can still have antibodies in their system from a related infection decades ago. The tests are also prone to false negatives because some people don’t produce high levels of antibodies. Because of these limitations, antibody based tests often must be confirmed with a test known as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which detects the virus itself by copying it many times. The test can take anywhere from several days to two weeks.
11/19/06 - Regenerating Organs Closer to Reality
Chop off a salamander's leg and a brand new one will sprout in no time. But most animals have lost the ability to replace missing limbs. Now, a research team at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies has been able to regenerate a wing in a chick embryo -- a species not known to be able to regrow limbs -- suggesting that the potential for such regeneration exists innately in all vertebrates, including humans. "In this simple experiment, we removed part of the chick embryo's wing, activated Wnt signaling, and got the whole limb back - a beautiful and perfect wing," said the lead author, Juan Carlos Izpis?a Belmonte, Ph.D., a professor in the Gene Expression Laboratory. "By changing the expression of a few genes, you can change the ability of a vertebrate to regenerate their limbs, rebuilding blood vessels, bone, muscles, and skin - everything that is needed." This new discovery "opens up an entirely new area of research," Belmonte says. "Even though certain animals have lost their ability to regenerate limbs during evolution, conserved genetic machinery may still be present, and can be put to work again," he said. The procedure was tricky, however. Belmonte noted that if Wnt signaling is activated for too long of a period in these animals, cancer results. "This has to be done in a controlled way, with just a few cells for a specific amount of time," he says. "The fact is that this pathway is involved in cell proliferation, whether it is to generate or regenerate limbs, control stem cells, or produce cancer."
11/19/06 - China admits harvesting organs from executed prisoners
After years of denial, China has acknowledged that many of the human organs used in transplants here are taken from executed prisoners and that many of the recipients are foreigners who pay hefty sums to avoid a long wait. "Apart from a small portion of traffic victims, most of the organs from cadavers are from executed prisoners," said Huang, reported the English-language China Daily newspaper Thursday. "The current organ donation shortfall can't meet demand." While China doesn't disclose the number of people executed each year, Amnesty International reports that at least 1,770 people were put to death in 2005, based on Chinese media reports. Some activists say it could be as many as 10,000. Even the lower estimate represents more than 80 percent of the 2,148 executions reported to have taken place worldwide last year. The United States executed 60 prisoners. In July, China ruled that all sales of organs were illegal. But enforcing such decrees can be a problem here, especially when there are such profits. In September 2004, local media reported that well-known comedian Fu Biao spent more than $36,000 on a liver taken from an executed prisoner in Shandong Province. And starting in June 2005, reports surfaced on the Internet of retinas and kidneys taken from executed former gang members in Henan province near Beijing.
11/19/06 - Nimble New Robot is Safe Around Humans
Industrial robots often tower over their masters and move at breakneck speeds, which is why factories surround them with cages to keep workers away. When factory robots do get tangled up, built-in sensors help them disengage automatically. This keeps tightly sprung robots from abruptly unwinding on workers trying to free them. Katana has a 20-inch reach, weighs only 6 to 9 pounds, and can fit inside most high school backpacks. It struggles to lift more than 1 pound. A child could grasp its small grippers and arm wrestle it to the table. Like more powerful industrial robots, Katana uses several small motors for six-axis motion (up-down, left-right, and diagonally back-and-forth). But unlike larger robots, which need massive power supplies, it uses a laptop computer-style power supply that plugs into a wall socket. Slow and weak does not mean incapable. Katana is designed for precision work. With one conductivity, four force, and nine infrared sensors, its gripper is sensitive enough to place objects with 1/250th of an inch accuracy. An optional video camera also lets it recognize shapes. According to Neuronics, people are using Katana to slide samples under a microscope faster and more precisely than any human ever could. "The robot can move and position the slide faster and better than the inspector," Klecka said. Katana has also been used to place and remove pressure sensors for ultrasonic welding, remove parts from molds, position inspection cameras, and shuttle test tubes in laboratories. Best of all, Katana does not take a robot expert to set up and operate. Users can move the robot arm where they want it to go manually, and then improve their rough positioning using control software. The robot comes with neuronal software that actually learns on the job and gradually improves Katana's ability to make decisions. The cost? About $25,000 including robot, gripper, and software. Yet as Klecka notes, you won't have to spend a dime building a fence to keep workers away.
11/19/06 - Should Google Go Nuclear?
"One of the founders of the US Tokamak fusion program, Dr. Robert W. Bussard, gave a lecture at Google recently now appearing as a Google video titled 'Should Google Go Nuclear?'. In it, he presents his recent breakthrough electrostatic confinement fusion device which, he claims, produced several orders of magnitude higher fusion power than earlier electrostatic confinement devices. According to Bussard, it did so repeatably during several runs until it blew up due to mechanical stress degradation. He's looking for $200M funding, the first million or so of which goes to rebuilding a more robust demonstrator within the first year. He claims the scaling laws are so favorable that the initial full scale reactor would burn boron-11 - the cleanest fusion reaction otherwise unattainable. He has some fairly disturbing things to say in this video, as well as elsewhere, about the US fusion program which he co-founded."
11/19/06 - Make a DVD Burner into a High-Powered Laser
The laser pictured has a peak output measured at 225 mW (average output 200 mW). It's a visible red at about 650nm. It can light matches, pop balloons, cut electrical tape, and so forth. It can do pretty much anything a Pulsar 150 from Wicked Lasers can do, because it's basically the same thing. The only differences? This laser was home-made, and cost about 1/3 the price. DVD-RW drives are quite common today. The faster ones require a high-powered laser in order to generate enough power, fast enough, to do the job. I suppose it's the luck of the draw what exact diode they use, how it's powered, etc etc. This is where I got lucky. This is the DVD drive I bought for $39.99 (Canadian), for the express purpose of tearing it apart for a laser diode. I reckoned that the DVD diode's case was ground. That meant one of the other two pins was the +vdc. Knowing that most laser pointers ran on 3v (two AAA batteries) I got a 3vdc supply and - aiming the diode emitter window away from me - I hooked (-) to the heat sink and touched (+) to one of the leads. Presto! A huge flood of monochromatic red light all over my desk. So, I had a visible red laser diode! How powerful was it? The best I could do was hold it a mm or two from some thin black plastic and fire it up. It melted through the plastic in a few seconds. Yep, it was strong!
11/19/06 - Hitachi and General Electric to launch nuclear power venture
The two companies have signed a letter of intent for a joint strategic tie up on advanced boiling water reactors and plan to hold a news conference later Monday to announce details, the company said. Hitachi will own 80 percent of the Japan-based venture, compared with 20 percent by GE. Hitachi will hold 40 percent in the U.S.-based business, while GE has 60 percent, the company said. Hitachi forecasts that about 100 nuclear power plants are planned to be built globally over the next 20 years, the AP says.
11/19/06 - Why MegaPixels don't Matter
Camera vendors and consumer electronics retailers sell digital cameras as if the pixel count -- the number of pixels a camera's electronics can capture -- is the most important measure of quality. I'm here to tell you that pixel count has become unimportant almost to the point of irrelevance. Megapixels don't matter anymore. Each amateur photographer has a pixel count "sweet spot" that best suits his photography style and abilities. For most people, that's somewhere in the 4-to-6-megapixel range. Above that, however, increasing the number of pixels generally reduces the quality of pictures. That's right. I said it. More megapixels are bad. HERE'S WHY (link goes to my current Computerworld column).
11/19/06 - Listening to Radio from the TV adds to C02 emissions
Digital broadcasting is increasing the threat of global warming by pumping massive amounts of extra carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, official figures suggest. The millions of Britons who listen to the radio through their power-hungry digital televisions and computers together release an extra 190,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. Figures from the industry body Rajar show that 22% of people in Britain now listen to the radio through their digital televisions at least once a week. About 12% listen to stations through their computer. Computers and TVs consume significantly more electricity than radios. Assuming a power rating of 200W for a TV and 250W for a computer, if one in five of the population listens to the radio via those devices for two hours a week, they will produce about 210,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. A 20W radio turned on for two hours a week by the same number of people would produce about 18,000 tonnes a year; digital and traditional radios use roughly the same amount of power. Keith Marsh, of the Energy Saving Trust, said the new LCD and plasma-screen TVs were rated at up to 390W. The extra emissions from digital listening account for almost a fifth of the estimated 1m tonnes a year that could be saved by replacing every traditional lightbulb in Britain with a low-energy version.
11/19/06 - One Down; Two to Go
The tide is slowly turning in America. Things that seemed completely immutable just days before the Nov. 7 (2006) elections are no more so, as more and more people open their eyes to the grim reality. Even days ago, 'the Decider' professed not to have to listen to anybody and that he was not going to part with his Secretary of Defense. Now, the sovereign people have reminded him and everybody else who is the final decider in a democracy. Donald Rumsfeld was the third wheel in a disaster-prone triumvirate that included George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. A vast majority of people outside the United States consider the current American president to be a dangerous man. Indeed, poll after poll show that people around the world think George W. Bush has made the world a more dangerous place. Exit polls during the 2006 mid-term elections, for example, indicated that 60 percent of voting Americans opposed the war. And, what is more, the body in charge of voting war budgets, the U.S. House of Representatives, has swung solidly into the hands of the Democratic Party, Similarly, the U.S. Senate, which has to approve important political nominations, will also be under control of the Democratic Party. From now on, there is less chance that the President's undemocratic and imperial wars abroad will be automatically rubber-stamped by the new Congress.
11/19/06 - Man Used MP3 Player To Hack Cash Machines
(Pretty clever! - JWD) "A man in Manchester, England has been convicted of using an MP3 player to hack cash machines. The MP3 player was plugged into the back of free standing cash machines in bars. Tones being recorded from the phone line were decoded with special software to a readable format. Later this information was used to clone credit cards."
11/18/06 - New Technology Harnesses Ocean Energy from Florida's Gulf Stream
Florida Atlantic University has been selected by the Florida Technology, Research and Scholarship Board to receive $5 million to establish The Florida Center of Excellence in Ocean Energy Technology. Ranked in second place, FAU is among six Florida universities that have been selected out of 32 proposals submitted to the Board. “Our Florida Center of Excellence in Ocean Energy Technology will be a synergistic partnership utilizing our combined ocean engineering expertise to foster the research, design, development, implementation, testing and commercialization of cutting-edge ocean energies that are cost-competitive with existing power technologies such as fossil-fuel-based power generation,” said Dr. Rick Driscoll, associate professor in FAU’s department of ocean engineering and co-principal technical personnel for the project. “This new industry will provide a clean, reliable, and renewable source of energy that can be used to generate electricity, unlimited hydrogen and potable water, as well as provide alternative methods for residential cooling or A/C.” Driscoll will co-lead the project with Dr. Manhar Dhanak, professor and chair of the department of ocean engineering at FAU and co-principal technical personnel for the project. “To harness ocean energy for power is a laudable goal for any ocean engineer,” said Dhanak. “This is a really exciting opportunity for our department.”
11/18/06 - FOREIGN EXCHANGE: How to steal a billion
One would have thought that the recent announcement by China to become the biggest exporter of roses would have been greeted with some celebration. After all they have been cultivating roses for the last 3000 years. Yet, their press release led to an outcry by the Western Flower Businesses who objected to China not paying royalty for “internationally registered varieties of flowers”. Folks, I have never laughed so much. Look at the cheek of these flower businesses! They are demanding royalties! Perhaps we should remind them of a few facts of history, even though they insist on denying them. Actually it is the Western Flower Corporates who should be paying royalties to the Chinese. Furthermore they need to backdate their dues and account for the last 200 years. The mother or genus of what they call the modern European rose is none other than the Chinese rose which, through rather dubious means, was whisked away from its homeland and brought to Europe via Bengal (hence its two names: China Rose and the Bengal Rose). But why only the rose? There are other backdated payments due to China that extend to paper, the printing press, ceramics, porcelain, glazes, the compass, tea which was stolen, silk which was also stolen and, most importantly, gunpowder. The renowned Scottish scientist, Joseph Needham, Fellow of Britain’s Royal Academy, wrote a seven volume encyclopaedia on early Chinese science and inventions so we know that a good deal of Western science was of Chinese origin. The list of inventions is so extensive that Western societies would be bankrupted settling their dues to China. Then there are other accounts to settle. They need to pay us for their unabashed use of our numerals and our ‘zero’. Imagine how rich we would be if every time ‘zero’ was used, royalties were due! Then they would have to pay royalties on cardamoms, pepper and spice products, on cottons and sugarcane. The entire world would have to pay South America for the maize, tomatoes, chillies, potatoes, tobacco and chocolate products. Coffee royalties would be payable to Yemen, not to speak of many other scientific discoveries of the East without which there would be no European science today.
11/18/06 - Mysterious force's long presence
Dark energy makes up about 70% of the Universe; the rest is dark matter (25%) and normal matter (5%). In 1998, astronomers used observations of supernovae from ground-based telescopes and Hubble to show that the expansion of space was accelerating. These findings suggested there really was a repulsive form of gravity in space, a force that was shortly dubbed "dark energy". There have been many attempts to explain the nature of dark energy. One of these is that it behaves like the cosmological constant. Another is that dark energy behaves like a field that changes over time. The third proposes changes to our theories of gravity to explain the mysterious force. There was a time when you - ordinary matter - were winning. The Universe was decelerating. Now, we have shown that, even at that time, the thing on the other end of the rope was beginning to pull.
11/18/06 - Maxwell: New Capacitor Module for Vehicles
Maxwell Technologies has introduced a compact, fully integrated, 125-volt ultracapacitor module to provide an easy-to-integrate building block for scalable energy storage and power delivery solutions for heavy hybrid and electric vehicles and heavy duty industrial applications requiring up to 1,500 volts. “This high-performance module is designed specifically to satisfy rapidly growing global demand for ultracapacitor-based braking energy recuperation and torque assist systems for hybrid bus and truck drive trains and electric rail vehicles,” Balanson said. “It meets or exceeds transportation industry requirements for watt-hours of energy storage and watts of power delivery per kilogram, and is designed to perform reliably through one million or more deep charge/discharge cycles, which equates to more than 15 years of operational life.” said Dr. Richard Balanson, Maxwell’s president and chief executive officer. Michael Everett, Maxwell’s vice president and chief technical officer, said that integrated monitoring capabilities and a highly efficient cooling configuration enable the new module to sustain continuous current of up to 150 amps with minimal temperature increase in high-temperature environments. The module is encased in a rugged, splash-proof, aluminum chassis, weighs less than 50kg and measures 315x425x744mm. Up to 12 modules may be linked in series to deliver a total of as much as 1,500 volts.
11/18/06 - Release of Bearden/Bedini "Free Energy Generation" book
Want to build a Radiant Energy battery charger? Then this is the book for you - as Free Energy Generation contains the 100 plus page Provisional Patent Application that was originally filed in 2004 by John Bedini and Tom Bearden, which they have now generously placed in the public domain. This treatise holds nothing back, and includes virtually all they collectively know about negative energy. Included are circuit diagrams, oscilloscope traces, the works! And as a bonus, Free Energy Generation also contains the re-issue of John Bedini's classic 1984 book - Bedini's Free Energy Generator, a “ how-to” book about building a proven free energy generator, complete with circuit and parts list. This marked one of Tom Bearden and John Bedini's first co-operative ventures, over 20 years ago.
11/18/06 - 'Cow-Powered' Electric Generator Heats Homes
Holsteins on the Blue Spruce Farm step gingerly around a mechanical shovel that scoops their waste and shoots it into a "cow-powered" electric generator. Besides pumping out 8,000 gallons of milk a day, these 2,000 dairy cows also light up 400 homes. The fuel is methane gas that bubbles from manure treated with bovine bacteria in heated underground tanks. "There's no money in milk anymore," Audet said. "The cow power does help us financially, but, more important, it takes care of the manure and the strong odors." Here's how it works at Audet's farm: The cows spend their days lined up, munching hay, in a green metal building almost the size of an airplane hangar. When it's time for milking, they are marched into computerized stalls where a worker attaches automatic milking devices. The animals' waste is swept up by a V-shaped machine that rumbles across the floor along tracks. The manure is then pumped through pipes into a huge tank, where the liquids are mechanically separated from the solids. The liquids are spread on nearby fields as fertilizer. The solids drop into a heated, 600,000-gallon tank - 112 feet long, 72 feet across and 14 feet deep - called the digester. There the waste is mixed for 21 days with bacteria from the cows' digestive systems at 101 degrees, the temperature of the animals' stomachs. From this brew bubbles methane gas, which rises through pipes and is burned by a 220-kilowatt generator. The system provides all of the farm's power and extra that the Audet family sells for $45,000 a year to Central Vermont Public Service Corp.
11/18/06 - Making Ethanol from Wood Chips
Experimental methods for converting wood chips and grass into ethanol will soon be tested at production scale. Mascoma Corporation, based in Cambridge, MA, is building demonstration facilities that will have the capacity to produce about one-half to two million gallons of ethanol a year from waste biomass. The startup recently received $30 million in venture-capital money, which is fueling its scale-up plans. Corn grain, the current source of ethanol in the United States, requires large amounts of land and energy to produce. This, along with the demand for corn as food, limits the total amount of ethanol that can be produced from corn to about 15 billion gallons a year--about three times what is currently produced. If the fuel is to supplant a sizable fraction of the 140 billion gallons of gasoline consumed each year in the United States, ethanol producers will need to turn to biomass such as wood chips and switchgrass. Despite its potential, cellulosic ethanol is expensive to make today. It requires more costly equipment and more processing steps than does making ethanol from corn grain. While both corn and cellulosic ethanol are created by fermenting sugar and converting the starch in corn grain into sugar is much easier than converting the complex cellulose in cornstalks or biomass such as wood chips. To simplify the process and reduce costs, many researchers ultimately hope to engineer a single organism that can both break down the cellulose and convert the resulting sugars into ethanol. But research is already improving parts of the process. For example, researchers have created a cocktail of enzymes for converting cellulose into sugar that is a hundred times cheaper than previous methods, says George Douglas, spokesman for the NREL.
11/18/06 - Deconstructing a Pump-and-Dump Spam Botnet
"eWeek has teamed up with Joe Stewart, a senior security researcher at SecureWorks in Atlanta, to show the inner working of a massive botnet that is responsible for the recent surge of 'pump and dump' spam. It's a detailed picture of how these sleazy operations work and why they're so hard to shut down. Sobering numbers: 70,000 infected machines capable of pumping out a billion messages a day, virtually all of them for penis enlargement and stock scams. Excellent graphics, too, including one chart that shows that Windows XP Service Pack 2 is hosting nearly half the attacked machines."
11/18/06 - Finding fractals in the stock market
An unusual type of fractal that comes from a simple equation, the Mandelbrot Set (image at right) is popular outside of mathematics because of its aesthetic appeal and its complicated structure. No one has been able to prove the Mandelbrot Set is true, according to Mandelbrot. "But no one has been able to prove it's not true, either," he said, as large pictures of fractals filled the screen behind him. Mandelbrot recently began to apply his knowledge of fractals to explain stock markets. "Markets, like oceans, have turbulence," he said. "Some days the change in markets is very small, and some days it moves in a huge leap. Only fractals can explain this kind of random change."
11/18/06 - Bionic Bugs To Fight Terrorists
"Israel is looking to create a small robot, no larger than a hornet to follow, film, and kill terrorists. It's just one of a series of weapons the country is considering as an alternative to conventional technologies. Other ideas floating around include gloves that would give their user 'bionic strength', and ultra-miniaturized sensors to detect explosives on suicide bombers." From the article: "The research integrates nanotechnology into Israel's security department and will find creative solutions to problems the army has been unable to address, Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres told Yedioth Ahronoth. 'The war in Lebanon proved that we need smaller weaponry. It's illogical to send a plane worth $100 million against a suicidal terrorist. So we are building futuristic weapons,' Peres said."
11/18/06 - SPLENDORA'S BILLION DOLLAR IDEAS
The other day we got to talking about inventions and get-rich-quick schemes. How could we do it? What would we create? Well, after eating some cupcakes and ruminating on the topic this is what we came up with: Cancer-Free Cigarettes / Lo Cal Cheeseburger "&" French Fries / Massaging Thong Underwear / Non-Hangover Inducing Alcohol. Comments: I would invent a pill that makes the person you're gettin' down with look like your favorite actor or pop star--like Viagra but with a twist. / A light, *no-panty-line* bodysuit with built-in bra and well-designed straps! No one has the perfect post-pregnancy midsection slimmer.
11/17/06 - December 22 - Global Orgasm to Change the World
(Wonder if this would be more effective if everyone did it at the same TIME. Probably just an accumulated charge of energy plus intent is the key. Like it says, CAN'T HURT! - JWD) Global Orgasm, a winter solstice event conceived to "effect change in the energy field of the Earth through input of the largest possible surge of human energy," takes place on December 22. This is one of those projects that can only have global impact because of the internet. You just couldn't get the word out to all the people open to this sort of thing without the technology -- and without the culture that has shaped around this technology. The intent is that the participants concentrate any thoughts during and after orgasm on peace. The combination of high-energy orgasmic energy combined with mindful intention may have a much greater effect than previous mass meditations and prayers. The goal is to add so much concentrated and high-energy positive input into the energy field of the Earth that it will reduce the current dangerous levels of aggression and violence throughout the world. The Global Consciousness Project, Princeton University, runs a network of Random Event Generators (REGs) around the world, which record changes in randomness during global events. The results show that human consciousness can be measured to have a global effect on matter and energy during widely-watched events such as 9/11 and the Indian Ocean tsunami. There have also been measurable results during mass meditations and prayers. The Zero Point Field or Quantum Field surrounds and is part of everything in the universe. It can be affected by human consciousness, as can be seen when simple observation of a subatomic particle changes the particle’s state.
