10/31/05 - Wind farms expected to grow off Texas coast
Wind turbines supplying energy to homes and businesses will one day line Texas' 376-mile coastline if the state's Land Office Commissioner Jerry Patterson has his way. The turbines will stand about 10 miles offshore, enough to preserve the treasured view but close enough to make coastal wind power an affordable energy alternative still missing in the United States, he said. Wind energy is not a new concept. About 1 percent of electricity in the United States in generated by wind farms, primarily in the Midwest and West. This year, new onshore projects in states such as California, Texas and New York are expected to help power 700,000 homes. But the offshore turbines remain unproven at least in the United States. Meanwhile, United Kingdom and Scandinavian countries have operated coastal farms the last several years. Last week he announced plans to lease 11,000 acres in the Gulf of Mexico to a Louisiana energy contractor who will build 50 turbines designed to power about 40,000 homes. "We have other sites in mind from Brownsville to the Louisiana border," Patterson said. "We hope to make more announcements within the next 12 months." Peter Hartley, economics professor at Rice University in Houston, says upfront costs for coastal wind farms are higher than those for onshore wind farms. He said other risks include not having enough wind during peak times, thus leading to a blackout, and keeping turbines stable against tropical storm or hurricane winds in the Gulf. "I think solar energy is a much more likely long-term energy source," Hartley said. "Still, the nice thing about wind is the fuel costs are about zero and the operational costs are low."
10/31/05 - Alternate ways to keep warm this winter
Typically, people buy all types of weatherstripping, door sweeps, insulation and sealants to get by for the winter. People are investing a bit more as heating bills continue the upward trend. 1) Pellet stoves burn cleaner than wood stoves and can be installed in more spaces because of their venting options. "Anytime you use the furnace to heat the whole house, you'll never cut your bill in half," Thomas said. "But, if you're using an alternative heating source, like pellets or wood, you could. You can have a nice piece of furniture and a high-efficiency stove." The stoves cost between $500 and $3,000. 2) Programmable thermostats allow residents to set temperatures, such as keeping the temperatures lower while they're gone or while they're sleeping. Programmable thermostats usually start at $25. They are thought to save home heating bills by as much as 10 percent each year. Other items include window and door weatherizing kits; foam insulation kits for light switches and wall sockets; rooftop turbines, which are attic vents that slow down air flow out of the attic; and the Wind Jammer, a removable clear weatherstripping that applies to all the cracks around windows. 3) Simply maintaining the home furnace also can help on the annual bills; by installing a new furnace, homeowners can save hundreds. The most common problem with newer furnaces, Hitchcock said, are dirty sensors and filters. Dirty sensors will prevent thermostats from turning the furnace on. Clogged filters can cause the furnace to overheat. Something could be said for installing a more energy-efficient furnace. "The older furnaces have an efficiency level of 45 percent," Hitchcock said. "Those would dump 45 cents out of every dollar you spend up the chimney. Nowadays, high-efficiency furnaces bring that down to 7 cents for every dollar." A new furnace would cost about $2,000; a high-efficiency furnace would cost $3,000, Hitchcock said.
10/31/05 - Democrats blast oil subsidies
House Republicans recently pushed through legislation that would give more federal subsidies to the oil industry instead of trying to help consumers cope with sharply higher energy prices, the top Democrat on the House Commerce Committee said Saturday. Rep. John Dingell of Michigan said Congress should focus on Democratic proposals to punish gasoline profiteering, invest in new energy technology, and encourage more energy efficiency. "What was the Republican answer to the hurricanes? More subsidies to the oil industry," Dingell said, referring to the bill's sponsors who said the help was needed because of damage to refineries from recent Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Less than three months ago, the president signed into law a Republican-written energy bill giving $14.5 billion in tax breaks and incentives to the energy industry. Republicans calling for controls - Long an ally of the energy industry, senior Republican lawmakers reversed direction during the past week and began calling for possible new controls on oil companies. Their change in views came the same week that Exxon Mobil reported a $9.9 billion quarterly profit and other major oil companies also saw big increases.
10/31/05 - Chinese scientists claim to find the cause of Leukemia
The group found that leukemia is caused by the human gene PTPN11, encoding Shp2, and their discovery has drawn wide attention from the world medical circles. Leukemia, or blood cancer, is a common but destructive malignant tumor in human hemopoietic system. The incidence of leukemia is the highest among tumor diseases among the youth. According to Dr. Xu Rongzhen with the Department of Hematology of the hospital, the research group analyzed leukemia patient cell samples, leukemia cell systems of multiple types of people as well as the PTPN11 sequence in the blood cells of normal people. They also studied the expression of Shp2 tyrosine phosphatase and their function system. They found PTPN11, encoding Shp2, shows abnormal distribution and over-expression in leukemia cells.
In normal blood cells, Shp2 protein is in cytoplasm, but in leukemia cells, that are elevated in large number into the inside plasma membrane and nucleolus.
10/31/05 - China taking the lead in pollution
The steady barrage of statistics trumpeting China's rise is often greeted elsewhere as if the figures were torpedoes and the rest of the world a sinking ship. Economic growth tops 9 percent! Textile exports jump 500 percent! Military spending up! Manufacturing up! The numbers inflame the exaggerated perception that China is methodically inhaling jobs and resources and, in the process, inhaling the rest of the planet. Chinese official, Zhang Lijun, warned that pollution levels here could more than quadruple within 15 years if the country does not curb its rapid growth in energy consumption and automobile use. China is already the world's second-biggest producer of greenhouse gas emissions and is expected to surpass the United States as the biggest. Roughly a third of China is exposed to acid rain. A recent study by a Chinese research institute found that 400,000 people die prematurely every year in China from diseases linked to air pollution. For the Chinese government, the question is how to change the country's booming economy without crippling it. Violent riots have erupted in the countryside over contaminated water, stunted crops and mounting health woes. In a handful of villages, farmers have stormed chemical factories to stop the dumping of filthy water. Roughly 70 percent of China's rivers and lakes are polluted. In cities, people drink bottled water; in the countryside, most people are too poor to pay for bottled water, so they boil polluted water or simply drink it. Public anger is also rising in cities. In some, air pollution is so thick that on the worst days doctors advise, impractically, against going outside.
10/31/05 - K.I.S.S. - The secret of impressive writing
(In case you've been living in a cave, KISS means 'keep it simple stupid', this is a great observation as I get junked up emails all the time and see it all over websites, very annoying! - JWD) Writers who use long words needlessly and choose complicated font styles are seen as less intelligent than those who stick with basic vocabulary and plain text, according to new research from the Princeton University in New Jersey, to be published in the next edition of Applied Cognitive Psychology. This implies that efforts to impress readers by using florid font styles and searching through a thesaurus may have the opposite effect. "It's important to point out that this research is not about problems with using long words but about using long words needlessly," said study author Daniel Oppenheimer. "Anything that makes a text hard to read and understand, such as unnecessarily long words or complicated fonts, will lower readers' evaluations of the text and its author." "The continuing popularity amongst students of using big words and attractive font styles may be due to the fact that they may not realise these techniques could backfire," Oppenheimer noted. "One thing seems certain: write as simply and plainly as possible and it's more likely you'll be thought of as intelligent."
10/31/05 - Kozi homes for $10,000
Cape Town, South Africa-based n'Kozi Homes has come up with a home design that mixes Buckminster Fuller and local materials. The dome homes are designed to be compatible with a variety of environmentally-sustainable utilities, from waterless toilets to solar power. The costs are remarkably low, too: a ready-to-live house, 33 meters square, complete with plumbing and power, would run about $10,000. Our provisional patent design is based on one of the Platonic Solids, namely the Icosahedron. A complete Icosahedron is structured with 20 equilateral triangles. By removing (truncating) the lower five triangles, a format remains with a five sided floor surface on which a geodesic domed structure can be built which provides more strength, floor surface area and volume than any other known design - utilizing the geodesic principle of "doing more with less." The equilateral triangles from which the structures are assembled are simple to manufacture and erect, and the finished product provides a strong, energy efficient and well insulated environment.
10/31/05 - Brain implants to control blood pressure
UK researchers have shown for the first time that stimulating a certain part of the brain with implanted electrodes can influence arterial blood pressure in a predictable way in patients. Short bursts of electrical stimulation were applied in an area in the midbrain called the periaqueductal grey matter (PAG) in 15 awake patients. The patients had already had the deep brain electrodes fitted as a treatment for chronic pain. The stimulation lowered blood pressure in patients who had the electrodes near the front (or ventral) part of the PAG. In patients where the electrodes were near the back (or dorsal) part, blood pressure could be increased. Blood pressure changes and "freezing" responses have been produced in cats, and stimulating the PAG of rats elicits a “defence” response. Green speculates that the PAG may be involved in control of the cardiovascular system and the "fight-or-flight" survival responses - of which changes in blood pressure could be one part. The team stimulated the patients’ brains for periods of about 5 minutes at a frequency of 10 Hertz, followed by a 3-minute recovery period. The electrode was about 1.2 millimetres in diameter with four “contact points” at its end. These points are 1 mm apart and a current flows between them when switched on, Green explained to New Scientist. The researchers saw that the systolic blood pressure dropped by an average of 14.2 millimetres of mercury (mmHg) - or 13.9% - in seven patients, in whom the ventral PAG had been stimulated. In six patients, systolic blood pressure shot up by an average of 16.7 mmHg (16.4%), after the dorsal PAG was stimulated.
10/30/05 - Water to Fuel, patented, tested
I have built an electrolysis cell that separates water molecules of hydrogen and oxygen which is suitable for powering an internal combustion engine. This cell is placed in a car and all you have to do is fill it with water. This fuel gives 20% more horsepower than gasoline and runs pollution-free, so not only is this a cheap fuel, but it also does not pollute the air we breathe. I have built seven prototypes that have worked. I have run six different engines on them; the biggest being a 1958 Volkswagon (1200 cc). I know that it is possible to run a car or build a unit for a house to make gas and electricity from water and still be pollution-free. A unit for a car would cost about $1,500.00, and one for a house about $3,500.00, but the benefit would be no lines at gas stations or a bill every month, because of the nature of the unit. United States Patent 4,344,831 - Weber - August 17, 1982 - Apparatus for the generation of gaseous fuel - Abstract - A method and apparatus for the generation of a gaseous hydrogen or hydrogen and oxygen mixture for use as a fuel. The apparatus includes an electrolytic tank having means for circulating and cooling the electrolyte solution therein, gas removal means and a source of electric power communicating with the electrolyte solution. The method is characterized by dissociation of the aqueous portion of the electrolyte solution and maintaining the temperature of the electrolyte below 150.degree. F.
10/30/05 - Super Efficient Far Infrared Halogen heater
$199 Infrared Heater Does NOT Burn Oxygen in the room. Heater emits 91.7% of the energy it's uses. The halogen tubes will reduce the energy bill to half with Halogen FIR Radiant Energy. More economical and effective compared to conventional electric heaters. Far Infrared Energy radiates heat and allows the body to absorb the heat deeply, activating a unique beneficial wave form and vibration. Far Infrared Heat has been scientifically tested showing that the FIR wavelength of between 8 - 25 microns emitted by the halogen tubes prove to be Optimum Energy Readily Absorbable By the Human Body! # Kills Bacteria # Eliminates Smell And Odor # Regenerates Cells # Eliminates Mildew # Eliminates Fungi # Promotes Circulation The heater will not easily catch fire if accidental contact with paper or other materials and therefore the chance of fire hazard is substantially reduced.