11/17/06 - Robot, Heal Thyself
It's an achievement that inspires notions of robots with consciousness and independent minds. Scientists said on Thursday they created a brainy, four-legged robot resembling a starfish that can sense damage to its body and, on its own, think up a way to recover. Researchers Hod Lipson and Victor Zykov of Cornell University and Josh Bongard of the University of Vermont made a robot that observed its own motion using built-in sensors in its joints and then generated its own concept of itself, or at least its physical structure, in its internal computer. "In the beginning, the robot starts off and does not know what it looks like. You look at it, and you see that it's a four-legged machine. But the robot itself doesn't know that. All it knows is that it could be a snake, it could be a tree, it could have six legs," Lipson said in an interview. Lipson said the robot used various movements of its joints, first to generate hypotheses and then to formulate an accurate conception of itself. The researchers then tested the robot's ability to adapt to new situations -- in this case injury -- by shortening one of its legs. "The robot knows something's wrong," Lipson said. Animals can compensate for injury by changing movements, like limping to favor an injured leg. Machines can be programmed to react to a problem in a certain way. But when they are damaged in unexpected ways, they usually are doomed.
11/17/06 - Global Haze from Pollution could slow Global Warming
If the sun warms the Earth too dangerously, the time may come to draw the shade. The 'shade' would be a layer of pollution deliberately spewed into the atmosphere to help cool the planet. The Nobel Prize-winning scientist who first made the proposal is himself 'not enthusiastic about it.' 'It was meant to startle the policy makers,' said Paul J. Crutzen, of Germany's Max Planck Institute for Chemistry. 'If they don't take action much more strongly than they have in the past, then in the end we have to do experiments like this.' The Dutch climatologist, awarded a 1995 Nobel in chemistry for his work uncovering the threat to Earth's atmospheric ozone layer, suggested that balloons bearing heavy guns be used to carry sulfates high aloft and fire them into the stratosphere. While carbon dioxide keeps heat from escaping Earth, substances such as sulfur dioxide, a common air pollutant, reflect solar radiation, helping cool the planet. A massive dissemination of pollutants would be needed every year or two, as the sulfates precipitate from the atmosphere in acid rain. Wigley said a temporary shield would give political leaders more time to reduce human dependence on fossil fuels _ the main source of greenhouse gases. He said experts must more closely study the feasibility of the idea and its possible effects on stratospheric chemistry.
11/17/06 - Bacteria on purses could sicken Owners
Problem Solver Nancy Alvarez recently swabbed the bottom of several purses being carried by Central Florida women and collected the samples. During the report, Alvarez discovered that many women worry about what is in their purse but most don't give a second thought to the germs they carry on it. The collected samples spent more than a week in a lab and then were tested. A microbiologist found high levels of bacteria on almost every purse, the report said. A bacterium called staphylococcus was found on Eve Santiago's purse. It destroyed the red blood cells in the Petri dish. "You get a little cut, you have an open sore, it is going to migrate there and can cause infection," Dr. Blanca Cortes said. The study found that Joan Fonte's purse, that was kept in the seat of her shopping cart, tested positive for sewage contamination. "There is no guarantee the fecal matter found on Joan Fonte's purse came from a shopping cart, but this is a seat for children," Alvarez said. "They have diapers, things that can seep away and then you put your purse there," Cortes said. "We found bacteria on your purse that is also found in feces," Alvarez told Fonte. Cortes recommends cleaning purses with mild sanitizing wipes.
11/17/06 - FuelCell, Turbine Hybrid Pipeline Power Plant
FuelCell Energy, Inc. (NasdaqNM: FCEL), and Enbridge Inc. (NYSE: ENB) have announced initiating production of the first multi-megawatt hybrid product, generating ultra-clean electricity while recovering energy normally lost during natural gas pipeline operations. The new product, the Direct FuelCell-Energy Recovery Generation(TM) (DFC-ERG(TM)) system, combines a 1.2 megawatt (MW) Direct FuelCell(R) (DFC(R)) power plant with a 1 MW unfired gas expansion turbine. Operating at natural gas pipeline letdown stations, the system generates 2.2 megawatts (MW) of ultra-clean electricity.
11/17/06 - Owise Registers Your Future Predictions
Owise.com is billed as the world's first "Neural Prediction Community". Just recently launched, it claims its members have registered predictions that are more accurate than many experts. Owise uses neural network-like techniques to combine individual opinions and predict the chances that future events occur. Owise.com uses innovative techniques to estimate the chances of future events occurring by combining the opinions of its members, who are called "analysts". Each analyst's track record is carefully maintained, and used to determine how much weight that analyst's opinion has on future predictions. Owise members with good performance receive titles, such as Senior Analyst, as well as cash prizes. Anyone can join Owise without cost and start building their track record and title.
11/17/06 - Forget Preparation H - Iron deficiency can cause dark circle under eyes
Dark rings around eyes can be caused by iron deficiency, says Britain's leading nutritionist Jane Clarke. Anaemia is a sign that not enough oxygen is getting to the body tissues. There are several types of anaemia, but iron deficiency is the most common. "Our bodies need iron to manufacture haemoglobin, the red pigment which carries oxygen to the cells. Dark circles alone do not indicate anaemia," he said. "You will also suffer from constant tiredness, headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath, poor memory, frequent colds and infections, and pale skin. "It's something that generally affects women more than men - partly because of the menstrual cycle." The best sources of iron include liver (although it is not recommended during pregnancy), lean red meat including venison, egg yolks, dried and tinned beans including baked beans, lentils and chickpeas. Other good sources include soya mince, seaweed, fortified breakfast cereals, seeds such as pumpkin and sunflower, dark green leafy vegetables such as Savoy cabbage, dried apricots, figs, oatmeal, prunes, broccoli, asparagus, wholemeal bread and brown rice. The secret is to eat Vitamin C rich foods in the same meal - this means vegetables that are as fresh and as lightly cooked as possible, especially peppers, kale, sprouts, cabbage and broccoli, and fruits such as kiwis, blueberries, blackcurrants, papaya, oranges and mangoes. Those who have these dark rings for years, the cause could be age rather than diet. "As we get older our skin becomes thinner. To some degree this process is controlled by our genes and family patterns, but it's also influenced by things that damage the skin such as smoking," Clarke said.
11/17/06 - UCLA cops taser student who won't show ID
(Remember something about 'To Protect and Serve'? - JWD) UCLA cops tasered a student who refused to show ID in Powell Library. They threatened nearby students with tasering if they interfered. A student captured video of the assault with a cameraphone. I hope the campus cops go to jail over this. Laila Gordy, a fourth-year economics student who was present in the library during the incident, said police officers threatened to shoot her with a Taser when she asked an officer for his name and his badge number.
11/17/06 - Communicating Even When The Network is Down
"Researchers at BBN Technologies, of Cambridge, Mass., have begun the second phase of a DTN project, funded by $8.7 million from the Department of Defense's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Earlier this year, the researchers simulated a 20-node DTN. With each link available just 20% of the time, the network was able to deliver 100% of the packets transmitted."
11/16/06 - Dry Air Lice Killer
The machine called the "LouseBuster" blows out dry air, about twice as much air as a typical hair dryer. The dry air sucks the life out of lice causing them to release their grasp of hair strands and fall out. It also kills the eggs too. The study, involving 169 children in the Salt Lake area, showed the LouseBuster killed 80 percent of hatched lice and 98 percent of eggs on infested children. Enough bugs were killed to prevent remaining lice from breeding ... Clayton had been researching the effects of lice on birds in England. When he moved to Salt Lake City, his research became difficult because the dry air killed the lice. That's when the idea finally dawned on him. Instead of schools sending infected kids home for quarantine, a kid can go to the front office and get cured in 30 minutes. Unlike current treatments, the Louse Buster works 100% of the time. But parents should not try a conventional hair dryer at home because it could burn the child's scalp. A company is now set to market the Louse Buster and we could see it in schools in a couple of years.
11/16/06 - Student Inspired Tethered Robot Saves Big Bucks
The robot can be used by a soldier, for example, who can stay at a safe distance while the robot gets close to a bomb and detonates it if need be. The two students, Patrick Hayden and Jason Coates, arrived with what appeared at first glance to be remote-control toys, but were actually the first prototypes of a life-saving robot that began in Wattenburg's brain. the two students, who are mechatronic engineers, worked on this project for the past year at the Chico State Research Foundation with funding from the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, where Wattenburg is also connected through his work. The goal was to find a cheap alternative to the military's complex and ultra-expensive robot. Their design began with a radio-controlled monster truck, the kind many parents and children are seen outside with the day after Christmas. Hayden and Coates added a detonation circuit to explode bombs and a very small color-video camera like the ones mounted to the safety helmets of Fear Factor players. They had to change the radio control to the old wire-type control for better reliability. The 1,000-foot-long, standard networking cable is not only safer and more reliable, but also provides enough length for the operator to remain in a safe position when detonating a bomb. "That is the drive in all of our projects. We work on robots with the sole purpose to save lives," said Hayden. "That makes it very easy to go to work every day." The control system is a five-channel remote with dual sticks and custom components inside. The controller can send and receive signals as well as receive color-video feedback, and it is actually the most expensive part of the whole robot reconnaissance system, and one that any video-gaming enthusiast is capable of operating. The monster-truck part of the system is less expensive and is considered disposable. It may be destroyed in a blast, but the controller can be used again and again. Each tethered robot system costs about $2,500, compared to about $100,000 each for other models now used by the military. Parts for the robots include a $50 Sony PlayStation monitor, a $120 camera, a $200 controller, a $330 chassis and other parts. It cost a total of $450,000 to develop the robot idea, including construction of the first prototypes, eight of which will be used in field tests.
11/16/06 - End of the road: 4x4s targeted by £25 ($47USD) congestion super-charge
The mayor of London yesterday unveiled plans to charge the highest polluting vehicles £25 a day to drive in central London and the enlarged congestion charge zone to the west of the capital. In what is being seen by environmentalists as a significant advance, Ken Livingstone said the new charge would come into effect, subject to consultation, in 2009 or 2010, though he wants officials to speed up the timetable. The measure would hit the owners of the heaviest 4x4 vehicles, with emissions above 225g of CO2 per km. Cars with the least harmful emissions, such as electric vehicles and hybrids such as the Prius owned by the mayor himself, would receive a 100% exemption. He has already dubbed those who use the outsized vehicles in London "idiots". If the plan is enacted, the 18% of those who live within the current charging zone and drive the heaviest "Band G" vehicles would lose the discounts they receive and would face the super-charge instead. Mr Livingstone said they would have three years to trade their cars in for less polluting vehicles, and those considering the purchase of a Band G vehicle should consider the additional cost. "One in five vehicles is a Band G," he said. "It is the heaviest concentration in the country and one has to ask why people need four wheel drives in the most densely populated part of the UK. People are waking up to the fact we are bequeathing our children and our grandchildren appalling consequences if we don't act."
11/16/06 - Vitamin D - The Antibiotic Vitamin
Vitamin D boosts production in white blood cells of one of the antimicrobial compounds that defends the body against germs. Immediately, Cannell says, the proverbial lightbulb went on in his head: Maybe the high doses of vitamin D that he had been prescribing to virtually all the men on his ward had boosted their natural arsenal of the antimicrobial, called cathelicidin, and protected them from flu. Cannell had been administering the vitamin D because his patients, like many other people in the industrial world, had shown a deficiency. The FASEB Journal article also triggered Cannell's recollection that children with rickets, a hallmark of vitamin D deficiency, tend to experience more infections than do kids without the bone disease. He shared his flu data with some well-known vitamin D researchers, and they urged him to investigate further. On the basis of more than 100 articles that he collected, Cannell and seven other researchers now propose that vitamin D deficiency may underlie a vulnerability to infections by the microbes that cathelicidin targets. These include bacteria, viruses, and fungi, the group notes in a report available online for the December Epidemiology and Infection.
11/16/06 - Hawai'i has fuel to power energy revolution
It is an often repeated adage that the Chinese character for "crisis" is the same character for "opportunity." What we have in energy use in Hawai'i is a great opportunity to demonstrate the power of that adage. You have all heard that Hawai'i is more oil dependent than any other state. That's very true. What is not looked at is that other states have equally large dependencies on other fuel sources. A number of states have very large dependencies on coal, on natural gas, on nuclear power or on hydropower from dams. What we have the opportunity to do in Hawai'i, unique in the United States, is to substitute fuels. Crisis to opportunity. Oil to biofuels; biodiesel and ethanol. We can move our power plants from using oil to using biofuels. We can move our cars from 10 percent ethanol, which we already have, to 85 percent ethanol, which Brazil has done. We can take one of our greatest vulnerabilities, an oil-based economy, and turn it into one of our greatest assets - a home-grown (pun intended) agricultural energy-based economy for Hawai'i. No other state has this opportunity and it will be a disgrace if we do not take advantage of it.
11/16/06 - Image of Wind Farms Attacked
“Wind farms have all the appearances of being clean and green but we can’t keep gobbling up landscape at 140sq km every two years,” Rational Energy Debate (Red) spokesman Ewan Carr said.
“There’s nothing particularly clean or green about that.” Publicity material for the group bemoans the “rabid proliferation” of wind farm developments in New Zealand, and raises concerns some are planned in the country’s “most unique” landscapes. Mr Carr said the group had reservations about whether “industrial scale” wind farms were appropriate for New Zealand, and worried many people did not realise the full effects their construction would have on the landscape. He called for a moratorium on wind farm development until the benefits and drawbacks of wind generation could be “independently and competently” assessed, and believed powersaving measures should be put in place immediately. Mr Carr acknowledged hydro-electricity and wind power were the main renewable energy sources at present, but he did not want to see more dams built. Instead, he believed there was potential for further research into emerging technology such as wave power.
11/16/06 - For the Indecisive - What to Do Next Helper
I've been thinking about a way to stop myself from going on the computer, doing what I set out to do, then thinking 'what should I do now?', followed by wasting a whole lot of time in random web browsing because I can't immediately think of something. The solution I've come up with is this web page that I store on my local machine which chooses a random task from the list, then gives me a 10 minute countdown to encourage me to get on with it. What To Do Next is a free download, all platforms.
11/16/06 - Report Blasts "Peak Oil" Theory
"Today, the Cambridge Energy Research Associates released a report dismissing the Peak Oil theory, suggesting that world oil production will continue to increase for the next 24 years, and then only level into a plateau. The report, which suggests that world reserves are enough to last 122 years at our current rate of consumption, also blasts Peak Oil theorists for repeatedly making unscientific predictions and then shifting them whenever their predictions fail to materialize."
11/16/06 - Warming a Tiny Piece of Mars For Terraforming
"It's been a dream of science fiction writers everywhere that we would eventually terraform Mars. Now an engineering student has proposed a way to terraform only a kilometer of Mars. By building an array of space based mirrors to focus the sun's light, a small area of Mars could be warmed to about 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) which would make it easier for explorers to work and live there. Since Mars' atmosphere is thin, the mirrors would have to be carefully designed to prevent them from reflecting harmful radiation as well as light and warmth." - The concept calls for 300 reflective balloons, each 150 metres across, arranged side-by-side to create a 1.5-kilometre-wide mirror in orbit around Mars. The mirror would focus sunlight onto a 1-kilometre-wide patch of Mars's surface. This would raise the temperature in this patch to a balmy 20° Celsius (68° Fahrenheit) from Mars's typical surface temperature of between -140° C and -60° C (-220° and -76° F). The extra warmth would mean the astronauts would not need heavily insulated suits or living quarters, allowing them to work more easily. The extra sunlight would also boost power from solar cells. And the higher temperature would melt any water ice on the ground. This could make precious liquid water available for astronauts to drink, and the water could also be used as a raw material to produce rocket fuel for the journey home, Woida says.
11/16/06 - Time for Action?
(Some interesting comments regarding energy, oil, finances and investment. - JWD) In our opinion, things are about ready to change a lot for global markets, and this process is just getting underway. Sources that we respect have been telling us for months about the huge flow of Mid-East cash out of the region into Europe, Britain, Canada and India. It surprises me that money would flow into India, as the money cannot be easily removed by non-Indians. The money is flowing into residential real estate and some into Indian stocks. Is it possible that some Mid-Easterners with money are looking for a new home in case things get uncomfortable in their homeland? / “Global forces have taken control of the [U.S.] economy. And government regardless of party will have less influence than ever.” This is a point that we have made frequently, for the last several years. The global economy runs the show, and not the U.S. economy. / President Bush has been under attack, and in our opinion, his troubles are just beginning. In a recent memo I referred to the possibility of a cry for impeachment from the Democrats. This is not idle speculation. You will be hearing much more about this as it develops in the coming months and years. Should the Presidents’ political fortunes become bleak, this will create added pressure on the dollar. / The Chinese infrastructure demand created solely from announced projects, will keep demand for iron ore, nickel, zinc and steel strong for at least a few years and quite possibly much longer. India, Brazil, Russia, and other countries that make money selling commodities will want to increase their capital stock in factories, refineries, chemical plants, buildings and other industrial projects.
11/16/06 - Digital Camera DIY Remote Shutter Release
I needed a remote cable release so I could set the camera up on a tripod, aim it at the hummingbird feeder, and release the shutter from a distance away. Problem is, my camera, like most digital snapshooters, isn't equipped for remote shutter release. Although an earlier instructible had a great hack for opening up the camera and tapping into its electronics, I didn't want to permanently modify my camera, and wasn't sure I would be able to do the surgery without damaging something. So after some thought, I designed this simple fixture using low-tech parts readily available for $10 or less that allows you to leave your camera intact, but still allows you to "sneak" up on wildlife, have camera on elevated position, and other remote-shutter release situations. (via lifehacker.com)
11/16/06 - Girl sees invention become reality
Perhaps proving the adage that great minds think alike, a 16-year-old high school student was surprised to learn recently that a prizewinning idea she had four years ago to use pedestrians' weight to generate electricity has been introduced at JR Tokyo Station. Mai Miyachi submitted her idea, "Electricity-Generating Road," to the third and final Yomiuri Science Vision Contest in 2002, in which primary and middle school students were invited to come up with ideas for future technologies. Special mats with disc-shaped elements three centimeters wide were laid on the floor of some ticket gates at JR Tokyo Station in October. As people step on the mats, their weight triggers the piezoelectric elements in the mats, generating electricity.
11/16/06 - Evanescent Coupling?
(Isn't this just normal induction but resonant? Also reminds me of the one wire power transmission called the Avramenko Plug. - JWD) Researchers are exploring a phenomenon called "evanescent coupling" as a way to juice up devices powered by rechargeable batteries without connecting them directly to a charger. Unlike electromagnetic induction--the technology that charges electric toothbrushes and early pacemakers--which requires the charger to be very close to the device, this new approach could potentially work at distances of several meters, claim the MIT physicists. From New Scientist: Evanescent coupling...allows electromagnetic energy "trapped" in a charging device to be tapped by a "drain" mobile device if the two have the same resonant frequency. "The energy is trapped at source, until I bring a device that has the same resonant frequency close to it. Only then can the energy 'tunnel through'," says (researchers Marin) Soljacic. Crucially, the "charger" only starts powering another device when a compatible gadget comes within range... Placing one of these wireless chargers in each room of a home or office could provide coverage throughout the building.
11/16/06 - Fiber Water Invention Coming To Eurasia
Eurasia has granted its approval and issued the first patent to American inventor, Suzanne Jaffe Stillman, the creator of 'Stillman's Fiber Water,- for intellectual properties, in the healthy beverage category. At a time when families are seeking a healthy alternative beverage, her patented FiberWater invention provides a proprietary combination of at least seven different soluble fibers in water - without changing the look, or the taste of sparkling or pure fresh water. 'Scientists and physicians have long recognized that water is essential to life and that fiber, the 6th most important nutrient, is necessary for healthy living and now that the patents have been issued,- says the noted nutrition advocate and inventor, 'It is my hope that bottlers throughout Eurasia can utilize my invention to improve the diets of the population of this country. Russia is one of the fastest growing economies and with the rising interest in healthy food and beverages, this area offers an expanding market for new ingredients and technology. A University of Southern California graduate and long-time resident of Beverly Hills and Los Angeles, in the United States, Ms. Stillman began her life of scientific creativeness in 1970, when her son, Jason, was diagnosed with a rare genetic liver disorder, Glycogen Storage Disease (GSD), a devastating disease that interferes with the body's normal process of metabolizing carbohydrates. Since her son required a different method of receiving food, despite much dissident opinions, she invented the state-of-the-art tube to be inserted into the stomach, with a one-way valve, for which she was awarded two patents from the U.S. Patent office. In order to provide the best liquid nutrition for his feedings, Suzanne created Nutraceutical liquids for feeding tubes in the kitchen at Boston Children's Hospital in Massachusetts, USA. Her son, now 36, is testament to her persistence and inventiveness.
11/16/06 - Gorilla Snot Hair gel
(I have a lot of friends who use hair gel like this and it was just TOO FUNNY not to post! I've posted worse ya know. - JWD) In the USA, Gorilla Snot is used to help guitarists hold on to their picks. But in Mexico, it's used as a hair gel. "Moco de Gorila" is made by Mexican-based N.I.S.A. and is supposed to provide an extreme hold for ape-like hair-doos. I like the cartoon picture of a gorilla with a mohawk, earrings, and slimy stuff running out of his nose.
11/16/06 - The ONLY way to END the war - Cut Off Iraq War Funds
Congressman Kucinich called Wednesday for cutting off funding of the Iraq war, as the surest way out of Iraq. "I want to say that there's one solution here, and it's not to engage in a debate with the President, who has taken us down a path of disaster in Iraq, but it's for Congress to assume the full power that it has under the Constitution to cut off funds. We don't need to keep indulging in this debate about what to do, because as long as we keep temporizing, the situation gets worse in Iraq. "We have to determine that the time has come to cut off funds. There’s enough money in the pipeline to achieve the orderly withdrawal that Senator McGovern is talking about. But cut off funds, we must. That's the ultimate power of the Congress, the power of the purse. That's how we'll end this war, and that’s the only way we’re going to end this war. "We need to shift our direction." "We have to take a whole new approach. We’re spending over $400 billion a year, money that's also needed for healthcare, for education, for job creation, for seniors. We have to take a new look at this. We need to be a strong country, but strength isn't only military. Strength is also the economic strength of the people, their chance to have good neighborhoods. We spend more money than all the countries of the world put together for the military. "It's time for us to start to shift our vision about who we are as a nation, because if we don't do that -- we’re borrowing money right now to wage the war in Iraq. We’re borrowing money from China. We’re not looking at our trade deficit. We’re not looking at conditions, where people are going bankrupt trying to pay their hospital bills. We need to shift our direction, and the direction has to be away from the continued militarization of the United States society."