10/30/05 - First Soy Fuel Facility opened
Fuel marketers typically combine soy additives with diesel or heating oil in tanker trucks by "sloshing" them together. The new facility does the work more efficiently and spares marketers from having to buy and store soy fuels, which are also known as biodiesel. The injection facility is located at a large fuel terminal owned by Petroleum Products Corp. a few miles southeast of Harrisburg, and lets tanker-truck drivers choose the exact percentage blend of biodiesel, up to 20 percent. Currently, there are about 45 plants in the country that produce the biodiesel from soybean oil, mostly in the Midwest, and many more are planned, according to the National Biodiesel Board. Gerhart and fuel marketers say biodiesel costs about $1 per gallon more than pure petroleum products, but a federal tax credit makes the price competitive. They say they hope biodiesel will become cheaper than petroleum as more producers come on line.
10/30/05 - Thermoacoustic Stirling Engine of the Future
The Stirling cycle describes a phenomenon where a confined volume of gas expands at high pressure and contracts at low pressure. In the conventional Stirling engine, a fixed amount of helium is compressed in a cool chamber and then transferred to a chamber heated by an external burner. As the gas expands it drives a piston that delivers energy. When it cools it returns to the colder chamber and the cycle begins again. The thermoacoustic Stirling heat engines developed by the LANL scientists work by creating intense acoustic energy that can be used directly in acoustically powered refrigerators or to generate electricity. The power production process is environmentally friendly and up to 30 percent efficient while typical internal combustion engines are 25 to 40 percent efficient. Because the thermoacoustic Stirling heat engine contains no moving parts and is constructed of common materials, it requires little or no maintenance, can be manufactured inexpensively, and is expected to have many future uses. "Small low-cost engines like this could be used in homes for cogeneration, for instance. That is, they could be used to generate electricity while at the same time producing heat to warm the home or for hot-water heating," said Los Alamos Researcher Greg Swift.
10/30/05 - Resonant Macrosonic Synthesis
Scientists have long known that sound is composed of pulsing waves of energy, but it was considered useless as a power source because at high levels sound waves distort into shock waves. An example is the way sound distorts on a stereo or radio speakers when turned up too loud. But Lucas discovered that by sending sound waves through empty containers of various shapes, the shock waves were eliminated. "Once you've done that," he says, "you can add all the energy, create all the pressure, and deliver all the power that you want." Lucas calls his invention Resonant Macrosonic Synthesis -- RMS. The beauty of a sound-wave compressor is that it would do what a compressor does, but without the moving parts required in conventional piston technology. Macrosonix researchers say they also hope to use sound to create clean electric power generators, replacing any number of machines with the technology of an empty cavity. Lucas and his colleagues at MacroSonix have created sound waves with 1,600 times more energy per unit volume than any previous human-made sound wave. The sound waves are created and sustained in a closed, horn-shaped "resonator" (cross-section shown). Created in the large main compartment of the resonator, the sound waves can convert low-pressure gas from the suction chamber (lower-right hand compartment) into high-pressure gas exiting the discharge chamber on the upper right. During a single "acoustic cycle" (which lasts 2 thousandths of a second in the process shown), the sound wave oscillates between high and low pressures in certain regions of the main chamber.
10/30/05 - Orchestrating Financial Collapse using Oil price hikes
This is from David Icke's email list. (Thanks to Ken & Rosemary! - JWD) I was an eye witness to what I am going to relate and there are a good many others who could come forward if only they will. In 2000, I worked in the Gulf of Mexico for two different OSV companies that provided support services to the "oil patch". The two companies did very different work for the oil companies so I got to get an eye full. Nearly all of the new wells in the gulf are immediately capped off and forgotten about. I saw well after well brought in only to see them capped off and left. I asked a couple of petroleum engineers what exactly was going on and I was told by both (they worked for different companies) that there was no intention of bringing that oil to market until the "price was right". When they are ready and want it they know right where to go get it. Oil platforms are designed to offer almost no wind resistance and the majority of platforms are at least 120 feet above the water level. They are built so well that several of them have suffered direct hits by watercraft of all sizes with little harm. They were damaged but they were far from destroyed. Anyone who has seen how fast an oil tanker can move in open water will tell you that they don't dawdle around. Most of them can move around 30-40 knots. For all of the kiddies that are waiting for their draft notices I would say don't bother, I don't think that there will be a draft. They won't need one. Since the all volunteer military came into being recruitment has always had an inverse relationship to the economy. The better the economy the harder it is to get recruits. We're facing a winter season in North America that may see heating costs equal to a family's house payment. If our weather is being controlled expect it to be a bad one. With $100 dollar a barrel oil on the horizon and the ensuing loss of jobs because of energy costs the military will be one of the only places a young man or woman will be able to eat on a regular basis and keep a roof over their heads. The neocons need cannon fodder for their war machine and lo and behold mysterious market forces drop it on their doorstep.
10/30/05 - 'Livin in the USA'
I think that a lot of people are carrying around in their heads, unarticulated and even in some cases unnoticed, a sense that the wheels are coming off the trolley and the trolley off the tracks. That in some deep and fundamental way things have broken down and can't be fixed, or won't be fixed any time soon. That our pollsters are preoccupied with "right track" and "wrong track" but missing the number of people who think the answer to "How are things going in America?" is "Off the tracks and hurtling forward, toward an unknown destination." There is a sense of unreality in our courts so deep that they think they can seize grandma's house to build a strip mall; our media institutions imploding--the spectacle of a great American newspaper, the New York Times, hurtling off its own tracks, as did CBS. Do you have confidence in the CIA? The FBI? I didn't think so. I suspect that history, including great historical novelists of the future, will look back and see that many of our elites simply decided to enjoy their lives while they waited for the next chapter of trouble. And that they consciously, or unconsciously, took grim comfort in this thought: I got mine. Which is what the separate peace comes down to, "I got mine, you get yours."
10/30/05 - Copying Nature
Copying the ideas of others is usually frowned upon, but when it comes to the work of Mother Nature, scientists are finding they can use nature as a template. An interdisciplinary group of scientists and engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology recently formed the Center for Biologically Inspired Design (CBID) with the goal of capitalizing on the rich source of design solutions present in biological processes. The researchers believe nature can inspire design and engineering solutions that are efficient, practical and sustainable and thus have the potential to greatly enhance new technologies, materials and processes. "We wanted to see how nature does things like gathering and transporting energy, and then see if we can translate those processes for human applications," Yen said. "Georgia Tech is a great place to do this kind of research. It provides engineers who want to apply their expertise with biologists a new way to design solutions to problems."
10/29/05 - DIY Jetbike!
(Just too cool not to post! - JWD) YSR-50's are generally powered by a 50cc 2 stroke engine made by Yamaha. They are rock solid, and quite fast. They have one definite advantage over imported pocket bikes however. They are STREET LEGAL! Smaller than a standard street bike and larger than a pocket bike it comes with a 50cc engine and is street legal. The gas turbine is being constructed from a Cummins ST-50 usually found in large trucks. The documentation is pretty thorough and covers the build from the beginning. It’s still in progress, the exhaust and pumps still need to be mounted, possibly a starter too. The ECU will be a Basic Stamp II. See, you don’t need to be Jay Leno or have 150K to have your own jet bike. Homebuilt Gas Turbine FAQ
10/29/05 - Oil industry under fire as it posts billions in profits
Reaction to major oil producers' staggering profits ranges from rage at the pumps to calls for profits to be reinvested in exploration, alternative-energy research or simply returned somehow to the public. Exxon Mobile Corp., the world's largest publicly traded oil company, said Thursday that it earned an industry record $9.9 billion in this year's third quarter, $4.2 billion, or 74 percent, more than it earned a year earlier. Other companies have reported similar results. The oil companies assert that their profits are no larger than other businesses and that they just look big because it is a big business. The soaring oil companies' profits prompted U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist on Thursday to call for hearings with oil companies on high energy costs. Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard also has called on Congress to look into the oil industry profits, particularly in light of the tax breaks the industry was awarded in the recently passed energy bill. "The energy bill has billions of dollars in benefits for oil companies, and they show their gratitude to consumers by cranking prices through the roof," Goddard said. "There is evidence that they caused the supply problems by earlier closing refineries," said David Cowley of the AAA. Economists blame high fuel costs for rising inflation and declining consumer spending.
10/29/05 - Gene found in Black Death survivors stops HIV
The bubonic plague is caused by a bacterium called Yersinia pestis and is characterized by chills, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and the formation of black boils in the armpits, neck, and groin. Though the disease was originally called the "Great Mortality" and the "Great Pestilence," the name "Black Death" was eventually adopted because of these black boils, which derive their color from dried blood under the skin caused by internal bleeding. In certain cases the bacterium spreads to the victims' lungs, causing them to fill with frothy, bloody liquid. This derivation of the disease is called pneumonic plague, and can quickly spread from person to person through the air. It is almost always lethal. Local Eyam lore tells befuddling stories of plague survivors who had close contact with the bacterium but never caught the disease. Elizabeth Hancock buried six children and her husband in a week, but never became ill. The village gravedigger handled hundreds of plague-ravaged corpses, but survived as well. Could these people have somehow been immune to the Black Death? Dr. Stephen O'Brien's work with HIV and the mutated form of the gene CCR5, called "delta 32," led him to Eyam. In 1996, research showed that delta 32 prevents HIV from entering human cells and infecting the body. O'Brien thought this principle could be applied to the plague bacteria, which affects the body in a similar manner. To determine whether the Eyam plague survivors may have carried delta 32, O'Brien tested the DNA of their modern-day descendents. What he found out was startling.
10/29/05 - Radio Frequency Lighting
The General Electric scientist holds an ordinary electric bulb in his hands and makes it shine mysteriously without any wires to provide the ordinary electric circuit. Secret of the trick is a high-frequency radio transmitter hidden below the ring at the bottom of the picture. The radio energy given off is picked up by the antenna system composed of the scientist's arms and body, which form a loop.
10/29/05 - GaN helps scientists generate hydrogen from water
A research group based in a Tokyo university has succeeded to produce hydrogen using a Gallium Nitride (GaN) device as a photocatalyst, which scientists believe could lead to a process that extracts hydrogen directly from water using only solar energy. "We confirmed that nitride semiconductor can produce hydrogen from water," said Kazuhiro Ohkawa, associate professor of Tokyo University. He noted that a light-emitting semiconductor absorbs the same wavelength light that it emits. Relying on the same characteristics for photocatalysis reaction, the group succeeded to extract hydrogen by just exposing light on the nitride film dipped in water. In its research, scientists grew thin films of GaN and InGaN on sapphire substrates, then used a Xenon lamp to expose light on the nitride films. The nitride film and a platinum electrode in water are connected with a 1-volt power source. While the photocatalysis theoretically do not require any power, Ohkawa said, "We apply the small voltage as a tap to urge the reaction." Once exposed to light, oxygen generates at the nitride electrode and hydrogen generates at the platinum electrode. The conversion efficiency is 0.5 percent for the GaN film and 0.7 percent for the InGaN film. The experimental system using a 50-millimeter diameter GaN film produces several milliliters of hydrogen per hour. Doping Indium in GaN enables the nitride semiconductor to emit longer wavelength lights. If high quality InGaN film can be fabricated, the photocatalyst can utilize the wider frequency range of sunlight. Research team scientists expect to raise conversion efficiency to 10 percent in three years. By using a solar battery for longer wavelength light, Ohkawa expects efficiency to reach 40 percent.
10/29/05 - Hospital in a Box for remote areas
Fits into a Land Rover and can be taken hundreds of miles into remote locations, almost anywhere in the world. FOR people living in remote areas of the developing world, the nearest hospital can be hundreds of miles away, making access to even the most basic of surgery impossible. But if the people can't come to the hospital, why not take the operating theatre to them? That's the thinking behind a solar-powered "hospital in a box", which can fit in the back of a Land Rover and has been designed to allow a team of three surgeons to carry out life-saving operations almost anywhere in the world. The system, developed by a team of doctors and technicians from the UK's National Health Service, comprises two small boxes that unfold to provide an operating table, equipment holder, lighting, anaesthesia and monitors, plus a plastic tent to provide a clean environment for surgery.