11/15/06 - Maybe the Moon Isn’t Quite Dead Yet
(Well of course, the lights, movement, tracks and dust puffs are because of all those people living inside. - JWD) Most scientists believe that the Moon hasn’t seen any volcanic activity in billions of years, but there could be new evidence that volcanic gasses are continuing to vent out onto the lunar surface. As lunar surface deposits weather, the wavelengths of light they reflect change in predictable ways. Overall reflectance, or albedo, gets less bright and the ratio of light at 1,000 nm wavelengths to 750 nm wavelengths increases. Based on these color ratios, the deposits on Ina’s floor are exceptionally young - and possibly even newly exposed. Over the years, says Schultz, amateur astronomers have seen puffs or flashes of light coming from the moon’s surface. Although most professional observers have upheld the conclusion that the moon was inactive, such sightings have kept open a window of doubt. A coordinated observation campaign, including both professional and amateur astronomers, would be one way to build additional evidence for activity, says Schultz. A gas release itself would not be visible for more than a second or so, but the dust it kicked up might stay suspended for up to 30 seconds.
11/15/06 - Alternative medicine making waves in the West
The use of complementary or alternative medicine (CAM) has increased tremendously in the West with more and more people believing in its benefits. Alternative medicine includes the use of herbals, vitamins and other supplements, acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic medicine, massage therapy, and Ayurveda. Often included into this mix are energy therapies such as Qi gong and bioelectromagnetic treatments, as well as mind-body practices that encompass prayer, meditation or even dance. “Although the most commonly used CAM is related to prayer, the most commonly reported CAM adverse events tend to be ‘allergic’ reactions from herbal agents that include urticaria, contact dermatitis, and anaphylaxis,” said Dr. Bielory. “There has been a recent surge of interest in TCM in Western countries, as it is low cost and has shown favorable safety profiles,” said Xiu-Min Li, MD, an associate professor of Pediatric Allergy "&" Immunology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Herbal therapy is in the mainstream of modern medical practice in China for treating asthma, although the role for TCM in Western countries has not been established as there are no FDA approved botanical drugs for treating asthma.
Another area of growing interest is in the use of probiotics to both treat and prevent allergic disorders. Probiotics are cultures of potentially beneficial bacteria of the healthy gut microflora. “Microflora or healthy bacteria within the gut appear to be an important part of our mucosal protection while also supporting healthy bowel functions,” said Renata JM Engler, M.D., from the Uniformed Service University of Health Sciences at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, DC. “When the healthy bacterial flora is disrupted as with antibiotic therapy, illnesses such as vaginitis and serious bowel infections may occur more easily. In addition, there is a growing body of evidence that the healthy bacteria may interact beneficially with the immune system overall.
11/15/06 - The Moons Magnetic Shields
"When it comes to space exploration, there are things that are good for humans (water) and things that are bad for humans (radiation). In order for exploration of the moon to occur, its lack of a global magnetic shield to block solar radiation must be addressed. Luckily, scientists have discovered that there are highly magnetized areas of the moon's crust that could shield settlements." From the article: "Current evidence suggests that impact-basin ejecta materials [material blasted out by huge asteroid or comet impacts] are the most likely sources of many or all of the magnetic fields ... These ejecta contain microscopic metallic iron particles that are the carriers of the magnetization."
11/15/06 - New type of home furnace to be introduced
The "micro-combined-heat-and-power" units, or CHPs, turns natural gas into hot water and generates up to $800 a year in electricity, the Christian Science Monitor reported Tuesday. Factories and other industrial facilities have used large CHP systems for years. Home heating systems producing 1 kilowatt of electricity, as well as bigger units that generate about 4 kilowatts are available in Europe and Japan and are expected to make their commercial U.S. debut next month, The Monitor said. At least five companies are building micro-CHP systems worldwide. In the United States, Marathon Engine Systems of East Troy, Wis., plans to bring a 4-kilowatt hot-water system to the United States next year. Climate Energy of Medfield, Mass., has developed a forced-hot-air system that links a high-efficiency furnace with a Honda quiet generator. The Micro-CHP units cost UP TO $20,000 including installation, with an estimated payback period on the initial investment of 3 to 7 years, the newspaper said.
11/15/06 - Ingo Swann's Remote Viewing claims
During his remote viewing for Mr. Axelrod, Swann realized he was viewing scenes on our moon, but not anything remotely like the moon that we have learned about. He saw water and a weak atmosphere on the moon, essentials for life. He also saw structures, machinery, bridges, tracks, and other evidence of an active presence on this supposedly dead world. A book published in 1976 titled Somebody Else Is On The Moon, by George H. Leonard in the mail with no return name or address. In this book, almost impossible to find today, Leonard reproduced many NASA moon photographs as well as tapes from Apollo missions and concluded that "a highly advanced underground civilization is working the surface of the moon - mining, manufacturing, communicating, and building!" "Leonard's book was filled with verifiable data, official photos, and sketches of structures, etc., he created from the photos," stated Swann. "Many of Leonard's sketches resembled some of mine." Most compelling is a NASA blowup (NASA, VII Gassendi S 2.4) which shows two rounded objects leaving tracks across the lunar landscape. The larger object leaves behind irregular track marks, while the smaller object appears to have rolled up the side of a moon crater, then moved down the crater and out onto flat ground, leaving behind a slightly curved track. Also fascinating are other photos. NASA No. 16-18918, which clearly shows a large oval object jutting out over the lip of a large moon crater, and No. 16-19265, which seems to show a large circular/domed object nestled next to 10 regularly-spaced objects, in what appears to be a partially underground hangar. Such Lunar Transient Phenomena (LTP) are well known among veteran astronomers. Bright and blinking lights, colorful displays, clouds, or mists have been reported in many lunar craters, especially those of Aristarchus, Plato, Eratosthenes, Biela, Rabbi Levi, and Posidonius. / Strange Conversations "&" Photos and excellent synopses of Space Exploration plans.
11/15/06 - Energy Levels Drop at 2:16 pm
We all experience energy slumps during our working day, but new research has pin-pointed 2.16pm as the time most of us start to lose energy. This is when we officially have the least amount of energy or enthusiasm for anything, according to the study commissioned by Typhoo tea. Chronobiologists, who study our internal body clocks, say the best time to rise and shine is when it starts to get light naturally. This stimulates energising hormones such as serotonin, cortisol and adrenaline and inhibits the sleep-inducing melatonin.
11/15/06 - Recharging without Wires
Today's wireless transfer of energy, such as the transfer of light energy from the Sun for solar power or the transfer of microwaves from transmitters for communication, involve relatively low levels of energy. But recharging devices like laptops requires a much higher level of energy. And if this was routinely zapped through the air it could 'fry' any living organisms that get in the way. But Soljacic says he's found a way of transmitting energy so that only the devices that it is recharging will pick it up, so it will not affect humans. Instead of using traditional radiation, he wants to use the part of the electromagnetic field that is 'non-radiative'. He says devices can be tuned to the frequency of this field and thus act as a sink for all the energy the transmitter gives out. Soljacic says this would prevent energy radiating out to areas it doesn't need to go to providing an efficient and safe method of wireless energy transfer. "The team calculates that an object the size of a laptop could be recharged within a few metres of the power source," he says. "Placing one source in each room could provide coverage throughout your home." Soljacic realized that the close-range induction taking place inside a transformer -- or something similar to it -- could potentially transfer energy over longer distances, say, from one end of a room to the other. Instead of irradiating the environment with electromagnetic waves, a power transmitter would fill the space around it with a "non-radiative" electromagnetic field. Energy would only be picked up by gadgets specially designed to "resonate" with the field. Most of the energy not picked up by a receiver would be reabsorbed by the emitter. Soljacic also thinks the technology could be used to power freely roaming robots in a factory. Professor Geoff Smith agrees and says there are also technical challenges to keeping the devices tuned with the transmitters, thus preventing the general release of stray energy. "I think this is nice physics but there's a way to go before it would be possible," says Smith. He says any changes in the surrounding environment could "de-tune" the system and stop the safe and efficient transfer of power. Electrical engineer, Dr Trevor Bird of CSIRO's ICT Centre says attempts so far to develop wireless power transfer have not been very successful. He agrees that safety and technical barriers to wireless power systems are huge and would like further details on Soljacic's proposal. Bird also says that, depending on the frequency of the field, the antenna on the device being recharged may have to be very large.
11/15/06 - Natural-born painkiller found in human saliva
Saliva from humans has yielded a natural painkiller up to six times more powerful than morphine, researchers say. The substance, dubbed opiorphin, may spawn a new generation of natural painkillers that relieve pain as well as morphine but without the addictive and psychological side effects of the traditional drug. When the researchers injected a pain-inducing chemical into rats’ paws, 1 gram of opiorphin per kilogram of body weight achieved the same painkilling effect as 3 grams of morphine. The substance was so successful at blocking pain that, in a test involving a platform of upended pins, the rats needed six times as much morphine as opiorphin to render them oblivious to the pain of standing on the needle points.
11/15/06 - Electron beams shrink carbon nanotubes to order
This means "nanotube device fabrication is an unpredictable process", says Alex Zettl, who developed the shrinking method with colleagues at the University of California at Berkeley and another team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, both in the US. The shrinking technique can be used to compress a nanotube to a particular diameter, which could then in theory be used as particular types of electronic component. The process begins with depositing a solution of nanotubes on top of a silicon wafer. A scanning electron microscope is used to select a tube to which a gold electrode can be easily attached to each end. The shrinking begins when the wafer carrying this tube is loaded into a transmission electron microscope. An electron beam is fired at the tube, knocking carbon atoms out of their honeycomb arrangement within its walls and causing them to either crowd into other parts of the arrangement, disturbing the shape, or fall out altogether. At the same time, a current is run through the tube, via the gold contacts, and this reshuffles the remaining carbon atoms back into a regular, albeit narrower, nanotube structure. The current also causes some atoms to form new bonds with others. The researchers were able to gradually shrink a nanotube measuring 16 nanometres in diameter down to 3 nm using the technique, until finally it broke in two. The tiny tubes can be created in the first place by depositing a carbon vapour or by blasting graphite with high energy lasers or electricity. Bøggild explains that chemically created tubes can be made different diameters but are especially prone to defects. On the other hand, tubes made from graphite have fewer defects but cannot be made to order.
11/15/06 - VR Cures Amputees' Phantom Limb Pain
"Scientists have developed a virtual world like Second Life where real-life amputees have their limbs restored. The experience can cure patients of the perception of pain in their missing limbs. From the article: 'The machine is designed to combat phantom limb pain (PLP) - a sensation of pain experienced by an amputee that appears to originate in the missing limb. Intriguingly, researchers have discovered that if a person's brain can be tricked into believing they can see and move a "phantom limb," this motion reduces the perception of pain in PLP.' The graphics used by the computer look very crude, almost comically so, but apparently the system works."
11/15/06 - Chilly Bags for shopping
A study on the temperature of chilled food left in the back seat of a car has highlighted the importance of carrying chilly bags and icepacks to help keep your food cool if you're likely to be delayed driving home. Without them your meat could develop a life of its own if you leave it there for too long. Data loggers recorded the effects of time and temperature abuse on packs of meat beef mince, rump steak, sausages and chicken drum sticks bought from a supermarket. ESR scientists were particularly interested in the difference between those meats stored in a chilly bag with an icepack and similar meat packs left in the supermarket plastic bags. The grisly scenario was repeated over three days in January and again in June this year using a car with non-tinted windows shut tight, no sunroof and a separate boot compartment, parked in the same sunny spot. On clear summer days the air temperature inside the car hovered around 40 degrees C. The air temperature in the boot of the car was roughly 10 degrees C cooler. In each case, the experiment ran for several daylight hours, beginning late morning and ending around 5pm. After just 90 minutes, the surface temperature on a piece of un-insulated steak left on the back seat rose to 35 deg C close to optimal growth temperature for many bacteria. In the boot, where the mean air temperature was cooler, the un-insulated steak rose to 21 deg C in the same timeframe. However, the dramatic effect of chilly bags and icepacks became obvious when the temperature of the meat stored in them rose only marginally over the same time in the back seat and boot. "The types of chilled raw meat used in these experiments would be cooked before being eaten thus destroying most, if not all, the bacteria present although spores and heat-stable toxins would survive. However, ready-to-eat food, such as ham and deli meats, would not undergo further cooking to destroy bacteria, but would be subject to the same temperature increases and this is a concern. "During food preparation there could also be a risk of cross-contamination from the raw meat to another, ready-to-eat food." Chilled products that enter the temperature danger zone (between 4 deg C and 60 deg C) need to be refrigerated as soon as possible (within two hours), or cooked. The greatest risk from bacterial growth during transport home exists mainly in cases where long transport times are involved. In such situations a chilly bag and frozen icepack would help keep your food purchases safe. As some delays cannot be predicted it would be prudent to always keep at least a chilly bag in the car. Says Ms Gilbert: "Be aware and think ahead on those hot sunny days. Shop for meat and poultry just before you head home. If you have no option and have to leave chilled foods in your car for a prolonged period, take an icepack and chilly bag with you. If you don't have either of those to hand, store your shopping in the boot of your car."
11/15/06 - Accident Documentation Tip courtesy Ken Bozeman
This is just some good advice I am sending to everyone on my email list. You are welcome to send it out to everyone on yours. Last week I was involved in a car accident that turned out to be a hit and run. Luckily the guy that hit me stopped long enough for me to get a picture of him, the license plate and the vehicle he was driving. There are one time use digital cameras available at Wal-Mart and drug stores for about $20. Get one of these cameras and keep it in your vehicle at all times. Do not use it for anything else but recording any traffic incident that may happen. If you are involved in a traffic mishap, make your 1st picture one of the vehicle and the license plate. Then get one of the driver. Take additional pictures that may help you with any claim. If the individual will allow it, get a picture of their drivers license and insurance card. I had another car wreck about 3 years ago and if I had not had the pictures I took, I would have been out of a lot of money for repairs to my vehicle. Just a word to the wise to do with as you like. - Ken
Suncone/Stirling Solar-Electric Power System
(Photos 55W Stirling cutaway "&" Suncone CSP) The engineering teams at Infinia and Open Energy believe that the Suncone CSP solar concentrating power system can be modified to deliver more than 700° C of solar thermal energy to Infinia’s free-piston Sterling engine to generate electricity on a cost-effective basis without burning fossil fuels or emitting greenhouse gases. Development of the Suncone/Stirling system will begin with a modified version of a 1 kW engine already being produced for residential heating and electricity in Asia and Europe as a proof-of-concept, according to David Saltman, president and CEO of Open Energy. The free-piston back-and-forth motion in the Infinia Stirling engine drives a patented linear alternator. The SunCone CSP utilizes non-imaging optical cones made of reflective composites to concentrate sunlight on rods at the base of each cone. The cones stay cool, but the fluid flowing through the base is superheated.
11/14/06 - Why it's best to let sleeping dogs lie
Today we examine how the world would be different if familiar, comforting, homespun proverbs were literally true. Every cloud has a silver lining. - Gaseous silver would liquefy and fall as rain, contaminating our water. Silver is a heavy metal, and, like all heavy metals, it is toxic to humans. In the case of silver, death would be preceded by a condition known as argyria, in which the skin and eyeballs turn a bluish gray. Humans would begin to resemble the classic image of the Martian. Then would come heart, brain, kidney and bone disease, followed by confusion and dementia, which would be a blessing, really. / A watched pot never boils. - If the act of watching a pot of water prevented its actually boiling, here's the scenario: By continually watching a pot of water on the stove or having teams of people - all enemies of freedom - taking turns watching it sequentially the water would never evaporate. It would simply continue to store more and more energy. This is not me speaking; it is professor Richard Berg of the University of Maryland physics department. That pot, he said, could become so filled with potential energy that it would far surpass any diabolical source of destructive power devised to date. That pot - continuously watched - could be loaded onto a plane and dropped into an ocean. Watched by the bombardier all the way down, the pot would keep its hellish payload until it disappeared beneath the waves. At that point, suddenly unwatched, it would release enough energy to create a tsunami of devastating strength. Imagine, if you dare, the effect of coordinated pot-bomb attacks on America's Eastern Seaboard. Myself, I'd prefer to go on to the next question....and more at the link.
11/14/06 - Koreans introduce Paper Battery
Korea-based Rocket has announced a paper battery that "does not include toxic chemicals nor cause explosion or fire." The ultra-thin and flexible power pack can be used in a number of applications, most notably in an "RFID tag, smart card, cosmetics and drug delivery system, among others."They say that the battery is well suited for "whitening, anti-aging, wrinkle care and moisturizing" devices.
11/14/06 - South African-Based De Beer Fuels, Ltd. to Build 90 Biodiesel Reactors
Each of the biodiesel reactors will be capable of producing 10 million gallons of biodiesel each year for a total production capacity of 900,000,000 gallons per year when operating at full capacity, which is 4 times greater than the entire U.S. output in 2006. The 2-ton reactors will be built by GSPI at their Glenns Ferry Facility in Idaho and delivered over the next 18 months. The first reactor was shipped November 8, 2006 by airfreight to South Africa. De Beer's business model also includes a franchising strategy, developed by associate Hendy Schoonbee for independent operators to participate in his plan and has already received financial commitments to build 90 biodiesel plants each at 10-million-gallons-per-year capacity. This said franchising strategy is a first in the world. Presently, the De Beers plant is now operating at 10,000,000 gallons per year on sunflower seed oil as feedstock and has contracted for additional feedstock for additional plants. However, the final answer for biodiesel feedstock will not be oil crops - it will be algae. For example, soybean produces only 48 gallons of oil per acre per year, canola produces 140 gallons per acre and algae can produce well over 10,000 gallons per acre. This figure has been verified in actual algae field production tests by the US Department of Energy in an 18-year Algae Study Program from 1978 - 1996. This makes algae the only worldwide feedstock capable of replacing crude oil. Making use of algae also means not competing with crops for food sources that would otherwise lead to an increase in food prices. Algae consumes CO2, a major Global Warming Gas. After consumption of the CO2, the algae produces oil (for biodiesel manufacturing) and oxygen.
Therefore, the process of using algae creates renewable, sustainable biofuel and reduces global warming gases to better the environment.
11/14/06 - Technology in Crop Circles
(This isn't new but I'm glad someone is working on it. Years ago the Dallas MUFON group was discussing a book about this. And at a conference in about 1984 or so, a guy was saying many secret techologies are hidden in ancient architecture and drawings. Many others have come to this conclusion but I don't know of anyone who has proven any of it. The Swastika pattern is one such symbol. But then again, maybe its all just a giant geometric Rorschach inkblot in wheat. - JWD) In this video, learn about the technology hidden inside the crop circle formations. Crop circles are showing us how to build flying ships and free energy machines! The crop circle technology is centered within a large tetrahedron structure made up of hollow spheres. Microwaves are used to create large standing electromagnetic waves within these spheres. Link to the video at zpenergy.com and check out this motor design - Swastika shape as a Motor Force - What we observed was that the energie we put in could be won back, and saved in an other medium. What still remained what the propulsion, which could be used to drive another generator or coil, so we could win back the a lot more energie to drive an other machine.
11/14/06 - Mysterious ‘Neural Noise’ Actually Primes Brain for Peak Performance
Researchers at the University of Rochester may have answered one of neuroscience’s most vexing questions-how can it be that our neurons, which are responsible for our crystal-clear thoughts, seem to fire in utterly random ways? In the November issue of Nature Neuroscience, the Rochester study shows that the brain’s cortex uses seemingly chaotic, or “noisy,” signals to represent the ambiguities of the real world-and that this noise dramatically enhances the brain’s processing, enabling us to make decisions in an uncertain world. “You’d think this is crazy because engineers are always fighting to reduce the noise in their circuits, and yet here’s the best computing machine in the universe-and it looks utterly random,” says Alex Pouget, associate professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester. “We’ve known for several years that at the behavioral level, we’re ‘Bayes optimal,’ meaning we are excellent at taking various bits of probability information, weighing their relative worth, and coming to a good conclusion quickly,” says Pouget. “But we’ve always been at a loss to explain how our brains are able to conduct such complex Bayesian computations so easily.” Bayesian computing can be done most efficiently when data is formatted in what’s called “Poisson distribution.” And the neural noise, Pouget noticed, looked suspiciously like this optimal distribution. This idea set Pouget and his team into investigating whether our neurons’ noise really fits this Poisson distribution, and in his current Nature Neuroscience paper he found that it fit extremely well.
“The cortex appears wired at its foundation to run Bayesian computations as efficiently as can be possible,” says Pouget. His paper says the uncertainty of the real world is represented by this noise, and the noise itself is in a format that reduces the resources needed to compute it. Each neuron responds to a particular variable and the brain will decide on a conclusion about the whole set of variables using Bayesian inference. As you reach your decision, you’d have a lot of trouble articulating most of the variables your brain just processed for you. Similarly, intuition may be less a burst of insight than a rough consensus among your neurons.
Pouget and his team are now expanding their findings across the entire cortex, because every part of our highly developed cortex displays a similar underlying Bayes-optimal structure.