10/29/05 - Retroreflector for sea rescues
(I've always been fascinated with phase conjugation type retro reflectors so the use of them to scan miles at a time is simply brilliant! - JWD) Gerald Falbel's patent was filed to help search for downed military pilots, it can be used equally well for finding shipwrecked sailors or airline passengers in life-rafts. The downed pilot wears a helmet that carries a large glass hemisphere, similar to a camera fisheye lens, on the top. This sits over a reflector, which catches light from every direction and reflects it back in the direction it came from - much like a cats-eye road marker. A spotter plane flying high over the rescue area - at about 10,000 feet - sweeps a laser beam across the water, say East to West. It then rapidly retraces the beam's path, before starting a new sweep slightly to the North. Each sweep takes just 1 second, meaning a path tens of miles long can be scanned in just a few minutes. If the beam hits a cats-eye helmet it bounces straight back, to be registered by a camera sensor and recorded as a hit. Although there will inevitably be false reflections, from stones or water glints, they will not show up from the same place on a retraced beam sweep, so can be safely ignored. The laser is also pulsed to help the sensor distinguish a genuine hit from reflected sunlight - sunlight has no pulses.
10/29/05 - Moonpower
One of these days, in the not so terribly distant future, when you turn on a light you may be getting moonlight. How will it work? There's a new blueprint for using the lunar surface to generate moon power. Scientists have studied the surface and decided that moon dust could be perfect to produce power. With heat, it could become miles of solar panels. "The surface of the moon is made of crystals and you can use microwaves or other low-grade power sources to fuse these crystals into a surface which when coated with silicon, which is also available on the moon, you can generate power," said Boeing strategist Paul Eckert. That power could be used on the moon or beamed back for use in earth's own power grid.
10/28/05 - People eating genetically modified food may have rat-short lifespan
It is generally believed that rats, cockroaches and cyanobacteria can survive any biological catastrophe. But recently, researchers have once again stated that there is a delayed action poison which can slowly kill even enduring rodents. Experimental rats were given food containing genetically modified components. The rats survived during the experiment but their conduct seriously changed: they became nervous, anxious and even aggressive for no reason at all. The researcher discovered abnormal pathologic changes in the liver and testicles of the rats. This is important that descendants of the experimental rats fed with GMF had really terrible problems. Alien components turned out to be lethal for little rats. Generally, all rats of one litter survive. But over 55 percent of experimental rats' babies were born dead or died soon after they came to the world. At that, their death was really agonizing, they were found with their intestines swollen. Other new-born rats had really weak health. At the same time, mothers did not reveal their motherly instinct actively. Experiments reveal that transgenes are very poisonous for descendants and are in fact a delayed action biological weapon.
10/28/05 - ExxonMobil happy with gouged prices, no alternative energy investments
ExxonMobil, which stunned Americans on Thursday by reporting nearly $10 billion in profit for the third quarter, says it has no plans to invest any of those earnings in developing alternative or renewable energy - something other oil companies do. Neither will Exxon significantly step up how much money it puts into finding oil or refining it into gasoline, which could help ease tight supplies that have driven oil and gasoline prices to records this year. Exxon's investment for those activities will total about $18 billion this year, roughly what was planned and similar to what Exxon has invested in exploration and refining in past years, Gardner says. ExxonMobil earned $7.9 billion for all of 1999. Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration show that the 20 big energy companies it tracks, together, earned $1.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2001, and together earned less than $10 billion in several other quarters in 2001 and 2002. Exxon notes it boosted the energy efficiency of its own refineries and chemical plants more than 3% last year vs. 2003, and is investing $100 million over 10 years in a Stanford University project to find energy sources not yet being considered. Exxon's huge profits and its reluctance to use them for alternative energy development are unlikely to win much applause from motorists weary of $3 gas.
10/28/05 - Task force urges £20m grants for green fuel boilers
Boilers that burn wood, straw and sewage sludge instead of coal, oil and gas could reduce Britain's carbon dioxide emissions by 3m tonnes a year, experts said yesterday. The government's biomass taskforce criticised ministers' approach to the technology and, in a new report, urged them to release up to £20m a year as grants to help schools, hospitals, local authorities and companies pay for boilers and combined heat and power plants that run on green fuels. Central heating and hot water systems account for more than a third of energy consumption in the UK, yet just 1% of this demand is met by renewable sources. The biomass taskforce, set up by the government a year ago, says this could increase to 3% by 2010 and 7% by 2015. Exploited properly, existing biomass sources could bring carbon savings equivalent to the pollution produced by 3.25m cars. The report said about 1m hectares of land could be available to grow energy crops, yielding about 8m tonnes of biomass fuel; up to 4.5m tonnes of waste wood could also be used. With some 50,000 buildings, it says the public sector is ideally placed to convert to biomass-generated heat.
10/28/05 - Examiners: Accounting at NASA still a mess
NASA's finances are such a jumbled mess that lawmakers fear the agen-cy's $100 billion moon-Mars venture might spark massive cost overruns such as those that plagued the international space station for years.
Auditors from two agencies on Thursday testified that NASA has made little progress in accounting for how it spends taxpayer money. NASA still can't balance its own checkbook. NASA relies too heavily on outside contractors for accounting numbers, leaving room for fraud and abuse and making it difficult to monitor them. NASA's failings could spell trouble for its plans to return to the moon by 2018 and begin planning a manned exploration of Mars, auditors said. Just a few years ago, NASA's accounting woes led to a surprise $4.5 billion cost overrun on the space station, noted the GAO's Allen Li.