11/14/06 - Nano Swastikas rotate Light
(Since the universe is bipolar, it stands to reason that a Left Handed Swastika would have opposite effects from a Right Handed Swastika. Possibly biologically useful as well. - JWD) The geometric arrangement of lines most commonly known as the swastika, has found a new application in photonics. Researchers at Southampton University have produced tens of thousands of gold swastika’s on a square millimetre to form new optical “metamaterials” that can artificially change the polarisation state of light. The swastika has number of special features, it is entirely made up of vertical and horizontal straight lines, it is square and yet can still provide the feeling of left-handed or right-handed rotation known as chirality. Dr Bagnall of Electronics and Computer Science at Southampton University says, “when we started to consider which chiral geometries would be most suitable for our experiments it was impossible for us to ignore the swastika, it's squareness equates to an absence of optical birefringence at normal incidence, and the straight horizontal and vertical lines can be readily drawn at nanolength scales using electron beam lithography.” The team at Southampton have found that the interaction between light and their two dimensional chiral metamaterials, can cause changes in the polarization state that were only previously observed as a result of interactions with three dimensional materials. The group are continuing to experiment with the wide range of chiral geometries, “Triskella (such as the symbol that represents the Isle of man), spirals and some chiral fractals can gain us additional functionality, and while we are still at an early stage in our experiments we can already anticipate applications in optoelectronics, laser physics and optical communications”, says Dr Bagnall. This is especially true, as technologists are increasingly using the polarization state as a means of carrying information in applications such as quantum cryptography….. / A charming story about the 3 Legged Triskelion and its association with the Isle of Man.
11/14/06 - More A's, More Pay
"Little slashdotters may find teacher a tad more upset when they screw up on a test. The Dept. of Education just launched the first federal program that uses bonuses to motivate teachers who raise test scores in at-risk communities, awarding $42M this month to 16 school systems. Any fears that teachers might cook the books to score a typical $5,000 payoff? Not to worry, says Chicago's school chief, there are statistical analyses in place that spot testing irregularities, presumably better at catching Cheaters than those used in the past."
11/14/06 - Space Elevators Could Be Lethal
"A new study reports that passengers on space elevators of current design could be killed by radiation. Even traveling at 200 kilometers per hour, passengers would spend several days in the Van Allen radiation belts, long enough to kill them." Looks like the elevator scientists will get this one solved before liftoff.
11/14/06 - ALTRAN unveils its energy efficiency concepts solutions
Three new eco-innovative concepts to enable the best use of energy in the building and urban environment sectors. The "eco-innovation" is one of the pillars of the environment policy recently adopted by the EU, emphasizing that a "green" product is not enough, but that the product's life cycle must be energy efficient. The ALTRAN "eco-innovation" concepts, created especially by the design team of Pr[i]me are: * The "Living Light" concept, based on the efficient use of electric lightening by detecting the presence of human life in the house. * The "Leaf Window" concept to reduce pollution in cities and provide cleaner environmental solutions for cleaner air in a building. * The "Square Compost" concept based on the idea of using the organic waste as fertilizer in a local park. Energetically autonomous thanks to solar energy and a biomethanisation process, "Square Compost" encourages citizens to be more environmentally aware and creates a sense of mutual responsibility.
11/14/06 - 300% Super efficient Heat Pump system starts to receive industry acclaim
Trials at Mitsubishi Electric's Hatfield headquarters have also now proved that the product is over 300 per cent more efficient than a traditional chiller / boiler combination. The inverter-driven product links the air conditioning to a renewable source of pre-heated or cooled water via a borehole, buried slinky water loops or an open loop aquifer to reduce the energy consumption of the air conditioning and achieve COPs as high as 7.5. The WR2 / WY units can also transfer heat between the indoor units to further reduce energy consumption, and can use a building's sealed water loop to transfer energy between different refrigerant circuits. As they are water-sourced, the condensing units are sited inside a building and their extended pipe run of 150m allows for greater design flexibility and no limitation on building size.
11/14/06 - The Web is 16 Today
"Today marks the 16th anniversary of the World Wide Web. According to the timeline on the W3.org site: 'http://nxoc01.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html' was the first page. Unfortunately CERN no longer supports the historical site. Note from this era too, the least recently modified web page we know of, last changed Tue, 13 Nov 1990 15:17:00 GMT (though the URL changed.)' A lot has happened in 16 years and this little 'baby' has grown into quite the teenager."
11/14/06 - 20mW Blue laser $2000
Sonar™ is the world’s only Blu-ray™ powered laser designed to satisfy the desires of true laser enthusiasts. * 405nm Blu-ray™ laser diode * Spacecraft grade 6061-T6 aluminum casing * Super-regulated beam stability * High-drain Li-ion power supply * Limited edition! Sonar represents the evolution of portable laser technology. The fusion of cutting edge technology and sleek styling lets you enjoy the latest in laser technology. Inspired by dreams. Engineered to reality.
11/13/06 - Solar Powered Refrigerator
(Couldn't find any details about this, but its supposed to be a great invention for poor countries. - JWD) A 19-year-old has thanked her grandfather for inspiring her to the Woman of the Future title. Emily Cummins is to become an inspiration herself by telling how she successfully invented a solar powered refrigerator. Emily puts her entrepreneurial skills down to 76-year-old grandfather Peter Harrison who inspired her to invent, and added: "He's really proud of me now." The teenager, who went to South Craven School in Cross Hills, wants to focus on settling into her first year on a management studies course at Leeds University. And she plans to balance out her study time, in between making speeches, with developing her fridge idea even more before it gets patented and mass-produced. "There's still more work to do on it before it's finished. I want to find ways of making it more energy-efficient," said Emily who has teamed up with a creative partner Mark Champkins and the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA), which is supporting her.
11/13/06 - The future: What technology has in store
(Extensive, excellent article covering many facets of life in the future. - JWD) From pregnant men ... to fabrics that laugh off stains. From cars that emit only water ... to toilets that tell you when you've had too much to drink. And from intercontinental hugs ... to robotic killing machines. Dawn is about to rise on the house of the future. The first rays of the sun hit the high-efficiency solar panels built into the walls and the roof. Electrical energy begins to pulse once more into the building's storage batteries and soon the family home will be sending its spare power capacity back to the national grid, earning valuable carbon credits along the way....and a lot more in the link.
11/13/06 - Disposable Fuel Cells
An enzyme-based power source is developed as a viable source of electricity for the rapidly proliferating RFID tags used in the medical sector and logistics. Applications include plasters containing a memory circuit and measuring electrode for temperature, and sensors monitoring food quality. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is developing printable biofuel cells in which enzymes convert the energy bound in the renewable fuels - sugar, alcohols, etc, - into electricity. VTT is developing an enzyme-based power source that converts the chemical energy bound in the organic compounds (fuels) into electricity. The enzymes act as catalysts that facilitate the use of, eg, sugar and alcohols as fuels. VTT's invention is based on the use of the fungal laccase enzyme on the cathodic compartment. A patent on the solution, which has yielded a 0.7V voltage with a current density of 20 microampere per square metre, is pending. Laccase is also suitable for printable technology applications as it retains its ability to produce electricity even when printed on paper.
11/13/06 - Life Benefited from Hazy Skies on Early Earth
(Interesting correlation to the 'Water Jacket' theory. - JWD) Hazy skies on early Earth could have provided a substantial source of organic material useful for emerging life on the planet, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado at Boulder. The researchers mimicked Titan's hazy skies by exposing methane gas to an ultraviolet lamp, then added carbon dioxide gas to the mix to see if conditions that were probably present on early Earth would produce a similar organic haze. "It turns out that organic haze can form over a wide range of methane and carbon dioxide concentrations," said Tolbert. "This means that hazy conditions could have been present for many millions or even a billion years on Earth while life was evolving." According to co-author Melissa Trainer of CU-Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, the study was the first to measure the chemical properties of aerosols by irradiating methane and carbon dioxide with ultraviolet light. "We found that you can make a lot of organic material virtually out of thin air," said Trainer, who completed her doctoral degree in CU-Boulder's chemistry and biochemistry department at CU in May 2006 under Tolbert. According to the study, a similar haze hanging over Earth early in its history could have supplied more than 100 million tons of organic material to the planet's surface each year. "As these particles settled out of the skies, they would have provided a global source of food for living organisms," said Trainer. Previous efforts to understand early life on Earth have focused on extreme environments like hydrothermal vents, where energy and nutrients are plentiful, said Tolbert. The new study shows that such a high-energy food source could have been produced globally early in Earth's history, possibly expanding the habitable domain for early life, she said. In addition to serving as a source of organic material, a haze layer over Earth could have shielded living organisms from harmful UV rays and helped to regulate Earth's early climate, according to the study. The haze may have contributed to the geologic record on Earth by depositing organic carbon into some of the planet's most ancient rocks, said Alexander Pavlov, a study co-author and former LASP researcher now at the University of Arizona. Organic carbon is believed by scientists to be of biological origin.
11/13/06 - Chinese energy saving inventions
Coal burning powder additive - Since 1991, Na, who was trained in chemistry, has been engaged in developing a way to make coal burn more efficiently. "I often saw after burning that much unburnt coal was left. This was a great waste," Na said. "In coal mining areas of Henan Province, people pour salt onto high-sulphur coal to make it burn more fully. That caused me to think about finding other chemical additives." In nine years of experiments, Na found that some chemicals would lower the temperature for coal to start burning, and that others produce oxygen in the stove. The two chemicals, when combined, resulted in more efficient burning. He also mixed some chemicals into his additive to dissolve sulphur dioxide, a major pollutant from high-sulphur coal. In the late 1990s, Na eventually succeeded in making the additive. According to Tang Hanyong, deputy director of the government-backed Anhui Technological Promotion Centre, Na's powder can make coal burn up to 20 per cent more efficiently and reduce the emission of sulphur dioxide, sulphur trioxide and carbon monoxide. It obtained an invention patent from the State Intellectual Property Office in 2000.
"Considering the price of the additive, coal users will still save at least 12 per cent on their coal costs," Na said. / Solar Heated Water - "One day, we suddenly thought of storing the energy outside the heater," Wu said. Through thousands of experiments, Wu and his colleagues developed an energy collection system, which consists of a water-collecting plate and heat storage and transfer equipment below the floor of the bathroom and a link from the cold water pipeline to the heat transfer equipment. Used hot bath water, then, will raise the temperature of the cold water below the floor, and the newly heated water will then connect with the tap water for continuing bathing and/or washing hands or clothes. For a 100-square-metre flat that uses an electric or a gas water heater, the 1,900-yuan (US$236) equipment could save up to 1,500 kilowatt-hours of electricity worth 700 yuan (US$87) per year, Wu said. / Warming with sewage - In a separate move, researchers in Harbin, capital of Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, developed last year a cheap way to keep residents warm in winter using untreated sewage. The device extracts heat from sewage that is temporarily diverted on its way to the processing plant. "The device can reduce the cost of heating systems by 20 per cent," said lead researcher Sun Dexing, a professor in the environmental science department at Harbin Institute of Technology.
11/13/06 - Protein fuel cells without the cell
Proteins like to keep themselves busy, and one of the tasks they perform is the discharging of excess energy generated during metabolism. Usually, this is done by ferrying electrons to chemicals outside the cell, thus maintaining energy flow in the cell and keeping the cell alive. Now, scientists from the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, have for the first time observed this electricity-shuttling process taking place without the cell. The purified proteins (from the outer membrane of the versatile, metal-altering soil bacterium Shewanella oneidensis) that did the electron-haulage could one day make highly-efficient miniature bioreactor cells feasible. To establish the dynamo-like properties of the proteins, Squier placed a dense coating of them on the iron-rich mineral hematite. The metal in hematite acts as an "acceptor," or dumping point, for thousands-of-trillions of electrons per square centimeter shuttled by the protein-donor. This function in the protein is a relic of respiration, in which the cell depends on the protein to dump electrons to maintain a steady flow of energy and prevent a damaging accumulation of charge. The researchers jump-started the process by supplying the protein with energy (either directly as electrons, or in the form of a natural cellular fuel called NADH) and then monitored charge-transfer from protein to mineral. "The peak current, or flux, doesn't run long, just a few seconds," Squier said, "but flux is at least as good as what you would find in the most efficient bioreactors, which rely on living bacteria."
11/13/06 - Recycled Implants
Morticians and patients willing to donate defibrillators and pacemakers for further use, survey finds. Most get buried with their owners, but they could be put to better use, researchers said at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association (AHA) in Chicago. Morticians and patients alike would be willing to donate the pacemakers or defibrillators or return them to the manufacturer to analyze malfunction rates as long as legal guidelines are in place, the researchers found. Implantable cardiac devices, whose use has surged in recent years, can be buried with a person but must be removed if there is a cremation because they will explode, the researchers pointed out at a Sunday news conference. For their study, they interviewed 100 morticians and 150 heart patients. "We asked questions primarily about what they [the patients] would want done with the pacemaker or defibrillator after death, and if they would be willing to sign a 'device living will,'" said study author Dr. James Kirkpatrick, of the University of Chicago. Eighty-two percent of the patients said they would be willing to have the device analyzed noninvasively, 79 percent said they would be willing to have it removed upon their death and returned to the manufacturer, and 72 percent were willing to sign a "device living will." Of those willing to sign a living will, 91 percent said they were willing to donate their device to a medically underserved nation.
11/13/06 - Manchester Turbine Gets Go Ahead
The turbine, to be designed by architectural giant Norman Foster, was being billed as the largest land-based turbine in the country, and one of the biggest in Europe. A scheme this big was set to become a major landmark, and an iconic symbol of clean energy and civic pride. There was only one problem at the time - the plans were subject to receiving planning permission from Manchester City council. The council recently voted unanimously in favour of the project, and the turbine is due to be installed by the end of next year. The SportCity site was a former coal pit and gasometers are still located there. Historically east Manchester took the lead in taking Manchester into industrialisation, therefore it is fitting that the area is pioneering the provision of renewable energy across the city.
11/13/06 - Family insists wind farm noise made them sick, despite federal report
A Nova Scotia man who abandoned his home, claiming noise from a nearby wind farm made his family sick, says a study by an audio expert proves his case, even though a new federal government report concludes the exact opposite. D'Entremont says the 17 wind turbines that tower over the community - the closest just 400 metres away - were sending low-frequency vibrations into the house. This inaudible noise, he claims, deprived his family of sleep, gave his children and wife headaches and made it impossible for them to concentrate. A study released this month by the federal Natural Resources Department, which oversees funding for wind farm projects, found no problems with low-frequency noise, also known as infrasound. The report, prepared by HGC Engineering of Mississauga, Ont., notes high levels of infrasound cannot be detected from the d'Entremont home and concludes it is not a concern. Measurements "indicate sound at infrasonic frequencies below typical thresholds of perception; infrasound is not an issue," says the report. There are few regulations governing wind farms in Canada, and existing rules vary greatly. In Pincher Creek, Alta., home of one of the largest wind farms in Canada, turbines must be set back from neighbouring homes at a distance four times their height. In Lower West Pubnico, it's twice the height. Noise guidelines also differ. None deal with low-frequency sound and most aren't specific to wind farms.
11/13/06 - Irradiation - The next nuclear debate?
Food irradiation employs ionizing radiation to kill disease-causing bacteria and parasites inside products. And it’s a relatively recent trend here in the States. Only in the late 1980s and 1990s did the US Food and Drug Administration and Department of Agriculture widely approve the irradiation of meats and produce. The process has met greater opposition in Europe. Critics have warned that irradiation covers up food spoilage: zap a rotting vegetable and it smells as good as new. And they stress that use of the technology would undermine efforts to make farmers and food processors clean up the production chain. Michael Pollan, who often covers trends in the US agriculture industry, wrote an excellent piece in the New York Times last month predicting exactly this: “If bagged salad greens are vulnerable to bacterial contamination on such a scale, industry and government [will] very soon come looking for a technological fix; any day now, calls to irradiate the entire food supply will be on a great many official lips.” Here in the US we’re much more willing to rely on a quick technological fix rather that deal with root problems. We swallow diet pills rather than exercise to lose weight. We pump our poultry with antibiotics to keep them from getting ill in their cramped cages where disease spreads quickly. We constantly look for shortcuts. But irradiating spinach is the wrong shortcut. Irradiation does not remove the manure on vegetables that carry dangerous E. coli. It simply sterilizes the manure. And that is a very unappetizing shortcut if you ask me.
11/13/06 - Restrict Pesiticides to reduce Suicides
The World Health Organization is urging developing countries in Asia to restrict access to pesticides that are commonly used in suicide attempts. Worldwide, an estimated three million cases of pesticide poisoning occur every year, resulting in more than 250,000 deaths, the health agency said. About 900,000 people die by suicide each year around the world. It is estimated that in the last 10 years, between 60 per cent and 90 per cent of suicides in China, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Trinidad were due to pesticide ingestion. Since studies suggest that most people who take their own lives act on impulse, some suicides could be prevented if access to the lethal pesticides was restricted, said Jose Bertolote, WHO co-ordinator of mental and brain disorders.
11/13/06 - More on the GE Hybrid
General Motors plans to unveil at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit a new prototype hybrid car that features a novel (and awesome) approach. The car works just like an all-electric car: You plug it in, and it runs 100 percent of the time on battery power. Until, that is, the batteries run low, at which time a GAS ENGINE KICKS IN, preventing you from being stranded and re-charging the batteries at the same time.
11/13/06 - How to grow muscle cells in a dish
Smooth muscle cells (SMCs) are a crucial cellular component of many parts of the body, including blood vessels, the intestines, and the lungs. In a study that appears online on November 9, in advance of publication in the December print issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Catherine Verfaille and colleagues at the University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, show that SMCs can be generated from multipotent adult progenitor cells (MAPCs) isolated from the bone marrow of rats, mice, pigs, and humans. These cells only generated SMCs if exposed to the soluble factor TGF-beta or TGF-beta and another soluble factor PDGFB. SMC development from MAPCs occurred along the normal pathway of SMC development and the cells that were generated had all the functions of normal SMCs. This study therefore identifies a model system for studying the effects of potential therapeutics on SMC development and SMCs. It also describes a potential source of SMCs for engineering tissues.
11/12/06 - Electronic wedge brakes stop in half the distance
Efforts to improve the efficiency of braking systems have led to some interesting innovations in recent years, including the use of ceramic carbon materials in brake discs and electronic activation of parking brakes. But those developments will seem minor compared to the leap Siemens is claiming for its new electronic wedge brake. The idea behind the system is not exactly new, with similarities to the arrangement found on horse-drawn carriages from the 18th century, where a wedge was used to bring the wheel to a standstill. But rather than relying on a hardened piece of wood for a binder, the electronic wedge uses state-of-the-art electronics and an innovative wedge-shaped connection to provide the sort of stopping ability that existing hydraulic units cannot match. Unlike today’s traditional hydraulic brake, which requires the buildup of forces before the caliper is able to grip the disc, the electronic wedge brake uses a series of interlocking triangular teeth that offset between the caliper and the disc. In all, it is claimed to require just one-tenth the energy used by hydraulic braking. A small electric motor pushes the pad toward the rotor by a lateral movement-much like how a watermelon seed can be ejected at high velocity by squishing it between your fingers. The entire system runs on the standard 12-volt electrical system found in most cars. Really clever, however, is that the kinetic energy of the car automatically increases the braking performance. In theory, the faster you are traveling when the brakes are applied, the more powerful they become. When the pad is applied to the disc, the momentum of the rotating disc draws the pad farther up an interlocking series of wedges, applying greater braking pressure and increasing stopping efficiency. A series of electric motors push in and pull out at an extremely high frequency, while a torque sensor controls the braking force and keeps the wheels from locking up, thus alleviating the need for a conventional antilock braking system. With each brake unit operating independently from the others, it also means the electronic stability control can be programmed to operate on a much finer calibration, without the typical pulsating effect evident in some cars today. In tests, a prototype with the wedge brakes regularly required less than half the distance to come to a complete stop than the prototype with the standard brakes, a company official said.
11/12/06 - GM Gas/Electric hybrid next year
General Motors Corp. will reportedly unveil a prototype plug-in hybrid at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January next year. The gas-electric combo vehicles with extended driving range runs on battery power, but can also switch to the gasoline engine when the battery is low, the the Detroit News reported Friday, citing anonymous GM officials. The plug-in hybrids can recharge their batteries with an extension cord and a normal wall outlet, the paper reported. GM, this year came under criticism from the environmental movement for not backing its EV1 electric car program, with the automaker being portrayed as one of the major villains in a documentary, "Who killed the electric car?" The EV1 was introduced at the 1997 Los Angeles Auto Show and leased to selected customers. But citing insufficient public support, the automaker pulled the project in 2002. In an interview with Motor Trend published in July, GM Chief Executive Rick Wagoner acknowledged that killing the EV1 program was his worst decision, adding that the decision did hurt its image.
11/12/06 - Why poor countries are Poor
Economists used to think wealth came from a combination of man-made resources (roads, factories, telephone systems), human resources (hard work and education), and technological resources (technical know-how, or simply high-tech machinery). Poor countries grew into rich countries by investing money in physical resources and by improving human and technological resources with education and technology transfer programs. Take the experience of China, Taiwan, and South Korea--not to mention Botswana, Chile, India, Mauritius, and Singapore. Fifty years ago they were mired in poverty, lacking man-made, human, technical, and sometimes natural resources. Now these dynamic countries, not Japan, the United States, or Switzerland, have become the fastest-growing economies on the planet. Since technology is widely available and increasingly cheap, this is what economists should expect of every developing country. In a world of diminishing returns, the poorest countries gain the most from new technology, infrastructure, and education. South Korea, for example, acquired technology by encouraging foreign companies to invest or by paying licensing fees. In addition to the fees, the investing companies sent profits back home. But the gains to Korean workers and investors, in the form of economic growth, were 50 times greater than the fees and profits that left the country. As for education and infrastructure, since the returns seem to be so high, there should be no shortage of investors willing to fund infrastructure projects or lend money to students (or to governments that provide education). Banks, domestic and foreign, should be lining up to lend people the money to get through school or to build a new road or a new power plant. In turn, poor people, or poor countries, should be very happy to take out such loans, confident that investment returns are so high that the repayments will not be difficult. Even if, for some reason, that didn't happen, the World Bank, established after World War II with the express aim of providing loans to countries for reconstruction and development, lends billions of dollars a year to developing countries. Investment money is clearly not the issue; either the investments are not being made, or they are not delivering the returns the traditional model predicts.