10/28/05 - Geeks guide to working out
If you can believe this, many Geeks are in bad shape. Many of you geeks might have this little voice in the backs of your heads saying you should be working out, but it is promptly silenced by the din of a good game of Half-Life or your blasting MP3's. However, should you decide to listen to that voice, as I did, here's a listing of the things I have found to be most important to my ongoing endeavor. I've been working out consistently now for over 6 months, so something's going right. I feel obliged to point out that you can still get great results without a giant time investment in the cardio part of your workout. I saw a study recently at www.fitnessonline.com where women did just 2 minutes of warmup and 8 minutes of cardio (at 70% or better of their target heart rate) along with a light weight training routine for three days a week. On average, they lost 3 pounds of fat, and gained two pounds of muscle in just 2 months. Mind you, that's not just 3 pounds, but 3 pounds of fat. They noticed a definite decrease in their cellulite, as well. Not that I have much cellulite; I'm just saying. It doesn't take much to make a big difference. Saige advises geeks who want to get in shape should look into Dance Dance Revolution, which forces you to jump around a lot. I personally think that going to the arcade for your daily workout is a bit expensive, not to mention yucky. People don't come to the arcade so they can be around people who smell like they've been working out, even though that's what tends to happen anyway. However, I think a few free DDR machines in workout facilities (instead of treadmills, which are probably just as expensive) would be awesome!. In fact, if they could make all fitness equipment into video game machines, you'd probably see a sharp decline in teenage obesity.
10/28/05 - Pumping energy from the Aether/ZPE
When an arc has been struck between a welding machine typically using 20-100 amperes of direct-current electricity at 20-60 volts and the aluminum stock, one notices the sudden jerking motion of the power supply wires connecting the hand-piece to the transformer. This phenomena can be explained either by using the Ampère force, in that case another part of the equipment must also move in opposite direction to counterbalance the momentum of the wires, or by the generation of a stimulated force applied to the center of mass of the equipment. Deyo duplicates this phenomena by hanging a loop of 0.08 mm diameter wire across the laboratory room, each end of a portion of the wire was fixed to the walls. A car battery was used to supply the high-current to the test wire. When the power was applied to this experimental setting, the portion of the wire which drooped between the two anchor posts deflected toward one wall for a given polarity and toward the other wall when the polarity of the battery is reversed. In either case, as the circuit was closed, the wire deflection was momentarily exaggerated before coming to rest slightly off its unenergized position. Deyo also tested the interaction of the Earth's magnetic field with the magnetic field of the wire by hanging four loops from the ceiling, each loop faced a direction of the compass. Whenever, he applied power to the system, the loops would all deflect equally either toward or away from the center of the loop arrangement as shown in Fig.5.
10/28/05 - Japanese firm develops technology to transmit movie in 0.5 seconds
A Japanese company has developed technology to transmit a two-hour movie in 0.5 seconds, the world's fastest speed achieved with fibre-optic cables in the field, it said Thursday. Kansai Electric used fibre-optic cables on power-transmitting steel towers to achieve the speed of one terabit per second, which is more than 100 times faster than inter-city data transmissions currently in use, a spokesman said.
10/28/05 - GM hires Russian nuclear scientists to develop new auto technology
(I think this is a super smart move by GM and watch GM stock in future as radical new technologies are revealed from Russian researchers! - JWD) A new research and design center is planned for Moscow which will focus on the development of batteries, fuel cells, hybrid and electronic controls. "The government encourages US companies to do business there and to fully utilize the scientific talents there," GM spokeswoman Angele Shaw told AFP. "They have a vast talent pool." GM is looking to take advantage of US and European Union programs that provide financial incentives to Russian scientists to develop peaceful projects, including automobile propulsion systems. "About three years ago we began to explore the possibility of conducting research in the former Soviet Union," Alan Taub, executive director of science at GM's research and development laboratories said in a statement. "In a very short time, working with universities, academies and scientific institutes, we saw world class results in key technologies."
10/28/05 - Force Multiplying Engine
This invention lies in the use of an ecological engine which works on the principle of the power ratio, and in such a way that it is powered at start-up by a 1 kW electric motor, and then uses the principle of power ratio to drive a series of hydraulic high-pressure pumps which exert pressure on oil in a common tank and drive an hydraulic engine which powers the reduction gear and then the wheels of the vehicle. To date, the principle of the use of power ratio to drive a 5 kW generator, which will have an output of 100 kW electricity, has been unknown. The essence of this invention lies in fact that high-pressure pumps of certain capacity and construction do not consume a great deal of energy, while the pressure produced can be used for obtaining high power on small surfaces.The ecological hydraulic engine is executed in such a way that it works on the principle of power relation (the pulse defeating of pressure in the tank across the high- pressure pumps and it is powered by a 1 kW electric motor (but it may also be powered by even less power), supplied from the battery arrangement for the first driving, which accumulates energy in the tank by system of high-pressure pumps, and as a medium it uses hydro-oil (or some other kind of pressure medium), under the pressure of 300 bars (recommendable), and in this way collected energy is transmitted, with the help of hydroengines, on the car wheels or on some other kind of propulsion machine, while its small part is used for filling of batteries with the help of alternator. This kind of engine may work without any kind of fuel or battery, because it can produce energy for itself and it can serve as a non-limited source of energy. The power gained on the shaft of hydroengine may be used as it is needed. PATENT is classified in REPUBLIC OF CROATIA state patent office - Class: 381-03/94-01/3695 - Number: P940977A Drazen Pavicin -
HR-21224 Slatina - Croatia - e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Bill Beaty contacted him via email back in 1998 and the inventor wrote that he has built and patented a self running hydraulic engine and that he would be pleased to show it to me of anyone else that is interested. This guy claims that his engine self runs after an initial startup, requiring no fuel.
10/28/05 - Mirrors to help Alps villagers see the light
The residents of an Austrian village in the shadow of the Tyrol mountain range hope to beat the winter blues with dozens of giant mirrors. They have backed a scheme to use the computer-controlled reflectors to bounce the rays of the sun around the mountains overlooking Rattenberg and on to their main street. Whereas countries such as Slovenia market themselves as the "sunny side of the Alps", many communities are denied sunshine from November to February because they are on the wrong side of a mountain. They are being called the "valleys of despond". Rattenberg's 460 inhabitants have unusually high rates of seasonal depression, according to Peter Erhard, the local doctor. He said that more of his patients were reporting sleeplessness, sadness, lethargy and poor self-esteem during winter. The mirrors - or heliostats - can bounce rays to a target. The plan is to build a bank of 30 solar reflectors in the neighbouring village of Kramsach, 500m away on the sunny side of the Stadtberg mountain. The mirrors tilt so they can track the sun's position. The rays are sent through gaps in the mountains to a second bank of 30 mirrors in Rattenberg. The reflected sunshine will not be enough to bathe the whole village but it can create 10 hot spots: chosen streets and historical facades, many of which date back to the 15th century. Depressed locals will be able to go on to the high street to tank up with sunlight. The mirrors will cost about E2million ($3.2 million), funded by the EU and the regional authorities, and should be operating by the first half of 2007.
10/28/05 - "Quote of the Year" - "You know the world is going crazy when the best rapper is a white guy, the best golfer is a black guy, the tallest guy in the NBA is Chinese, the
Swiss hold the America's Cup, France is accusing the U.S. of arrogance, Germany doesn't want to
go to war, and the three most powerful men in America are named Bush, Dick, and Colon." (Thanks Jack in Irving, TX)
10/28/05 - Burning water as fuel
(Thanks Stuart for the headsup on this. - JWD) Under the right conditions water itself can be made to burn (i.e.without using the energy input required for electrolysis). And in its subsequent recombination into water, it produces a heat and light of such intensity, that it can sublimate fire brick. Which is why I note with interest that a new "water based fuel" invention has appeared on the block at BiosFuel. In it, the inventor frequently emphasizes that his invention is " . . . a water based fuel " (rather than the conventional electrolysis inferred on the web site). He also talks of the "entrainment" of hydrogen in the water. Water will burn under the right conditions, and with the right "catalyst". This invention may or may not use similar techniques. Or it may be a new method of conditioning water that somehow "entrains" additional hydrogen?
10/27/05 - Iranian student invents rainmaking technique
Iranian inventor Reza Kahuli was awarded as world's four best inventors by the British Inventors Society (BIS). He is known for 16 inventions in various domains, the most important of which is the new method he has invented for cloud impregnation. His invention was officially registered in the provincial capital city of Tabriz in mid-winter of 2005 and was approved by the scientific panel of Tabriz University. It was also presented at the 6th Kharazmi Youth Festival. Reducing the duration of rainfall from 45 to 15 minutes, decreasing the expenses of relevant operations, increasing the soil content of nitrate, optimizing the farms productivity, development of technology and its export to the world are among the special features of the method using the nitric oxide gas to impregnate clouds. New idea for modification of the weather, Cheaper and Faster than other methods; Useful for countries which don't have enough water for agriculture. Reza Kahouli & Hadi Kahouli
Fannavaran, No. 86, Velayat Bul., Dadghostari Quarter, Sahand Quarter, Tabriz, Iran Tel:+98 411 381 6380 or +98 914 323 1480 Email:email@example.com
10/27/05 - Former Naval Physicist: Government Can Control Hurricanes/Former Vet "Made it Rain" During Vietnam War
Livingston, now 77, has a master's degree in cloud physics from the Naval Weapons Center and Navy Post Graduate School in California, a degree he later used in the battlefields. According to a recent report "He seeded clouds and dramatically increased rainfall in his theater of war, creating impassably muddy roads, slowing down the Vietnamese and Korean troops, and saving lives and entire towns from occupation." He now works with scientists and pilots at Weather Modification Inc., in Fargo, N.D. His research of hurricane control has been confirmed by the Stanford Research Institute. He has personally flown on 265 missions into the eyes of hurricanes and has gone on record as "most disgusted" with Hurricane Katrina because he knows that the storm itself could have been minimized. Livingston revealed that to reduce or redirect a category 4 hurricane would not be that difficult: "A hurricane is made up of energy sails and each of those sails adds to the ferocity of it. It was proven in 1974 by an international project that these energy sails exist and that they are the reason that hurricanes can develop and grow to move and cause damages. So there's no reason to attack the hurricane in total but just to fly in to the right front quadrant primarily relative to the direction the storm is moving in and seed those energy sails that are converging and making the rain and wind velocity increase in the front part of a hurricane," Livingston asserted. During the Vietnam war the goal for Livingston and his colleagues was to actually strengthen adverse weather, to inflate and exacerbate the monsoon season in order that the Vietnamese get bogged down. So not only is prevention possible, but also creation of harsh weather conditions. Cloud seeding is the process of spreading either dry ice (or more commonly, silver iodide AEROSOLS) into the upper part of clouds to try to stimulate the precipitation process and form rain. Since most rainfall starts through the growth of ice crystals from super-cooled cloud droplets (droplets colder than the freezing point, 32 deg. F) in the upper parts of clouds, the silver iodide particles are meant to encourage the growth of new ice particles.
10/27/05 - Easing pain
(Thanks to Robin in Australia for the headsup on this. - JWD) A new machine claiming to cure pain by charging body cells has received glowing reviews from patients, who say their pain has all but gone. For two years Valerie Lee had barely been able to walk as she suffered from fibromyalgia, a crippling form of rheumatism. "I was in constant pain throughout my entire body, the worst was in my legs and feet," she said. She said her pain was cured when she discovered electro regenesis, a new machine that treats pain by delivering an ultra low electrical current through the body."It works by charging up the cells, energising the cells and a fully energised cell is able to do its job far more effectively," Dr Stubbs said. "And if you're energising the healing cells, the body can heal itself far more effectively," he said. "What we've found when we treat people is the healing is permanent and when we stop the treatment process the pain doesn't come back again".