11/12/06 - 'Air shower' set to cut water use by 30 per cent
The scientists have developed a simple 'air shower' device which, when fitted into existing showerheads, fills the water droplets with a tiny bubble of air. The result is the shower feels just as wet and just as strong as before, but now uses much less water. The researchers, from CSIRO Manufacturing Materials Technology in Melbourne, say the device increases the volume of the shower stream while reducing the amount of water used by about 30 per cent. The Aerated Showerhead creates the sensation of having a full and steady stream of water even though the water is now more like a wet shell around a bubble of air. While the general concept of using an aerated showerhead to save water is not new, the technology behind the CSIRO's device is novel. Developed by a team led by Dr Jie Wu, the aeration device is a small nozzle that fits inside a standard showerhead. The nozzle uses a small Venturi tube - a tube for which the diameter varies, creating a difference in pressure and fluid speed. Air is sucked into the Venturi tube as a result of the partial vacuum created, causing air and water to mix, forming tiny bubbles within the water stream. "The nozzle creates a vacuum that sucks in air and forces it into the water stream,” Dr Wu says. "We make the water droplets in the stream hollow and the bubbles expand the volume of the shower stream.” Small-scale experiments using the aeration device found that people detected no difference in water pressure, sensation, or overall perception of showering. The nozzle is expected to cost less than $20 and could be installed by householders.
11/12/06 - How Bezos Messed With Texas
"The WSJ has the behind-the-spaceport story on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' Texas land grab for his Blue Origin space tourism venture. Bezos deputized an attorney (who once handled Amazon SEC filings) to make ranchers offers they couldn't refuse (and can't talk about), acquiring property through corporate entities with monikers including 'James Cook L.P.,' 'Jolliet Holdings,' 'Coronado Ventures,' and 'Cabot Enterprises' - all named for famous explorers and all using the same address, c/o [Star Trek-monikered] Zefram LLC. BTW, FAA temporary flight restrictions are in effect for Blue Origin until Monday ('DUE TO ROCKET LAUNCH ACTIVITY'). Let's hope it's more successful than Blue Origin's maiden flight."
11/12/06 - Pithy comments from Elton John
He said there was a lack of religious leadership, particularly in world politics, and complained that people do not take to the streets to protest any more. "Organised religion doesn't seem to work. It turns people into really hateful lemmings and it's not really compassionate." He added: "The world is near escalating to World War Three and where are the leaders of each religion? Why aren't they having a conclave? Why aren't they coming together?
"I said this after 9/11 and people thought I was nuts. Instead of more violence why isn't there a meeting of religious leaders? "It's like the peace movement in the Sixties. Musicians got through to people by getting out there and doing peace concerts but we don't seem to do them any more. "If John Lennon were alive today he'd be leading it with a vengeance," he said. Sir Elton said people were too busy blogging on the internet to go out onto the streets to stand up for what they believed in. "They seem to do their protesting online and that's not good enough. You have to get out there and be seen to be vocal, and you've got to do it time and time again.
"There was a big march in London when Britain decided to join the war against Iraq and Tony Blair is on the record as saying 'the people who march today will have blood on their hands'. That's returned to bite him on the ass," he said.
11/12/06 - Results of Repressive Belief Systems
Dubai, as winter arrives in this Persian Gulf city, the masses are thronging by the tens of thousands to its white sandy beaches, wearing, in an unlikely exercise in maritime coexistence, everything from black flowing abayas to slinky bikinis. Thronging right alongside them are Dubai’s “beach pests,” the gangs of men who trudge through the sand, fully dressed, to ogle the women. Mostly laborers at the front lines of Dubai’s building boom - toiling on manmade islands, innumerable high-rises, even a dome in the desert for the world’s largest indoor snow park - they flood the beaches every weekend to leer at women, photograph them and occasionally try to grope them in the water. “They pretend to take pictures of their friends, but they are really taking pictures of you,” said Anika Graichen, 23, a German hotel receptionist who has lived here for three years. She lay on the beach last week trying to ignore various groups of men who passed by with their eyes locked on her. She is almost used to them now, she said. “I think I can understand it,” she said. “It’s the only place they can have a look at women.” Indeed, for the estimated 500,000 foreign workers here, most from the Indian subcontinent, the chance to spot a woman in a bikini may be hard to pass up. They typically live in a Dickensian world of squalor, working 12-hour shifts six days a week, often denied their wages of about $150 per month for months at a time. Most of them secure work by taking out loans from recruiting agencies at home to get here, forcing most to stay on for years without seeing their families and loved ones. The workmen have become prevalent in Dubai’s public parks and beaches as their numbers have swelled, and because of the lechery-on-the-beach factor, they are especially noticeable at this time of year. They tend to beachcomb in groups, their camera-equipped cellphones always at the ready. Many do not know how to swim; some enter the water wearing their traditional robes, made of thin white cloth that becomes transparent when wet - and reveals far more of their anatomy than most beachgoers want to see. Incidents of physical harm to women are rare, though the police have arrested flashers and men committing lewd acts in public.
11/12/06 - Print your own Missiles
DefenseTech has an article on the potential of "portable factories" that print out custom-machined metal components for military use, but the real money-shot is the last paragraph: what happens when anyone can print a firearm or missile? In the CNC world, proliferation becomes a matter of design, software, and materials, rather than finished systems. What happens when North Korea or Iran starts selling missiles as digital files rather than on ships which can be intercepted? When private designers and companies create designs which anyone can produce? Two words: Watch out.
11/12/06 - Bush: Alone, isolated and universally hated
(From Pravda for what its worth. - JWD)
11/11/06 - Find Cheap Glasses Online
Blogger Ira Mitchell details how a little internet bravery whittled down the price of a pair of new eyeglasses from $500 to a meager $81. His trick: Buying online to avoid the markup. The glasses Philip ended up with look great, and he claims that they're perfect.
11/11/06 - New sequential decision making model could be key to artificial intelligence
The idea behind sequential decision making is fairly simple: if an intelligence has to decide between two items, something will follow, based on the decision made. “In the traditional, simplistic model,” says Rabinovich, the decision maker has to answer a simple question - left or right for instance - choosing between two attractors.” This results in a simple “if-then” equation. However, when real decision making is in question, there is more than a simple “if-then” at work. “In reality,” he says, “it’s much more complex and interesting.” Rabinovich explains that a sequential approach is needed: an approach that combines dynamic and probabilistic steps. And that, he says, is precisely what he, Huerta and Afraimovich are proposing. “This is a new class of model,” he says. “We have found a window to consciousness, and now we can generalize this into other cognitive functions.” He lists sequential attention, working memory and planning as other cognitive areas that could be benefited by this research into sequential decision making. “This can be applied to the artificial brain,” Rabinovich insists. “If we are going to create an intelligent brain for a robot, we have to think of these independent elements.”
11/11/06 - New invention produces faster, better & cheaper biofuel
The properties for U.S. Sustainable Energy Corp. (USSEC)'s green patent-pending biofuels tested positively for cold weather, viscosity and energy content as reported by Summit Environmental Technologies, Inc., a certified environmental analytic laboratory. "We are thrilled with the results that Summit has provided on our biofuel. Where the most efficient processes today create 1.5 gallons of an inferior biodiesel in over 24 hours, our proprietary technology allows us to create 5 gallons of a far superior biofuel in under 9 minutes," said John Rivera, CEO of USSEC. "We will be expanding production to our new 4 reactor system generating 24,000 gallons per day in our Natchez facility within 10 weeks' time." Using ASTM D-240-76 testing standards, Summit reports the heating value for the USSEC liquid biofuel is 128,000 BTU/gal., higher than traditional biodiesel. Using ASTM D-445 testing standards, Summit reports the USSEC biofuel did not freeze even at -90 degrees F, the limit of the pour point detector. This allows the company's biofuel to be used in extremely cold temperature conditions. In addition to the biofuel being a valuable fuel in its own right, the USSEC liquid biofuel cloud point is lower than the end temperature limit of the typical cloud point measurement, making it useful as a supplement or blended with other biofuels and diesels to improve cold weather performance. Lastly, the USSEC biofuel has a flash point between that of regular gasoline and petroleum diesel, making it safe for fuel handling and, using ASTM D-445 testing standards, Summit reports the USSEC liquid biofuel has a lower viscosity, avoiding the gum-formation problem.
11/11/06 - Nanorust could purify water
A new recipe for "nanorust" could give developing nations a cheap tool for removing arsenic from drinking water. Arsenic contamination is linked to bladder cancer and is a big problem in many places, especially in Bangladesh and the neighbouring Indian state of West Bengal. Chemists know that arsenic binds particularly well to iron oxides, including rust, but practical techniques for doing this have been slow and laborious. Vicki Colvin and colleagues at Rice University in Houston, Texas, realised that the efficiency of this process could be improved by reducing the size of the iron oxide particles employed. This is because a given weight of smaller particles has more surface area available for binding than the same weight of larger particles. "One kilogram of nanorust has the same surface area as a football field," says Colvin. "Basically, you can treat a whole lot more arsenic with less material." The team added nanoscale iron oxide to contaminated water, where it clumped together with the arsenic. They then magnetised the nanoparticles with an electromagnet and pulled them out. "We only needed a surprisingly weak magnetic field," says Colvin. "In fact, we could pull then out with just a hand-held magnet, making this a very practical method." They believe that only a small field was needed because the magnetised nanoparticles line up to form a single giant magnet and drag each other along.
11/11/06 - Concentrators offer Cheap, Superefficient Solar
The idea of concentrating sunlight to reduce the size of solar cells--and therefore to cut costs--has been around for decades. But interest in the technology has picked up in the past year. Last month, Japanese electronics giant Sharp Corporation showed off its new system for focusing sunlight with a fresnel lens (like the one used in lighthouses) onto superefficient solar cells, which are about twice as efficient as conventional silicon cells. Other companies, such as SolFocus, based in Palo Alto, CA, and Energy Innovations, based in Pasadena, CA, are rolling out new concentrators. The thinking behind concentrated solar power is simple. Because energy from the sun, although abundant, is diffuse, generating one gigawatt of power (the size of a typical utility-scale plant) using traditional photovoltaics requires a four-square-mile area of silicon, says Jerry Olson, a research scientist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, in Golden, CO. A concentrator system, he says, would replace most of the silicon with plastic or glass lenses or metal reflectors, requiring only as much semiconductor material as it would take to cover an area the size of a typical backyard. And because decreasing the amount of semiconductor needed makes it affordable to use much more efficient types of solar cells, the total footprint of the plant, including the reflectors or lenses, would be only two to two-and-a-half square miles. (This approach is distinct from concentrated thermal solar power, which concentrates the heat from the sun to power turbines or sterling engines.) "I'd much rather make a few square miles of plastic lenses--it would cost me less--than a few square miles of silicon solar cells," Olson says. The goal is to engineer a concentrating system that focuses sunlight, that tracks the movement of the sun to keep the light on the small solar cell, and that can accommodate the high heat caused by concentrating the sun's power by 500 to 700 times--and to make such a system easy to manufacture.
11/11/06 - Biofriendly Concrete
"With concerns over global warming and pollution control reaching an all-time high, an Italian company has developed an interesting solution. It is called TX Active: a concrete that literally breaks down pollutants in the air. The effects are significant: 'In large cities with persistent pollution problems caused by car emissions, smoke from heating systems, and industrial activities, both the company and outside experts estimate that covering 15% of all visible urban surfaces (painting the walls, repaving the roads) with products containing TX Active could abate pollution by up to 50%.' Even more significant is that the cost is only 30% over that of normal concrete. Remarkable."
11/11/06 - Macro photography for your cameraphone
The About Nokia weblog points us in the direction of macro camera lenses designed for cameraphones. Like the author, I wouldn't expect much out of an $8 add-on lens, but the shots he took with the macro lens looked great. Cellphone cameras are notiorious for low quality photos but are improving as memory capacity increases. This cheap, but effective little invention furthers your uses for your cellphone.
11/11/06 - Solar Power Becoming More Affordable
"With both startups and large companies such as Boeing working on solar power, the technology is becoming more affordable, MIT Technology Review says. Solar power concentrators are all in rage now: 'The thinking behind concentrated solar power is simple. Because energy from the sun, although abundant, is diffuse, generating one gigawatt of power (the size of a typical utility-scale plant) using traditional photovoltaics requires a four-square-mile area of silicon, says Jerry Olson, a research scientist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, in Golden, CO. A concentrator system, he says, would replace most of the silicon with plastic or glass lenses or metal reflectors, requiring only as much semiconductor material as it would take to cover an area the size of a typical backyard. And because decreasing the amount of semiconductor needed makes it affordable to use much more efficient types of solar cells, the total footprint of the plant, including the reflectors or lenses, would be only two to two-and-a-half square miles.'"
11/10/06 - Google gives better diagnosis than GPs
Next time your doctor appears baffled over what is wrong with you, you could try suggesting he "google for a diagnosis." Researchers have found that a simple Google search can crack the toughest diagnostic problems which foil even the brightest medical specialists. Modern medicine is so complex that the average doctor, estimated to carry around two million medical facts in his head, does not have a big enough brain to be capable of identifying every ailment presented to the surgery or clinic. But Google gives access to more than three billion medical articles on the web and may be the most powerful diagnostic aid available to doctors. To test the value of Google as a clinical tool, researchers from Brisbane University, Australia selected 26 of the hardest cases and found the search engine got the correct diagnosis in more than half of them (58 per cent) - with just a few strokes of the key board. Google successfully diagnosed conditions ranging from Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) the degenerative brain disorder to Cat Scratch disease, an infection causing swelling of the lymph nodes after an animal scratch. The researchers, who were unaware of the correct diagnosis, entered between three and five search terms and selected the three most prominent results thrown up by Google that seemed to fit the signs and symptoms. In some cases they rejected the Google diagnosis as not being accurate enough. For example it correctly diagnosed extrinsic allergic alveolitis in a patient with breathing problems but did not specify it was "hot tub lung" caused by Mycobacterium Avium, a bug that thrives in hot tubs which are becoming increasingly popular. The authors acknowledge that they are not the first to discover the power of Google as a diagnostic aid - patients have been using it for years. They describe the case of a 16-year-old water polo player who came to hospital with a swollen and painful arm. After evaluating him, they started to explain the source of the pain, caused by a thrombosis [blood clot], when the boy's father blurted out: "But of course he has Paget-von Schrotter syndrome" and proceeded to give the doctors a mini-tutorial on the features of the condition and how it should be treated. He was correct on all fronts - and had found his information by googling it.
11/10/06 - 'Bubbles of nothing' electronics
AN Australian-designed non-electronic semiconductor 100 times narrower than a human hair has taken out the Australasian Science Prize for 2006. The wire, hailed as a research first, uses holes between electrons, rather than electrons themselves, to carry currents. It could lead to faster and more energy-efficient computers, which currently rely on electrical methods. "It really turns electronics on its head," he said. "Here we've got bubbles of nothing that really are something. "Typically when you learn at school electrons carry current and here, it's the absence of electrons."
11/10/06 - Shrinking Glaciers confirm Global Warming
SWEDEN'S glaciers are melting at a rate that conforms to global warming climate models, Swedish researchers said today. "In the past glaciers in the north (of Sweden) showed a pattern that did not correspond with climate change models (of global warming), they could even be used as an argument against global warming. According to provisional measurements the Tarfala glacier in northern Sweden melted around one metre in the past year. "Melting (from Swedish glaciers) has been particularly strong this year" and similar measurements have been recorded in the past five to six years, Mr Holmlund said. In the past six years Scandinavian glaciers had melted at a similar rate to glaciers in the Alps and North America during the 1980s. Researchers from Stockholm University have continuously taken readings from 20 of Sweden's 300 glaciers since 1946. The group takes detailed recordings from Tarfala glacier in particular, the biggest glacier in Sweden, measuring three square kilometres.
11/10/06 - Sewer waste into Energy
Heat will come partly from solid waste, and mostly from warm water that runs in sewage pipes after draining out of toilets, showers and sinks. The sewage temperature - between 55 and 60 degrees - combined with a constant ground temperature of about 55 provides a viable ground source for a heat-pump system. Simply put, the system would transfer energy from one place to another. The system should sufficiently heat and cool Lear's 8,000-square-foot building about 95 percent of the time. For the remainder, Lear will pool 1,800 gallons of water in the basement, also using the water to irrigate the building's lawn. It's a bit expensive - the system costs $20,000 more than traditional systems - but if it works well, Lear hopes it could be eventually used by the masses. The city is helping with some costs, paying $10,000 to install a steel pipe to connect the sewer to the building's system.
11/10/06 - Search for electricity goes underwater
Tidal power proponents liken the technology to little wind turbines on steroids, turning like windmills in the current. Water's greater density means fewer and smaller turbines are needed to produce the same amount of electricity as wind turbines. The site that is furthest along in testing lies in New York's East River, between the boroughs of Manhattan and Queens, where Verdant Power plans to install two underwater turbines this month as part of a small pilot project. Power from the turbines will be routed to a supermarket and parking garage on nearby Roosevelt Island. If all goes well, New York-based Verdant could have up to 300 turbines in the river by 2008, Taylor said. The turbines would produce as much as 10 megawatts of power, or enough electricity for 8,000 homes, he said. With 12,380 miles of coastline, the U.S. may seem like a wide-open frontier for the fledgling industry, but experts believe only a few will prove profitable. The ideal sites are close to a power grid and have large amounts of fast-moving water with enough room to build on the sea floor while staying clear of boat traffic. In the United States, wave energy technology is less advanced than tidal and will need more government subsidies, Bedard said, however, the number of good wave sites far exceeds that of tidal. Wave power collection involves cork or serpent-like devices that absorb energy from swells on the ocean's surface, whereas tidal machines sit on the sea floor.
11/10/06 - Jamaica deciding on liquefied vs compressed natural gas technology
Jamaica depends on expensive imported oil for over 90 per cent of its energy needs and last year spent US$1.5 billion for the 27 million barrels of oil consumed by the island. Approximately 24 per cent of that oil is used in power plants for the domestic grid. However, experts point out that it is inherently inefficient to convert oil into electricity. With the latest technology, only 50 per cent of the energy would be lost from the oil burnt. However, Jamaican officials say that with the island's ageing technology, electricity producers are losing up to 70 per cent in the conversion process. Natural gas is cheaper than oil and technologies for its conversion to energy are more efficient. Initially, it was projected that a 1.2 million tonne LNG storage and regasification plant would be built here, from which natural gas would be piped directly to a 193 megawatt plant to Alcoa refinery in Clarendon, as well as to power plants operated by Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) as private producers. When the idea was floated more than three years ago, the expected price tag for the LNG facility was US$250 million, but recent engineering studies suggest that it will be nearer to US$400 million. That is giving officials here second thoughts, who now say it would befar cheaper, and just as effective, to set up a floating facility at Port Esquivel in St Catherine, from which the gas would be piped to the power plants. It would cost perhaps US$50 million to establish the berthing facility and installing pipelines.
11/09/06 - Peter Kelly's work LIVES ON
(I am delighted to have received an email from Cathy Jordan of a new website dedicated to the work of our late friend Peter Kelly. The guy was a good friend and a GENIUS and I hope they can carry on the work in the same way Peter did. - JWD) Originally organized under the names Interdimensional Sciences, Inc. (1984) and Dimensional Sciences, Inc. (1985), for 20 years inventor Peter J. Kelly designed, manufactured and distributed variable capacitance scalar tuning devices, as well as a family of related devices, and the BETAR sound relaxation systems. Over time the "Kelly Instruments" came to be well known throughout the field of radionics for their ease of use, dependability and ability to produce consistent results. Peter Kelly was also active in the accumulation and dissemination of both the theoretical and applied knowledge needed to nurture and spread the field of Psychotronics. He was an active collaborator with such giants as T. Galen Hieronymus, Lt. Colonel Tom Bearden, Robert Beck, and Robert Beutlich, among many, many others, and was one of the organizing members of the United States Psychotronic Association.
11/09/06 - Dark Matter Mostly Socks, Keys, Ballpoints
Thanks to recent advances in technology it has now been definitively proven that dark matter consists mostly of the subatomic remains of "missing ballpoints, socks and keys", according to a cosmologist involved in the discovery, thus effectively solving several great mysteries of the universe in one go. The difficulty that had previously stymied efforts to identify dark matter's composition is the fact that the only means by which the substance is known to interact with traditional, visible matter is through its gravitational force. Beyond that, dark matter simply passes through visible matter as though it wasn't there. Its vague name is due to the fact that scientists originally could predict and observe its existence only indirectly by measuring the gravitational influence of dark matter on very large structures such as galactic clusters, but had no idea what it actually was. "Most dark matter particles," Dr. Shoo explained, "as observed in the dark matter subatomic clocktrometer are in fact the minute remains of commonly misplaced household items such as socks, keys, ballpoint pens, remote controls and cell phones. If you've been wondering where these keep creeping off to, now you know." Prior to Drs. Shoo and McSquaird's discovery, the common disappearance of such items was attributed to carelessness, memory lapses and other human traits. Now, however, it appears cosmological forces are actually at work, continually strengthening and rebuilding the fundamental building blocks of the universe while exasperating harried householders by converting wayward latchkeys into dark matter oublions.
11/09/06 - VTT Develop Biofuel Cell Power Source for Consumer Applications
An enzyme-based power source is a viable source of electricity for the rapidly proliferating RFID tags used in the medical sector and logistics. Applications include plasters containing a memory circuit and measuring electrode for temperature, and sensors monitoring food quality. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is developing printable biofuel cells in which enzymes convert the energy bound in the renewable fuels - sugar, alcohols, etc. - into electricity. VTT is developing an enzyme-based power source that converts the chemical energy bound in the organic compounds (fuels) into electricity. The enzymes act as catalysts that facilitate the use of e.g. sugar and alcohols as fuels. VTT's invention is based on the use of the fungal laccase enzyme on the cathodic compartment. A patent on the solution, which has yielded a 0.7V voltage with a current density of 20 microampere per square metre, is pending. Laccase is also suitable for printable technology applications as it retains its ability to produce electricity even when printed on paper. Printable enzyme-based power sources are compact, inexpensive and disposable. Potential applications include sensors used in the logistics chain, temperature sensors for food products, adhesive medical sensors and printed screens. Applications will probably become more widespread in the 2010s. The enzymes replace the traditional precious metal catalysts, and the fuel cells operate with good overall efficiency in standard pressure at ambient temperature. The ability to mass-produce the fuel cells as printable products will enable a dramatic reduction in costs. They are also disposable, thanks to the biodegradable raw materials and fuels. The development of biofuel cells is being carried out within the framework of the Printable Miniature Power Sources project, in which the Helsinki University of Technology (coordinator), VTT and Åbo Akademi are acting as research partners.
11/09/06 - $130 Toy Hydrogen Fuel Cell car runs on Water
An external fueling station uses electrolysis to extract hydrogen gas from distilled water and sends the gas to a small balloon inside the car that acts as the hydrogen storage tank. The hydrogen is slowly released from the balloon into the onboard fuel cell where it reacts with oxygen to generate electricity to propel the car's motor. Refueling takes 10 minutes and the car can run in a straight line for three minutes and can travel up to 325' on a full tank. T he fueling station is powered by a solar panel or 2 AA batteries. 6 1/3" L x 2 3/4" W. (7 oz.)
11/09/06 - Cell Transplants restore Sight
Cell transplants have successfully restored vision to mice which had lost their sight, leading to hopes people could benefit in the same way. UK scientists treated animals which had eye damage similar to that seen in many human eye diseases. They were able to help them see again by transplanting immature retinal stem cells into their eyes. If the results can be translated into a treatment for human eye disease, it could help the millions of people with conditions ranging from age-related macular degeneration to diabetes. Once the cone and rod photoreceptors in a retina are lost, they cannot be replaced. Andrew Dick, professor of ophthalmology at the University of Bristol, added: "As with any basic research we have to be careful not to overhype. However, this is a stunning piece of research that may in the distant future lead to transplants in humans to relieve blindness."
11/09/06 - 4 Seconds Loading Time Is Maximum For Websurfers
"Of course we all want webpages to load as fast as possible, but now research has finally shown it: four seconds loading time is the maximum threshold for websurfers. Akamai and JupiterResearch have conducted a study among 1,000 online shoppers and have found, among other results, that one third of respondents have, at one point, left a shopping website because of the overall 'poor experience.' 75% of them do not intend ever to come back to this website again. Online shopper loyalty also increases as loading time of webpages decreases. Will this study finally show developers of shopping websites the importance of the performance of their websites?"
11/09/06 - Radar to spot enemy fighters - not zap passing cars
Something odd was happening on the winding coastal road between Mundesley and Cromer in Norfolk. Cars were going haywire - engines cutting out, electric windows jamming and alarms blaring - as they passed the Second World War radar station outside the pretty seaside village of Trimingham. After a year of conspiracy theories that would have filled an episode of The X-Files, the Ministry of Defence finally admitted responsibility for the strange goings on yesterday. Defence chiefs said that faulty high-powered radar was shooting pulses of microwave radiation on to the road, which is used by thousands of commuters and holidaymakers each day. The RAF admitted yesterday that there had been a fault radar between November last year and February. It insisted, there was no danger to the public or its personnel. However, it is already considering 15 claims for compensation and expects more. The culprit was a Type 93 radar which is designed to track aircraft up to 200 miles away over the North Sea with pulses that can be as powerful as the radiation from a million mobile telephones. The problem occurred in some of the “phase shifters” which control the direction of the hundreds of thousands of radiating antennae which create the microwave pulses. Stepan Lucyszyn, a reader in millimetre-wave electronics at Imperial College, London, said: “These 1.1 megawatt radars have sufficient energy to cause significant electrical inter- ference to nearby electronic systems, as found in passing cars, especially when all the energy is confined to a pencil-shaped beam. More serious could be the potential hazard to humans.” Paul Brennan, a reader in electronics at University College London, said that the microwave pulse would have entered the cars through their windscreens or plastic grills. “It’s a little similar to a nearby lightning strike that can disrupt electronic equipment,” he said.
11/09/06 - 'Mechanical Turk' pays people to perform tasks computers cannot do
Some day, your boss could be a faceless Mechanical Turk who doles out tasks over the Internet. For nearly a year, Amazon.com's Mechanical Turk (mturk.com) has paid amounts ranging from one cent to several dollars for tasks that take a few seconds to a few minutes to complete. The jobs include taking surveys, contributing to a restaurant guide, transcribing audio clips, and looking at photos on the Web to identify colors, street addresses, or human faces. Curtis Taylor has made about $1,400 since last December just "fooling around with" Mechanical Turk while he watched TV at night. The technical instructor, who lives near Louisville, Ky., used the extra income to buy a new computer and wireless headsets for his and his wife's cellphones. The Mechanical Turk has given a 21st-century twist to the centuries-old concepts of "cottage industry" and "piece work." People work in their homes and are paid based on how much they produce instead of an hourly wage, using the Internet connections that have become a standard feature in most homes. Though most jobs assigned by the Turk are simple (many could be done by children), they have something else in common: They can't be done by computers - at least not very well. It turns out, artificial intelligence (AI) still needs a little help from human intelligence. The "Mechanical Turk" refers to an 18th-century hoax involving a mechanical chess-playing automaton. Outfitted with whirling gears and a head topped with a turban, the Turk toured Europe, defeating human opponents. But the impressive-looking robot was a fake: A human chess master was hidden inside. More than two centuries later, online retailing giant Amazon.com found its AI programs were struggling to solve a number of problems, such as telling whether two similar but slightly different Web pages displaying products were really duplicates. The story of the Turk led the company to a counterintuitive solution: Use humans to work behind the computer screen.
11/09/06 - DARPA Starts Ultimate Language Translation Project
"Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched the ultimate speech translation engine project that would be capable of real-time interpretation of television and radio programs as well as printed or online textual information in order to be summarized, abstracted, and presented to human analysts emphasizing points of particular interest."
11/08/06 - Tilley skips town, shareholders up in arms
(The Tilley Saga continues. Tilley Claimed a mysterious 'spinner' which put out 3 times more energy than needed to run the variable DC motor. The output charged a network of 8 - 12vdc batteries which fed a 2500Watt inverter to operate his building and run the motor that drives the spinner. - JWD) "Tilley Charger" in his circuit is actually nothing but a GM 120-amp alternator. Self-running system alleged to work, but not to the extent claimed. Court order requires Tilley to prove his technology by the middle of November or he goes to jail. / More Info; Results of the States' Test of the Tilley Spinner and a Carl Tilley Update - Independent investigation questions invention
11/08/06 - Biggest Solar Power Plant in Australia
Solar Systems managing director Dave Holland got the nod for his innovative approach to solar energy and a $420 million power station using hi-tech mirrors called heliostats which will pump sunlight on to super solar cells on the top of a 40m tower. The project has also received a $50million grant from the Victorian Government's Energy Technology Innovations Fund. In the spring, it seems, everyone loves a winner. "If Holland can get his costs down to $50 per megawatt hour, he is right in the play," says Brad Page, chief executive of the Energy Supply Association of Australia. "This is quite an unusual approach. Where he has got some advantages is the volume of sunlight he is concentrating and capturing, and, second, the quality of the photovoltaics (converting light to energy) he is using. I think it's in the space where you have got to start feeling a bit more positive about some of these new approaches to solar that just aren't about stacking solar cells on your roof." The diffuse nature of solar has meant that conventional photovoltaic systems, which transform parts of the spectrum of light rays directly into electrical energy, need too much to generate too little power. Their electricity costs about 10 times the power from fossil fuels and their applications are limited to specific remote applications. The other problem with these cells is they cannot cope with high temperatures. Some solar technologies have looked to magnifying and collecting the sun's energy to generate high temperatures, which can then be used to run more conventional steam turbines. These solar thermal technologies are cheaper and more promising. Solar Systems thinks it has gone one better. It has developed breakthrough photovoltaic cells that can withstand temperatures that would melt steel while delivering a wider band of the sun's light directly into electricity, claiming about 35 per cent transformation efficiency. "Like most good technology, it's a very powerful combination of smart engineering and simple concepts," Holland says. The company will build its 154 megawatt power station in about six large areas covering 600ha to 800ha in yet to be determined sites across the Mildura region, chosen for its relatively high levels of sunshine and suitable topography for broad-acre solar farming.
11/08/06 - Automatic wave driven desalination system
Conventional purification plants have high energy demands, the rocking motion of floating buoys could be used to drive a pump system for desalination. Stephen Salter at Edinburgh University, UK, first designed a device to generate electricity from wave power in the 1970s. It was dubbed the 'Edinburgh Duck' because buoyant cylinders on one side resembled a beak, while the other, tethered end bobbed up and down as it rode the waves. Salter and colleagues are now working on a version that purifies seawater by driving a pump with its rocking motion. This would avoid the high energy demands of conventional desalination plants, and could be installed in arid countries with good access to seawater, such as Australia and Israel. The "desalinating ducks" convert wave energy into pressure changes that aid the collection of pure water as steam from seawater. By lowering air pressure, the system can draw steam from water at lower temperatures. The hollow core of each duck is half-filled with freshwater, to avoid corrosion and act as ballast, with the air above divided by a central section. To start working, the ballast water must be pre-heated to about 100°C but the whole system is insulated so that it only gradually loses heat and only needs to be refilled about once a month. The central section contains a heat exchanger that both heats seawater and collects the steam produced. As the duck rocks on the waves the ballast water acts like a piston - increasing the air pressure on one side of the central partition and reducing it on the other. The low pressure helps draw steam out of seawater inside the partition. This steam is then condensed and the purified water is pumped ashore through the two legs that tether the duck to the seabed. The more concentrated seawater left behind collects in the bottom of the central section and can be dumped back into the sea. Scale models are currently being tested in wave tanks although these pump air rather than water. The final versions will be around 10 metres in diameter and 20 metres long. "One unit should be able to produce around 2000 cubic metres a day," says Salter. "That's enough to supply water for more than 20,000 people."
11/08/06 - 'Nanoporous' material gobbles up hydrogen fuel
The US Department of Energy (DoE) has set a target of finding materials capable of holding enough hydrogen to make up 6% of its own total mass by 2010. But these must also release hydrogen rapidly if it is to be used to refuel vehicles. Svec and FrÃ©chet created nanoporous polymers by heating and chemically treating styrene â€“ an abundant hydrocarbon used to manufacture some plastics. The resulting material has an abundance of pores, each less than 2 nanometres in diameter. Hydrogen atoms naturally stick to the polymer, when cooled to around 77 Kelvin (-196Â°C), by forming surface bonds. This allows them to pack tightly inside the material's pores. The material then releases the hydrogen when the temperature is raised or the pressure is reduced. Svec and FrÃ©chet found that at roughly 40 times atmospheric pressure, the nanoporous polymers contained 3.8% hydrogen. And, at atmospheric pressure, they contained 1.5% hydrogen.
11/08/06 - Engineers develop revolutionary nanotech water desalination membrane
Reverse osmosis desalination uses extremely high pressure to force saline or polluted waters through the pores of a semi-permeable membrane. Water molecules under pressure pass through these pores, but salt ions and other impurities cannot, resulting in highly purified water. "The nanoparticles are designed to attract water and are highly porous, soaking up water like a sponge, while repelling dissolved salts and other impurities," Hoek said. "The water-loving nanoparticles embedded in our membrane also repel organics and bacteria, which tend to clog up conventional membranes over time." With these improvements, less energy is needed to pump water through the membranes. Because they repel particles that might ordinarily stick to the surface, the new membranes foul more slowly than conventional ones. The result is a water purification process that is just as effective as current methods but more energy efficient and potentially much less expensive. Initial tests suggest the new membranes have up to twice the productivity -- or consume 50 percent less energy -- reducing the total expense of desalinated water by as much as 25 percent.
11/08/06 - Laser Healing
Research carried out by the US Department of Defense (DoD) shows that laser light can help heal such injuries. It could provide an alternative to glues, sutures or staples, which can all cause disfigurement and infection. And it might even be used to repair damaged eyes, its inventors claim. DoD experts found that rose Bengal sodium, a dye commonly used to stain biological samples, absorbs light with a wavelength of 550 nanometres. In addition, instead of simply getting hotter as light is absorbed, the dye releases oxygen and catalyses the cross-linking of nearby amino acids. So, if the dye is painted onto the sides of a torn tendon, and illuminated while the tear is held closed, collagen will bind it together and give natural healing a kick start. A lengthy patent application details numerous successful experiments carried out by the DoD's Medical Free Electron Laser Program.
11/08/06 - Electricity from Sugar Water
Researchers at the University of Minnesota have developed a catalytic method for producing hydrogen from fuels such soy oil and even a mixture of glucose and water. The hydrogen could be used in solid-oxide fuel cells, which now run on hydrogen obtained from fossil-fuel sources such as natural gas, to generate electricity. Further, by adjusting the amount of oxygen injected along with the soy oil or sugar water, the method can be adapted to make synthesis gas, a combination of carbon monoxide and hydrogen that can be burned as fuel or converted into synthetic gasoline. The method can also produce chemical feedstocks, such as olefins, which can be made into plastics. The process begins when the researchers spray fine droplets of soy oil or sugar water onto a super-hot catalyst made of small amounts of cerium and rhodium. The rapid heating combined with catalyst-assisted reactions prevents the formation of carbon sludge that would otherwise deactivate the catalyst. And the reactions produce heat, keeping the catalyst hot enough to continue the reaction. As a result, although fossil fuels are used initially to bring the catalysts up to the 800 °C working temperature, no fossil fuels are needed to continue the process.
11/08/06 - Watching Porn Reduces Sex Crimes
Two studies, one by Clemson professor Todd Kendal and the other by University of California professors Gordon Dahl and Stefano DellaVigna, apparently arrive to the counter-intuitive conclusions that watching pornography online (the former) and watching violent movies (the latter) actually leads to a decline in sex crimes and homicides, respectively.
11/08/06 - Stem cell cure for heart attacks
The procedure, being pioneered by British doctors, holds out hope of a 'cure' as the stem cells repair damaged heart muscles. The low-cost treatment, which involves removing stem cells from the patient's bone marrow, could be given within a few hours of a heart attack. It is intended to stop patients suffering further attacks and developing heart failure, something existing treatments fail to do in many cases. People who suffer a heart attack and are taken to the London Chest Hospital or London Heart Hospital for treatment will be asked for written consent to take part in the study. After their angioplasty, those who agree will have stem cells removed from their hip using a needle under local anaesthetic. The stem cells will then be placed in the same artery as the angioplasty - all within five hours of their original attack. Doctors will then monitor the patients over the following months to establish how effective the stem cell treatment has been at preventing heart failure and repairing the damaged organ. The cost for each procedure has not yet been worked out. But Professor Martin said it would be very low as the cells come from the patients themselves, it does not prolong their hospital stay and the only expense is on needles and laboratory time separating out the muscle cells.
11/08/06 - Mass Producing Engineered Organs
Bioartificial kidneys seem to work, but can we make enough for everyone who needs one? The external bioartificial kidney device passes blood through a cartridge of human kidney cells. In early clinical trials, it was shown to improve patient survival one month after treatment better than dialysis alone. "The question is, How do you turn 100 donated kidneys into 100,000 devices?" says David Humes, an internist at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, and creator of the device. "You have to isolate the cells, expand them, and make sure they haven't lost any potency in the process." In the United States, 400,000 people have chronic kidney problems that require weekly dialysis, and 120,000 suffer acute renal failure, in which kidney function is knocked out by toxins or infection. Dialysis extends the lives of these patients, but it's not a cure: life expectancy for most patients is just five years. Traditional dialysis filters and discards metabolic waste from the blood, and then returns cleansed blood to the patient. Humes's artificial kidney, also known as a renal assist device, adds an extra step to this process, passing blood and filtrate through a cartridge of human kidney cells. Humes theorizes that these cells perform some of the kidney's noncleansing functions, such as regulating inflammation and metabolic processes, by secreting crucial chemicals into the blood.
11/07/06 - Exergia's new energy shop kits
Exergia has a ton of great kits... - "Sophisticated demonstration models of alternative energy technologies for universities, schools and interested individuals: Stirling Engines and steam engines, fuel cells, photovoltaic objects, toys and more! Discover extraordinary ideas in energy related devices: Educational devices inspired by old and new concepts to demonstrate the physical principles of conventional and alternative energy conversion."
11/07/06 - Closed-Loop Ethanol Plant to Start Production
The first closed-loop system for distilling commercial quantities of ethanol using methane gas recaptured from cow manure is set to begin production next month in Mead, Nebraska. The plant's technology will virtually eliminate the need for fossil fuels in the production of ethanol. The closed-loop system -- derived from an exclusive patent co-owned by an affiliate of E3 BioFuels -- combines a 25-million-gallon ethanol refinery, beef cattle feedlot and anaerobic digesters to maximize energy efficiencies unavailable to each component on a stand-alone basis. "This plant will make ethanol more than twice as energy-efficient as any other method of producing ethanol or gasoline." "The Genesis plant effectively serves as a diligent steward of the environment -- producing a clean-burning motor fuel, solving water run-off pollution from agricultural wastes, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions," added Langley.
11/07/06 - A Sunshade In Space To Combat Global Warming
2 foot-diameter flyers at L1. They are transparent, but blur out transmitted light into a donut, as shown for the background stars. The transmitted sunlight is also spread out, so it misses the Earth. This way of removing the light avoids radiation pressure, which would otherwise degrade the L1 orbit. "While the only permanent solution for human-driven global warming is developing renewable energy, a temporary hack to counteract possible abrupt climate change is to build a giant sunshade in space. The sunshade would be launched in small pieces by electromagnetic launchers, conventional chemical rockets being far too expensive. The sunshade could be developed and deployed in 25 years, would last about 50 years, and would reduce the amount of sunlight reaching Earth by 2% - enough to balance heating due to a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere." From the article: "The [trillions of] spacecraft would form a long, cylindrical cloud with a diameter about half that of Earth, and about 10 times longer... Sunlight passing through the 60,000-mile length of the cloud, pointing lengthwise between the Earth and the sun [at L-1], would be diverted away from our planet... The sunshade could be deployed by a total 20 electromagnetic launchers [collectively] launching a stack of [a million] fliers every 5 minutes for 10 years."
11/07/06 - Euthanase disabled babies, say doctors
The college is arguing that "active euthanasia" should be considered for the overall good of families, and to to spare parents the emotional burden and financial hardship of bringing up the hardest-hit babies. "A very disabled child can mean a disabled family," the doctors say. "If life-shortening and deliberate interventions to kill infants were available, they might have an impact on obstetric decision-making, even preventing some late abortions, as some parents would be more confident about continuing a pregnancy and taking a risk on outcome." Geneticists and medical ethicists supported the proposal - as did the mother of a severely disabled child - but a prominent children's doctor described it as social engineering. The proposal does not spell out which conditions might justify euthanasia, but in The Netherlands mercy killing is permitted for babies with a range of incurable conditions, including severe spina bifida and the painful skin condition called epidermolysis bullosa. Pieter Sauer, co-author of the Groningen Protocol, the Dutch national guidelines on euthanasia of newborns, claims British pediatricians unofficially perform mercy killings, and says the practice should be open. Edna Kennedy of Newcastle upon Tyne, whose son suffered epidermolysis bullosa, said: "In extremely controlled circumstances, where the baby is really suffering, it should be an option for the mother."
11/07/06 - 10 million Europeans lose power due to one downed wire
(Another good argument for autonomous home and business power technologies to get us off the antique electrical grid system. - JWD) Ten million Europeans lost electricity yesterday, and it appears that the cascading failure was precipitated by shutting down a single power-line in Germany. The company says systems may have become overloaded after a high-voltage transmission line was shut down over a river to let a ship pass. Resulting power outages affected as many as ten million people in Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Belgium and Spain.
11/07/06 - Thinning out the Useless Eater
(Thanks to Chris Gupta for this interesting info. - JWD)
"Many writers have spoken of intentional plans by certain Elite to thin-out the world's population; it's a recurring theme among so-called conspiracy theorists. There are frequent references to "useless eaters", which includes the bulk of mankind. Most, when hearing of plots to depopulate the planet, simply say under their breath, "Yeah, right," or more often, while shaking their head, "You're nuts." But when there is a careful examination of writings by prominent authors of this century, pieces of the puzzle certainly do fall into place - pieces which support the contention that there are certain individuals, if not entire governments, who have implemented a program of global genocide in an effort to salvage and corner "resources"."
Have extracted the above from THINNING OUT THE USELESS EATER. It is germane to the following letter (embellished as usual) which provides good fodder for thought. Unfortunately not much can be done unless some sort of pain factor is introduced. Most are kept busy "barefoot and pregnant" as it were. Mass dissidence primarily by the intellectual community is needed. Unfortunately they are so easily bought, else we should not be in this mess, and will continue to do the bidding of the controllers totally oblivious to the fact that they are next in line in the gravy train! / From the letter; What's your preference? Nuclear holocaust? Forced sterlizations? Manufactured plagues to wipe out all but a few (preferably some other ethnic group, perhaps)? But if other avenues of thinking are opened up, then we should be able to see that humanity need not go down that suicidal road. For a clearly made case of technology suppression so that we are forced to keep burning oil, one that "stands up in court", go see the film "Who Killed the Electric Car?" next time it comes to the Bytowne Cinema. Just enter words like "suppression + clean energy + death threat" into your search engine and see what comes up. You can find the actual reports of individuals close to a breakthrough, or actually achieving a working prototype, who backed off and destroyed their plans and took down websites when a gun was poked into their faces and their families were threatened with murder. What we need is a truly free market in which people have the right to create and manufacture devices and products with zero or safe emissions, and the public has the right to choose freely to buy them and use them without hindrance. Then our biological footprints on the ecosystem would be a lot lighter, and we wouldn't need to engage in these Malthusian musings about the need for mass murders and probably genocides in order to "save the planet". - Mary-Sue Haliburton
11/07/06 - OxyCyte SuperBlood 50 times oxygen content
Oxycyte is a new artificial blood that can absorb 50 times the oxygen of normal blood. “The benefit of hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers is that oxygen is loaded onto them when we’re breathing room air,” Gould says. That is, hemoglobin-based substitutes work just like our own blood. To get the full effect from Oxycyte, on the other hand, a patient breathes in 50 to 100 percent oxygen four hours before receiving it and for 12 hours after it’s infused (air contains 21 percent oxygen). “That’s a logistical limitation,” Gould says, “and in general, it’s preferable not to breathe supplemental oxygen if it can be avoided.” In past PFC studies, patients were found to experience a transient swelling of the liver as it absorbed the oily molecules of the PFC; some patients demonstrated a decrease in platelet count, which can hinder the blood’s ability to clot; and some suffered short-term flu-like effects. Spiess has a quick response to concerns like these: “If you’ve been hit in the head or you’ve been shot or you’re having a stroke, you don’t sweat the flu-like symptoms.” All drugs have some measure of toxicity, Spiess says. It’s simply a case of the good outweighing the bad.
11/07/06 - Did Dolphins walk on Land?
Japanese researchers said Sunday a bottlenose dolphin captured last month has an extra set of fins that could be the remains of back legs, providing further evidence ocean-dwelling mammals once lived on land. Fishermen captured the four-finned dolphin off the coast of Wakayama prefecture in western Japan on Oct. 28 and alerted the nearby Taiji Whaling Museum, said museum director Katsuki Hayashi. Fossil remains show dolphins and whales were four-footed land animals about 50 million years ago and share the same common ancestor as hippos and deer. Scientists believe they later transitioned to an aquatic lifestyle and their hind limbs disappeared. Though odd-shaped protrusions have been found near the tails of dolphins and whales captured in the past, researchers thought it was the first time one had been found with well-developed, symmetrical fins, Hayashi said. The second set of fins - much smaller than the dolphin's front fins - are about the size of human hands and protrude from near the tail on the dolphin's underside. The dolphin measures 2.72 metres and is about five years old, the museum said. A freak mutation may have caused the ancient trait to reassert itself, Osumi said.
11/06/06 - Students take algae-to-biofuel project to MIT
Holly Jacobson and Tessa Churchill, seniors at Greely High School in Cumberland, are at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology today, explaining how they would use fast-growing algae to help solve the energy crisis. In a nutshell, the young women may have found a way to produce more biodiesel fuel while consuming fewer organic resources. The project got its start two years ago when Jacobson and Churchill began examining natural oils stored in fatty acids -- called lipids -- in various forms of marine algae. Recently, they identified a strain of algae that produces more oil for a given mass. "We started generally looking into biodiesel, but it wasn't until last year that we started identifying the specific lipids," Jacobson said.
11/06/06 - Hyperthermia effective for cancer treatment
Using temperatures of 40 degree celsius together with anticancer drugs and radiation has been effective in treating cancer. Cancer cells have a high degree of acidity and are influenced by high temperatures. In addition, blood vessels in cancerous tissues do not expand even if heated. Thus, such vessels cannot radiate heat enough and are liable to have higher temperatures, they said. Heating also destroys repaired protein generated by cancer cells damaged by anticancer drugs and radiation. Radiation is not effective against cancer cells when they are in the period of growth, but heating has proven to be effective during growth periods as well. “A multiple effect can be expected using other methods of treatment together. Healthy cells are not influenced even if heated. There are almost no side-effects, as burns rarely occur in skin and subcutaneous fat,” Valentina Ostapenko, a doctor from Ukraine working at the Nishide Hospital here said. Specialised equipment is used for heating. A patient on the bed is sandwiched by electrode plates from above and below, and radio waves are directed at the lesion. By using radio waves, the water molecule in cancer cells begins to move quickly, generating frictional heat. “We are using the equipment once a week together with anticancer drugs and once or twice a week with radiation,” Ostapenko said.
11/06/06 - Biomimetic Enhanced Fuel Cells
New 'Biomimetic' technology breakthrough will boost power and cut manufacturing costs of fuel cells. This British innovation drew inspiration from observing how animals and plants 'breathe'. It is claimed that it boosts power output of fuel cells by 16%. dCHP works by using the waste heat produced by power generation rather than rejecting it into the atmosphere. Typically for CHP, the proportion of the used fuel’s energy rises from around 35% (conventional plant) to 85 - 90%. The patented Biomimetic bipolar plate technology developed by MFC drew its inspiration from the natural world. It mimics the structure seen in animal lungs and plant tissues to allow the gases to flow through the plate in a far more efficient way than has ever been achieved before. The Biomimetic plates also have the added advantage of being produced using MFC's patented ElectroEtch system, which allows them to be manufactured at a fraction of the time and cost of conventional methods. Dr Mark Turpin, Global Director of Technology for MFC, explains: "We realised by looking at how animal lungs and plant leaves 'breathe', that a structure consisting of large distribution channels feeding progressively smaller capillaries is the most efficient way to distribute reactants. "So we mimicked this approach in the Biomimetic plate, with a highly branched flow field that distributes gas through a fine system of capillaries. This structure reduces the pressure drop found in the industry-standard serpentine design of flow field and ensures a more even delivery of gas across the bipolar plate, so that more power can be extracted from the fuel cell.
11/06/06 - Amazon reviews of the Bible
From the Author - Please read my book, but don't take it too literally - some of my co-authors were a little too zealous and I'm not sure it all came out right in translation. If you want the short version, here it is: Be nice to each other, would you? It was a hellish job creating the world and all that, and I'd be most pleased if you didn't all mess it up. As you were. Love, God. (and much more at the link)
11/06/06 - Sticky plaster that can beat skin cancer
SCOTTISH scientists have invented a light-emitting "sticking plaster" for treating skin cancer which could revolutionise the way the disease is treated. The high-tech patch is operated by a pocket-sized battery and could allow patients to receive treatment at home or at a GP surgery instead of undergoing lengthy hospital visits. The latest technology is an adaptation of photodynamic therapy treatment (PDT) already available to skin cancer patients. During PDT, the affected area of skin is covered with a light- sensitive anti-cancer cream, which is activated by controlled exposure to a light source. "You can have more than one plaster on at a time, covering multiple areas of affected skin. We have tried it on more than 20 patients so far and the results are comparable with standard hospital photodynamic treatment." Like other forms of photo- dynamic therapy, the "sticking plaster" treatment is suitable only for less serious non-melanoma cancers near the surface of the skin. More dangerous, deeper melanoma skin cancer has to be treated with surgery, radiotherapy and, sometimes, chemotherapy.
11/06/06 - Soybean oil key to cheap BioFuel
Scientists have long dreamed of turning plant wastes like sawdust and cornstalks into lucrative types of renewable energy. Now, a research breakthrough at the University of Minnesota is bringing that dream closer. U scientists have discovered a clean, quick and relatively easy way to transform soybean oil into high-value gases that could be used to power fuel cells and other future energy sources. And because the process works with plant wastes too, researchers hope they're on to something big. Schmidt and his team have found a faster way. By spraying soybean oil directly onto a super-hot ceramic disk made of a catalyst material, almost instantly the mixture vaporizes into a valuable product called synthesis gas, or syngas. "But what it doesn't do is more important - it doesn't make coke, carbon," Schmidt said. Any cook who has overheated cooking oil knows it produces smoke and black gunk. "You just make a mess," Schmidt said. But Schmidt's super-hot process "just makes gases, and the main gas is hydrogen." Hydrogen is the main fuel source for hydrogen fuel cells, an existing technology that can transform gases into energy to power cars, homes and factories. And finding cheap sources of pure hydrogen has been one of the big hurdles to workable fuel cells. One of the thorniest economic problems of making biofuel from cornstalks or sawdust has been the daunting cost of transporting the bulky materials to a distant factory. With Schmidt's invention, you wouldn't have to - the "factory" could be located on a farm or at a sawmill. "If you can eliminate the need to haul volumes of this bulky biomass, by using a device such as Lanny's, all of a sudden you've changed the paradigm," Hemmingsen said. To date, most of the U's experiments have used an automotive fuel injector to spray soybean oil and sugar water on the super-heated disk.
11/06/06 - Incredible WWII Death Loss Statistics for all Countries
(So sad, all this loss of life. - JWD) World War II was the single deadliest conflict the world has ever seen, causing many tens of millions of deaths. The tables provide a detailed country-by-country count of death by side. The total estimated human loss of life caused by World War II, irrespective of political alignment, was roughly 62 million people. The civilian toll was around 37 million, the military toll about 25 million. The Allies lost around 51 million people, and the Axis lost 11 million. (Note that some Axis countries switched sides and reentered the war on the side of the Allies; those nations are included in the Allied count, regardless of when the deaths occurred.) There was a disproportionate loss of life and property; some nations had a higher casualty rate than others, due to a number of factors including military tactics, crimes against humanity, economic preparedness and the level of technology. Casualties by country - The casualties of World War II were suffered disproportionately by the various participants. This is especially true regarding civilian casualties.
11/06/06 - Flying Carpet patent denied
Albert Einstein's theory of relativity is wrong, according to a French scientist who claims to have discovered a new magnetic force that appears to support flying carpets and perpetual motion. But Professor Yuly Zagyansky has been refused a patent. Professor Zagyansky first applied for a patent more than five years ago. The European Patent Office (EPO) rejected his application for failing to describe a patentable invention. Zagyansky appealed, pointing out that the EPO had failed to find any evidence of prior art - and therefore that his 'invention' should be patentable. The European patent Office simply could not understand what Professor Zagyansky was talking about in what he called a "revolutionary scientific theory of century (sic)". The EPO's Board of Appeal decided it was more theory than invention. An office for granting patents cannot be a discussion forum for new physical theories unless these are unambiguously proven, are of a technical nature and capable of industrial application, it said. A previous application from the Professor discusses 'Aeroplane Carpets', perpetual motion and evidence of other universes. / An example of his claims; US Patent Application 20050118559 - Zagyansky, Yuly - June 2, 2005 - Post Einstein-Bohr definitive end and development of new physics with consequences as super accelerators and direct electricity transformation into light / AND / EPO WO9956288 - NOVEL FORCE NOVEL PHYSICS: EINSTEIN-BOHR FALSEHOOD, CONSERVED MASS, CHARGES GENERATED BY IRRADIATION, ELECTRIC FIELD NEUTRINO-CONDUCTORS; PERPETUAL MOTION MACHINE AND "AEROPLANE CARPETS" - The invention concerns magnetic forces borne as a result of mutual deformations of existing electric fields. In admitting the deformations of said electric fields according to their relative movements, a novel unknown force is revealed which prevents the electron from approaching the nucleus. To create the perpetual motion machine, the electric field is temporarily eliminated by local elimination of upsilon and upsilon (with intense gamma irradiation and elimination of the charged particles) and the fieldless charges are massively separated. The "Aeroplane-carpets" are created by eliminating the gravitational field,thus bringing proof of the existence of other universes with their titanic energy producing reaction.
11/06/06 - Our Sun - A Star With Two North Poles
Three years ago, something weird happened to the Sun. Normally, our star, like Earth itself, has a north and a south magnetic pole. But for nearly a month beginning in March 2000, the Sun's south magnetic pole faded, and a north pole emerged to take its place. The Sun had two north poles. "It sounds impossible, but it's true," says space physicist Pete Riley of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) in San Diego. "In fact, it's a fairly normal side-effect of the solar cycle." Every 11 years around solar maximum, the Sun's magnetic field goes haywire as the Sun's underlying magnetic dynamo reorganizes itself. The March 2000 event was simply a part of that upheaval. "The south pole never really vanished," notes Riley. It migrated north and, for a while, became a band of south magnetic flux smeared around the Sun's equator. By May 2000 the south pole had returned to its usual spot near the Sun's southern spin axis - but not for long. In 2001 the solar magnetic field completely flipped; the south and north poles swapped positions, which is how they remain now. the biggest thing in the heliosphere is not a planet, or even the Sun. It's the current sheet - a sprawling surface where the polarity of the Sun's magnetic field changes from plus (north) to minus (south). "We call it the 'current sheet,'" says Riley, "because an electrical current flows there, about 10-10 amps/m2." The filament of an ordinary light bulb carries sixteen orders of magnitude (1016x) more amps/m2. But what the current sheet lacks in local amperage, it makes up in sheer size. The sheet is 10,000 km thick and extends from the Sun past the orbit of Pluto. "The entire heliosphere is organized around this giant sheet."
11/06/06 - Underground Economies in the US
How big is the underground economy? The General Accounting Office and the Internal Revenue Service produce estimates every few years that differ widely, but one government study calculated that $500 billion in income fails to be reported each year. Another estimate, based on consumer behavior, suggests that 4 out of 5 Americans turn to the unregulated world for goods and serviceswhich would raise the $500 billion figure appreciably. But the underground economy is more than just a set of cash transactions. Cash, as it turns out, isn't necessarily the preferred medium of exchange: on Chicago's South Side, barter is just as common. I interviewed the owner of an auto body shop who threw out his cash register because customers were paying their bills in kind. They offered him cellphones, microwaves, furniture, and IOUs. He, in turn, started selling these goods from the back of the store, and now auto repair constitutes only a fraction of his income.
11/05/06 - LED DIY Solar Tracker Controller
A solar tracker is used to rotate a solar panel to get optimum energy from the sun. This one uses LEDs as the light sensor and mosfets to drive the output to rotate on a single axis. The designer even reduced the duty cycle on the fets so no heatsink is needed. Mounting is in a peanut butter jar which keeps the circuit dry and allows the sun to shine through. (The designer sells these, but has circuits up on the site)
11/05/06 - 0 to 60 in 1 Second
Andy Frost owns the world’s fastest street car - a tricked-out VAUXHALL he paid £60 for. The father of three has transformed his 1972 K-reg into a mean machine that does 0-60 in ONE second. The Vauxhall Victor takes just 7.8 seconds to hit 183mph - which would leave even Formula 1 racers for dead. Engineer Andy bought the banger 25 years ago and has since lavished £100,000 on it. The car is street legal but so old it doesn’t need a tax disc. He has fitted it with a modified 9.3-litre Chevrolet engine. Andy, 45, of Wolverhampton, grinned: “We could’ve had a bigger house.
11/05/06 - The Wind-Powered Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine Prius
EVermont buys power generated by a wind turbine located next door to its fuel station (above photo) and owned by a local utility. Wind-generated electricity is used to produce hydrogen onsite through electrolysis. The result: a truly carbon neutral car. Unlike the Mercedes (DCX) hydrogen fuel cell car I drove earlier in the week, the Toyota (TM) Prius has a standard internal combusion engine. The engine was converted to run on hydrogen by Quantum Technologies Worldwide of Irvine, California. The car has a range of about 80 miles and will be used by the city of Burlington. The fueling station itself cost $2 million and was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy with equipment donated by manufacturers. EVermont research director Harold Garabedian estimates that filling up the hydrogen Prius costs the equivalent of between $5 and $10 a gallon. Outrageous? Not if you're a European already paying $6 or $7 a gallon for petrol. Of course, mass production and the use of solar panels and other renewable energy sources would bring those costs down.
11/05/06 - Farmers wary of fast money in ethanol rush
Farmers do not see fast money often. But with big profits gushing forth from ethanol plants, dozens of Wall Street bankers, in loafers and suits, have been descending on the cornfields of the Midwest promising to make thousands of farmers rich overnight. Most of them, though, are proving surprisingly reluctant to cash in. And that is when the big money types came knocking. New offers - some as high as $275 million - have rolled in just about every week from an investment bank or hedge fund seeking to buy the plant. For the farmers, particularly those who borrowed part of their investment, a sale could have meant a profit of as much as 10 times what they put in. So far, however, the plant owners have said no. To them - and to many other farmers who have invested in ethanol around the country - the ethanol plants represent more than a winning lottery ticket. Instead, they signify an emotional investment in the future of their farms and communities, a chance for greater independence and a sense of pride that they are helping make America less dependent on foreign oil.
11/05/06 - A New Webcam You
Logitech has some free software to add video effects to what people see when you're using your webcam. Instead of your own face you can use a cartoon character that smiles when you smile, frowns when you frown. You can also put a crown on your head, look like an alien or turn into a talking Bambi. The software uses animated 3-D renderings that change in accord with your movements. It works with Logitech web cameras, which sell for around $50-$100 and are widely distributed (even we have one). (via oncomp.com)
11/04/06 - GE's Two-Battery Strategy for Fuel-Cell Buses
Hydrogen fuel cells are still too expensive to be used widely in vehicles, so researchers at GE are taking a different tack: they're slashing the size of the fuel cell to a bare minimum while relying on two distinct kinds of advanced battery technologies to deliver the necessary horsepower under a wide range of driving conditions. An existing generation of demonstration fuel-cell buses is now three to four times more expensive than ordinary buses, which, along with the necessary hydrogen fueling stations, makes them too expensive to be practical. For the horsepower needed for acceleration or high speeds, the bus will instead rely on advanced battery technology. In fact, GE will use two kinds of batteries to do distinct jobs: one for the big bursts of acceleration power essential to getting the bus moving from a dead stop, and a second for storing lots of electricity to supplement the fuel cell during high-speed or uphill driving. As with hybrid cars, the power for these batteries would come from energy recaptured during braking and from excess charge from the fuel cell. For the first job, GE researchers are evaluating new high-power, yet safe, lithium-ion batteries from A123 Systems, whose batteries are now used in a line of professional power tools (see "Safer Lithium-Ion Batteries"). A123 researchers are redesigning their batteries for the much larger packs needed in buses. Vlatkovic says that the company is also considering ultra-capacitors, another type of energy-storage device that can take in and deliver charge very quickly, although it can't store as much energy as a battery.
11/04/06 - Ion Cooling your Computer
A DIY hack using the property of negative ion flow to quench heat. This circuit uses any high voltage source, from a laser power supply, to a neon transformer or a DC to DC convertor. Years ago, Norm Wootan and Bert Pool demonstrated this to our monthly Roundtable group by setting fire to a piece of paper using a propane torch, as it should....but when a stream of high voltage negative ions was aimed at the paper, it refused to catch fire from the propane torch. A really cool demonstration that has many applications for firefighting and cooling. Years ago, an Israeli company invented a backpack that sprayed a stream of negative ions which could instantly put out any fire.
11/04/06 - US Citizens to Require ''Clearance'' to Leave?
"The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has proposed a system which will in essence make it mandatory for you to have permission before leaving or entering the country, effectively putting everyone on a no-fly list unless the government says otherwise. Interestingly, the proposal does not seem to cover personal travel, only that on some sort of carrier like an airline or cruise vessel. While this certainly is concerning, it isn't exactly new, as a passport is already required for circumstances covered under the proposal."
11/04/06 - British believe Bush is more dangerous than Kim Jong-il
America is now seen as a threat to world peace by its closest neighbours and allies, according to an international survey of public opinion published today that reveals just how far the country's reputation has fallen among former supporters since the invasion of Iraq. The research also shows that British voters see George Bush as a greater danger to world peace than either the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, or the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Both countries were once cited by the US president as part of an "axis of evil", but it is Mr Bush who now alarms voters in countries with traditionally strong links to the US. It exposes high levels of distrust. In Britain, 69% of those questioned say they believe US policy has made the world less safe since 2001, with only 7% thinking action in Iraq and Afghanistan has increased global security. The finding is mirrored in America's immediate northern and southern neighbours, Canada and Mexico, with 62% of Canadians and 57% of Mexicans saying the world has become more dangerous because of US policy. Even in Israel, which has long looked to America to guarantee national security, support for the US has slipped. As a result, Mr Bush is ranked with some of his bitterest enemies as a cause of global anxiety. He is outranked by Osama bin Laden in all four countries, but runs the al-Qaida leader close in the eyes of UK voters: 87% think the al-Qaida leader is a great or moderate danger to peace, compared with 75% who think this of Mr Bush.
11/04/06 - JaJah.com Free phone calls
We found another service for making free phone calls over the Internet; it’s free to many countries and nearly free to the rest. It's JaJah.com, and using it is reminiscent of the old phone systems that used an operator to connect your call. There's no software to download, and you don’t need a high-speed Internet connection, dial-up will do. You just go to their Web site and type your phone number in a box on the screen. Then select the country you're calling and type in the phone number you want to reach. A few seconds later your phone will ring and you will hear a message telling you that JaJah is connecting your call. That call can be to a cell or regular phone. You can make free or low-cost calls to land-based phone lines almost anywhere in the world. Calls to cell phones can't be made everywhere but work in the U.S., Canada and some Asian countries. You can schedule calls from an Internet café when you are traveling. A new mobile version lets you initiate calls from your cell phone, if you have one of the supported brands. We tried it and it was simple to use and the sound quality was good. / The flip side of JaJah
11/03/06 - Insect killing Fungi raised successfully (1936)
Fungi that kill flies, mosquitoes, and other annoying and harmful insects are now raised successfully in mass cultures by a German botanist, Dr. Georg Schweitzer, of Hohenheim. He uses a new method of sterilizing the culture media on which they feed before they are turned loose on their winged victims; it involves the use of chemical vapors instead of the customary heat treatment. The efficacy of certain fungi against insects has long been known, but technical difficulties attending their culture in large quantities has handicapped their practical use.
11/03/06 - ‘Lights Out’ on Flu, Other Viruses
Laboratory testing of a novel, permanent nano-coating has been shown to kill or inactivate most viruses and bacteria when exposed to visible light. Early tests have shown that the coating kills 99.9 percent of influenza viruses and 99.99 percent of vaccinia virus. Imagine if killing flu viruses and other microbes were as simple as turning on a light.
Exposing a unique surface coating to light may in fact hold the key to protecting you from virtually all viruses and bacteria, including the feared avian flu. Laboratory testing of a novel, permanent nano-coating, developed in collaboration by researchers at North Carolina State University College of Textiles and Emory University School of Medicine, has been shown to kill or inactivate most viruses and bacteria when exposed to visible light. Early tests have shown that the coating kills 99.9 percent of influenza viruses and 99.99 percent of vaccinia virus, which causes rash, fever, head and body aches.
11/03/06 - 'Intelligent' Traffic Lights ease traffic problems
A network of traffic lights that decides to turn green when lots of cars are waiting can help reduce traffic jams, say researchers. Unlike other traffic light systems that are coordinated centrally, these lights would optimise traffic flow by acting autonomously. Green lights are synchronised into 'green waves' to allow cars to flow through the main avenues of cities without facing a red light. The idea is to make the speed of the green wave match the desired cruise speed for the street. But if the green waves remain the same whatever the traffic condition, this can lead to traffic problems. The Belgian researchers have developed a system that relies on "self-organising traffic lights". They say the system relies purely on "local interactions between cars and traffic lights" to generate "flexible green waves on demand". At each traffic light, there is a counter that is set to zero each time a light turns red and then counts the number of cars that build up at the lights. "If there are more cars approaching or waiting behind a red light, this will turn into green faster than if there are only few cars," say the researchers. The researchers say the system can greatly improve traffic flow and they have tested this by feeding real traffic data from a Brussels avenue into a traffic simulator.
11/03/06 - Researchers Track Elections Via Prediction Markets
As voters prepare for the polls Nov. 7, computer scientists at the University of Chicago and Yahoo! Research are calling attention to the uncanny track record that an Irish securities trading market has for accurately predicting the outcome of U.S. elections. The computer scientists have devised Web sites that display continuously updated color maps predicting the outcome of the 2006 gubernatorial and senate races. The predictions are linked to the prices of securities at Tradesports.com, an Irish trading site that runs a market for each state with a gubernatorial or senate race. "The prices of the securities have in the past shown to be a surprisingly accurate prediction of future events," said Lance Fortnow, Professor in Computer Science at the University of Chicago. "In 2004, these markets correctly predicted all but one of the senate races and every state correctly in the electoral college. We put the map together to highlight the importance of these markets and let people get a quick view of what the markets say." Information markets have proven so efficient in combining the collective wisdom of their participants that some companies operate them internally to help make decisions, including HP, Google and Microsoft. Company executives can, for example, learn from the markets whether or not their employees think that a new product will be released on time. But unlike Tradesports, which may be illegal in the United States, the markets are structured so that employees can win prizes without taking financial risk.
11/03/06 - Robokiller targets weeds
A solar powered robot uses cameras and vision recognition software to seek out weeds, cut them down and apply a precise amount of herbicide to the root. The targeted approach requires fewer chemicals and minimises the risk that they will get into the environment, whether carried by wind or water. Farmers typically apply herbicide to the entire field, making no distinction between crop and weed. Working under the direction of agricultural engineer Associate Professor Lei Tian, the team built a robot about 1.5 metres long and 70 centimetres wide. A curved solar panel mounted to the top gathers solar energy to charge a battery. And the battery powers two small cameras, sensors, a GPS for navigation and an electric motor that drives the robot about 5 kilometres per hour. The panel also serves as a canopy to protect the machine from the elements and provides shade for the vision system. The vision system, although still in the beginning stages of development, will be designed to recognise the shape and structure of plants and be able to distinguish between a weed and a corn plant. When a weed is spotted, a robotic arm attached to the front of the machine cuts the weed and then squirts herbicide onto the root. The vision system will also allow the machine to recognise when it has arrived at the end of a row and to turn down the next lane. Currently an operator controls the robot, but eventually it will work autonomously.
And a wireless connection between the robot and a laptop computer could make it easy for the farmer to operate the machine from the comfort of his house. "The farmer could control everything from the living room," says Jeon.
11/03/06 - Researchers Test Antibacterial Effects of Healing Clays
Clay is most commonly associated with the sublime experience of the European spa where visitors have been masked, soaked and basted with this touted curative since the Romans ruled. If ASU geochemist Lynda Williams and microbiologist Shelley Haydel’s research on the antibacterial properties of clays realizes its full potential, smectite clay could one day rise above cosmetic use to take its place comfortably with antibacterial behemoths like penicillin. “We use maggots and leeches in hospitals, so why not clay?” Haydel poses. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at NIH was established in 1998 for just this kind of study. One of the 27 Institutes making up NIH, the Center funds scientific research and technologies that examine herbal remedies, such as dandelion, green tea, valerian, and horse chestnut, and practices like acupuncture, Tai Chi, and Reiki that fall outside conventional medicines. The ASU duo will examine the mechanisms that allow two clays mined in France to heal Buruli ulcer, a flesh-eating bacterial disease found primarily in central and western Africa. Buruli ulcer has been declared to be “an emerging public health threat” by the World Health Organization (WHO). Related to leprosy and tuberculosis, the Mycobacterium ulcerans produces a toxin, lesions, and destroys the fatty tissues under the skin. “In the South Appalachian Mountains, poor women would eat the local clay to help soothe nausea and stomach ailments, particularly during pregnancy. The clay was rich in kaolinite. (Kaolinite is the major ingredient in the over the counter remedy Kaopectate). But one day, they ran out of clay and moved over to another mountain and people began dying. We wanted to know why.” The key to clay’s variable nature seems to be its structure. “Clay is a mineral; it has a crystalline structure that is both flexible and fluid,” Williams says. She likens them to very thin, two-nanometer-thick slices of bread in a “peanut butter and jelly sandwich.” This interlayer, as the peanut butter and jelly are termed, can vary in width and composition depending on the kinds of waters and elements present when it was formed. It is this interlayer where much of the elemental variability between clays can be found. And the interlayer surface area is huge (greater than 100 square meters per gram of clay - bigger than a football field).
11/03/06 - Light Bulb burns away Tumors
Beams of light concentrated from a light bulb could soon help burn away tumors in surgical operations that are as effective as laser surgery but 100 times cheaper, scientists in Israel now report. Laser surgery pumps beams through optical fibers to zap diseased cells. In place of expensive lasers, Gordon and his colleagues harnessed light from more commonplace sources. Initially, the researchers experimented with sunlight because it's free, but sunlight is only available during the daytime and is dependent on weather conditions. Instead, Gordon and a team of engineers, physicists, surgeons and pathologists turned to xenon short-arc discharge lamps, the ultra-bright kind now used in movie projectors. In their system, a series of mirrors collects and focuses light from the lamp down a flexible optical fiber into an operating theater, where it emerges as cones of rays from the millimeter-sized tip of a surgeon's tool. Gordon and his colleagues have now for the first time demonstrated their system in proof-of-principle operations on the livers and kidneys of live rats, showing efficacy comparable to laser fiber optic treatments.
11/03/06 - Z Machine Melts Diamond to Puddle
Sandia’s Z machine, by creating pressures more than 10 million times that of the atmosphere at sea level, has turned a diamond sheet into a pool of liquid, in an experiment to better understand the characteristics of diamond under the extreme pressure it would face when used as a capsule for a BB-sized pellet intended to fuel a nuclear fusion reaction. / More Info - Sandia’s Z machine, by creating pressures more than 10 million times that of the atmosphere at sea level, has turned a diamond sheet into a pool of liquid. Half a bathtub full of seawater in a fusion reaction could produce as much energy as 40 train cars of coal. In the experiments, the applied pressure came from shock waves passing through the diamond. The waves were created by impacting the diamond with tiny plates hurled using Z’s huge magnetic fields at about 20 times the speed of a rifle bullet.
11/02/06 - Vt. Cows Providing College Campus Energy
The 760-student school, located along the Vermont-New York line, started Thursday to get half of its electricity from farms that run generators powered by methane gas extracted from cow manure. The power company, which harnesses and delivers the power, allows customers to take 25 percent, 50 percent or all of their electricity from the cow power program. The program has been so successful that the farm has installed a second generator. The utility, which has signed up more than 3,500 other customers for cow power, has provided grants to four other farms to help them pay for generators, and more are in the works. Blue Spruce Farm has about 1,000 milking Holsteins and 500 young stock in high-tech barns that feature 'alley scrapers' _ much like big squeegees on wheels _ that move down the rows of cows, pushing their manure through grates to a conveyor belt below. The belt carries the manure to an anaerobic _ meaning oxygen-free _ digester, a structure similar to a covered swimming pool. Methane is extracted from the digester and piped to the two generators. The power they make is then sent through transformers and onto the grid.
11/02/06 - Stop the IP Tire Burn!
For over a year now, Vermonters and New Yorkers alike have been fighting International Paper to stop them from burning tires in their paper plant in Ticonderoga, N.Y. without the proper pollution controls. Citizens have demonstrated, Vermont has sued the company, and Jim Douglas, the governor of VT, has even said he’ll pay to install the proper pollution controls . . . and still IP won’t budge. The company is trying to frame the tire burn as a jobs-vs.-environment issue, but people on both sides of the border have seen through the smoke and know that good jobs are safe jobs, not ones that endager children and communities.
11/02/06 - No Fish by 2050?
Researchers announced today shows that, if present fishing practices are allowed to continue, there will be no viable ocean fishing in just another 40 to 50 years. There has been a major decrease in the number of the ocean's fish and that the decrease is accelerating. According to the report's lead author, Boris Worm of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, "When I saw it, I was chilled, I was really shocked because, I didn't expect it to be so soon." Worm is blunt with his assessment, saying, "We see very clearly the end of the line. It shows that we're going to run out of viable fisheries, out of all seafood species by the year 2050; so within our lifetimes, certainly within the lifetimes of our children." Worm says the problem is commercial fishermen are overfishing the world's oceans, and doing so in a way that is harming the ocean's ecological balance. He points out that fishermen accidentally catch and kill large numbers of commercially undesirable sea life, what fishermen call bycatch. Even though humans don't eat these, fish do. Worm adds other fishing practices, including dragging large nets along the bottom of the ocean floor, can damage the ocean's environment, especially fragile coral reefs. To reach this conclusion, a group of scientists from the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Sweden worked for four years pouring over 50 years worth of fishing records. In some cases they went much further back. Worm explains, "We've looked at a thousand year time period of 12 coastal regions worldwide, seeing how species were lost from those regions and what the consequences were." They also examined small controlled studies where researchers removed species of fish and watched what happened.
11/02/06 - Steam Car Land Speed Record Challenge
A century ago, when the global automotive industry was in its infancy, the internal combustion engine was by no means the only contender as the power source for the personal transportation revolution - electricity and steam were also viable contenders in the first few decades. Indeed, the steam-powered Locomobile was the world's first successful automobile and a machine based on the famous Stanley Steamer automobile attracted global attention on January 27, 1906 when it smashed the outright world speed record of 109 mph setting a new record of 121.57 mph. Now a British team, the British Steam Car Challenge, is preparing to push the World Land Speed Steam-powered Record past 200mph. The car is powered by a 300 bhp Curtis steam turbine and the team is now completing the high-tech boilers for the car, named Inspiration. The boilers will generate a formidable four megawatts of energy - almost enough to power a small town for a day. The official world record for a steam powered car was set back in 1906 at 127.659mph by Fred Marriot driving a Stanley Steamer. In 1985, Bob Barber reached 145.607mph in a steam car but only made one run - to qualify as a world record the average speed of two runs in opposite directions is taken.
11/02/06 - Fossilized Virus Brought Back to Life
Biotech - Impact LabIn a controversial study, researchers have resurrected a retrovirus that infected our ancestors millions of years ago and now sits frozen in the human genome. Published online by Genome Research this week, the study may shed new light on the history of these genomic intruders, as well as their role in tumors. Although this particular virus, dubbed Phoenix, is a wimpy one, some argue that resuscitating any ancient virus is inherently risky and that the study should have undergone stricter reviews.
11/01/06 - As wells dry up, Mexico could be forced to privatize oil
Even as popular pressure grows around Latin America for a stronger state hand in developing natural resources such as oil and gas, Mexico's president-elect Felipe Calderón may be forced to consider putting more power in private hands. Prosperity from years of record oil prices has allowed Mexico to postpone what most agree are much-needed reforms. And now, as production at Pemex's top oil field declines, pressure to find new fields is mounting. But industry analysts say Mexico's constitutional restriction on foreign direct investment will hamstring costly exploration efforts, and possibly disrupt the flow of oil, 80 percent of which heads to the US. Indeed, with his fragile political mandate, Mr. Calderón may find that oil becomes the issue that will define his presidency. Mexico is the second-biggest supplier of oil to the US, favored because of its proximity and relative political stability. In the end, Mr. Fox didn't push through a consitutional change, largely because trying to privative Pemex, even partially, is so politically unpopular. Potential finds in the Gulf of Mexico, similar to Chevron's recent announcement of a big discovery in US waters, are currently out of reach because Pemex does not have the technical know-how or money to undertake such exploration. Experts say that American companies are watching oil production in Mexico, but because of politics, cannot interfere by pushing for more foreign participation. When it comes to obtaining gasoline here, drivers have only one, decidedly Mexican, choice: the green and red pumps at Pemex. That's the way many want it. Ms. Benton says that Calderón might have the most room for change by addressing fiscal reform. One option would be to lift the heavy tax burden from Pemex, which sees nearly half of its earnings go to government coffers, so that Pemex can focus on daily operations. The budget is so stripped, she says, that Pemex has to import a significant portion of its refined products. "One of the factors that drives policy change everywhere is the deterioration of the status quo," says Nacif, "and the perception is that the status quo is worsening. It's going to help [Calderón]" move toward opening the industry up to private firms.
11/01/06 - Plug Power To Receive $8.6M in DOE Funding for Fuel Cell Tech
Plug Power will receive three separate awards totaling $8.6 million for hydrogen fuel cell research, development and demonstration projects. "This round of DOE funding represents a clear commitment to hydrogen fuel cells as a viable solution to the nation's energy needs," said Roger Saillant, Plug Power's CEO. Specifically, Plug Power will receive: * $4 million for development and demonstration of an ethanol-based, grid-connected system with the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center's Construction Engineering Research Laboratory * $3.6 million for the international development and demonstration of a high temperature combined heat and power proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell system targeted for multi-family home applications. This is the first project of its kind, with joint collaboration between the DOE, the European Union, Plug Power's office in The Netherlands and European partners including the Vaillant Group. * $1 million for the development of a new design for a prototype 1kW PEM fuel cell stack.
11/01/06 - Moving mass just by watching
Researchers say they’ve made an object move just by watching it, which is inspiring them to a still bolder project. The object was a sliver of aluminum and a type of ceramic, fixed at both ends but free to vibrate like a guitar string in between. To measure its movements, the scientists set nearby a tiny detector called a superconducting single electron transistor. They found that random motions of charge-carrying particles, electrons, in the detector emanated forces that affected the metallic sliver. When the detector was tuned for maximum sensitivity, these forces slowed down the sliver’s shaking, cooling it as a result. This effect, Schwab said, is a basically quantum-mechanical phenomenon called back-action, in which the act of observing something actually gives it a nudge. “We made measurements of position that are so intense-so strongly coupled-that by looking at it we can make it move,” said Schwab. Normally, such motion wouldn’t cool an object. But the motion can be such as to oppose ongoing movements and slow them down. This reduces an object’s heat, which is just the jiggling of particles in it.
11/01/06 - CodeJam Software teams solve complex programming problems
Armed with cans of the latest energy drink, 100 of the world's top programmers gathered under the glare of flashbulbs Friday to determine who's the fastest and cleverest of them all. The contest: Solve three fiendish problems in 75 frantic minutes. The assembled finalists - the best of 21,000 applicants - hailed from Buenos Aires, Warsaw, and an obscure city on Russia's Volga River. By tapping the best freelance programmers in the world, and letting them compete to write pieces of software, TopCoder and its competitors are creating a new kind of assembly line. In essence, they're dragging Henry Ford into the eBay era. "Things that are today done inside big companies will, in the future, be done by temporary combinations of very small companies and, in many cases, independent contractors," he says. Through its contests, TopCoder seeks out and ranks the world's best independent programmers. The company then helps firms tap these 95,000 freelancers for software projects. TopCoder assesses a client's needs, breaks the project into 30 or so components, and opens the design and development work to a series of online competitions. The coder with the best finished product wins "prize money," as does the runner-up, which usually amounts to a few thousand dollars. The small pieces are "sewn" together, usually by TopCoder, and delivered to the client.
11/01/06 - Computers help churn out cancer remedies
Scientists are working on ways to make computers churn out new cancer treatments, with no need to figure out how they work. Called chemical genomic screening, the technique is designed to bypass the hard, sometimes futile work of trying to learn precisely what goes wrong in a specific cancer in order to fix it. In the new technique, researchers feed into a computer an activation profile linked to a particular form of cancer. The machine then checks this against a database of known drugs, which contains previously known information on how each drug changes gene activation patterns. Finally, the computer lists which of these compounds tend most strongly to convert the “sick” profile, which had been fed into it, into a profile known to be associated with a healthier state. By fixing the profile, scientists reason, the drug may help remedy the underlying problem. All this can occur with little or no knowledge of the malady’s causes.
11/01/06 - Global Warming Could Devastate Economy
Unchecked global warming will devastate the world economy on the scale of the world wars and the Great Depression, a British government report said Monday, as the country launched a bid to convince doubters that environmentalism and economic growth can coincide. Blair, President Bush's top ally in the Iraq war, said unabated climate change would eventually cost the world between 5 percent and 20 percent of global gross domestic product each year. He called for "bold and decisive action" to cut carbon emissions and stem the worst of the temperature rise. "It is not in doubt that, if the science is right, the consequences for our planet are literally disastrous," he said. "This disaster is not set to happen in some science fiction future many years ahead, but in our lifetime." The prime minister and the report also said that no matter what Britain, the United States and Japan do, the battle against global warming cannot succeed without deciding when and how to control the greenhouse gas emissions by such fast-industrializing giants as China and India. The report said at current trends average global temperatures will rise by 3.6 to 5.4 degrees within the next 50 years or so, and the earth will experience several degrees more of warming if emissions continue to grow. It said such warming could have effects such as melting glaciers, rising sea levels, declining crop yields, drinking water shortages, higher death tolls from malnutrition and heat stress, and widespread outbreaks of malaria and dengue fever. Developing countries often would be the hardest hit.
11/01/06 - Muhammad reveals key to overcoming jihadists
The failure of Pentagon brass to implement a "systematic study" of Muhammad's military doctrine is hurting the U.S. military's effort to control and defeat insurgents and terrorists, complains William Gawthrop, who until recent months headed a key counterintelligence and counterterrorism program set up at the Pentagon after 9/11. The Muslim sacred books cover all aspects of warfare, from methods and tactics of violence against kafirs to war booty to truces, he says. Even alms-giving is directed toward jihad, which is obligatory for Muslims, who are told by the Quran that "fighting is prescribed for you" (another translation says "warfare is ordained for you"). Gawthrop says the Pentagon needs to develop a broad new strategy to deal with the threat from Islamic terrorists. But to do so, officials must first overcome the political taboo of linking Islamic violence to the religion of Islam, its sacred scripture and the personal example of its revered prophet. "Muhammad's mindset is a source for terrorism," Gawthrop flatly says. How do you attack an idea? By hitting "soft spots" in the Islamic faith that, once exploited, "may induce a deteriorating cascade effect upon the target," Gawthrop says. "Critical vulnerabilities of the Quran, for example, are that it was uttered by a mortal," Gawthrop said. "Similar vulnerabilities may be found in Muhammad's character." As the jihad spreads, he says the government eventually will have to get involved in a such a controversial national education campaign, politically incorrect as it may be.
11/01/06 - Turn your iPod into a Ouija Board
This Halloween some people are using the alphabet-search system on the new iPods to communicate with the dead. The writer uses an iPod nano to test the new craze. He plugs it into a loud stereo system to 'increase the scary quotient when a spirit picks a track,' and the editorial staff begin to talk to a spirit called 'Brad.' The introduction of the Click Wheel alphabet-search system in the new iPod range has opened the floodgates to a new breed of occultist. Not only can the Click Wheel emulate the traditional Ouija board and planchette, but it does so in a small, portable format. Leading Ouija boardists have discovered that the iPod can not only provide the traditional letters and numbers of the board, but spirits are now able to pick songs, or playlists, to convey their messages. The iPod iOuija board works far better than the traditional Ouija board. During future sessions we intend to plug it into a loud stereo system to increase the scary quotient when a spirit picks a track. Let us know how you got on with channelling spirits with your own iPods. Owners of an iPod prior to the latest versions won't be able to use the search feature as a planchette, but they can still let spirits pick tracks.
$5 Alt Science MP3s to listen while working/driving/jogging
No time to sit back and watch videos? Here are 15 interesting presentations you can download for just $5 each and listen to while driving, working, jogging, etc. An easy way to learn some fascinating new things that you will find of use. Easy, cheap and simple, better than eBooks or Videos. Roughly 50MB per MP3.
15 New Alternative Science DVDs & 15 MP3s
An assortment of alternative science videos that provide many insights and inside information from various experimenters. Also MP3s extracted from these DVDs that you can listen to while working or driving. Reference links for these lectures and workshops by Bill Beaty of Amateur Science on the Dark Side of Amateur Science, Peter Lindemann on the World of Free Energy, Norman Wootan on the History of the EV Gray motor, Dan Davidson on Shape Power and Gravity Wave Phenomena, Lee Crock on a Method for Stimulating Energy, Doug Konzen on the Konzen Pulse Motor, George Wiseman on the Water Torch and Jerry Decker on Aether, ZPE and Dielectric Nano Arrays. Your purchase of these products helps support KeelyNet, thanks!
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