10/27/05 - Wal-Mart Shifts from Petroleum to Corn based packaging
The biggest news of the Oct. 17 - 19 event was made when Wal-Mart executive Matt Kistler announced that the retail giant, which is also America's largest grocery seller, is beginning to switch from petroleum-based to corn-based plastic packaging. The first substitution, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported, starting Nov. 1, involves 114 million clear-plastic clamshell containers used annually by the retailer for cut fruit and herbs. "With this change to packaging made from corn, we will save the equivalent of 800,000 gallons of gasoline and reduce more than 11 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions," said Kistler. "This is a way to make a change, positive for the environment and for business," he said at the Sustainable Packaging Forum.
10/27/05 - Injecting concrete to 'cure' back problems
A few weeks ago, Mervyn, who has osteoporosis, broke his back. He suffered a vertebrae fracture which is usually untreatable. Most people with this injury have to simply lie in bed for up to four months and wait for it to heal. But now there's new hope for people like Mervyn Mason. He was given having the latest cutting edge treatment, where cement is injected into his broken spine. Yes, cement similar to that used in footpaths. The cement restores the strength of the vertebrae. Mervyn has already received the treatment for another fracture he suffered, and couldn't believe the results. "It's an absolute miracle for the treatment to be immediately effective to reduce pain and fracture," Mervyn said. "It's quite amazing to feel it can be done immediately." "A needle is passed through the skin and into the body of the vertebral bone," Dr Clark explained. "We then mix up some cement to the consistency of toothpaste and inject it into the bone." "It smells a little like the glue in the old aeroplane kits" What this does it restores the bone's hardness and stops the motion in the fracture and relieves the pain." The procedure is called vertebroplasty. The cement is slowly squeezed into the fracture while Dr Clark monitors it through an x-ray on a TV screen. "As we inject the glue we watch it filling the bone and make sure it doesn't go anywhere we don't want it to go," Dr Clark said. Mervyn received about a teaspoonful of cement injected into his fractured vertebrae. It set in about five minutes, and it was hoped that within the hour, his mind-bending pain would be gone, while his fragile spine would once again be supportive.
10/27/05 - 'Smogmobile nitrogen car costs 3.8 vs 6.8 cents per mile for gasoline/electric
The smogmobile is powered by energy from pressure built up when super-cooled liquid nitrogen is heated by ambient air and converts to a gas. The nitrogen gas turns an air motor, which propels the car, then exits the tailpipe. Since the atmosphere already is 78 percent nitrogen, the environmental effect of driving smogmobiles - even millions of them - would be virtually undetectable, Hertzberg says. To make liquid nitrogen, Hertzberg explains, a plant would simply run air through a large refrigeration system and collect the liquid nitrogen as it condenses. In the process, pollutants such as carbon dioxide also are removed from the air and could be disposed of in a benign manner. the UW group was the first to develop a heat exchanger system that prevents frost build-up from impeding the conversion process. The smogmobile's heat exchanger pulls liquid nitrogen from an insulated fuel tank through a series of aluminum tubing coils and specially designed pipes. Engine exhaust and outside air are circulated around the coils and pipes to gradually warm up the nitrogen from a minus-320 F liquid to an ambient-temperature gas. The conversion from liquid to gas expands the volume of the nitrogen 700 times, building sufficient pressure to turn an air motor much like pressure from burning gasoline drives an internal combustion engine. Using a 100-gallon tank would to match the average range for gas-powered vehicles of 250 miles between fill-ups. As large as the 100-gallon tank sounds, Williams said it would still weigh less than the batteries used in electric cars. Assuming an 8-cent-per-gallon price for mass produced liquid nitrogen, they predict the smogmobile would cost 3.8 cents per mile to drive. This compares favorably with the 6.2-cent-per-mile cost of operating gas-powered vehicles and electric cars (including the cost of battery replacement every two to three years).
10/26/05 - Buckypaper revisited - stronger than steel and harder than diamonds
(I am reposting this because now there is this photo showing the structure and form. I wonder about the rigidity of it since it says 'hard as diamonds', does that mean the paper is an unbendable panel? - JWD) A Florida State University research group (FAC2T) is developing real-world applications for Buckypaper, a material that is 10 times lighter than steel and 250 times stronger - but also highly conductive of heat and electricity. Buckypaper is made from carbon nanotubes - amazingly strong fibers about 1/50,000th the diameter of a human hair that were first developed in the early 1990s. Buckypaper owes its name to Buckminsterfullerene, or Carbon 60 - a type of carbon molecule. If the researchers are successful in making Buckypaper hold a charge it would be more energy-efficient, lighter, and would allow for a more uniform level of brightness than current CRT and LCD technology.
10/26/05 - Contest for Money Saving Tips
Looking to save money? Shower with your dog, live in a tent and confiscate your husband's credit cards. The competition, run by a nationwide chain of bargain stores, asked contestants for their best tips for saving money. The prize is worth more than $35,000. The winner is to be announced Saturday. One embittered contestant advised: "Do not give money to your wife. Do not give money to your wife. Do not give money to your wife. Get the hint!" Another recommended that penny-pinchers cut their own hair - noting that the damage to their appearance also would cut down on costly social obligations.
10/26/05 - Half-MW Solar Tracking System Installed in New Jersey
Just over a half-MW worth of solar PV trackers have been completed at a Johnson & Johnson facility in New Jersey. The Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies facility this week announced its new solar power system, consisting of ground-mounted panels that move during the day to follow the sun across the sky. The 505 kW solar tracking system is the largest and highest-output ground-mounted solar system east of the Mississippi, according to developers. Covering just under three acres, the PowerLight PowerTracker sun tracking system maximizes the sun's available energy by capturing 20 percent more daylight than fixed arrays, as the tracker follows the sun from early morning to late afternoon. Over its 30-year operating life, it is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 7,000 tons -- the equivalent of removing almost 1,400 cars from New Jersey's roadways.
10/26/05 - Russians working on reusable space ferry
Russia, Europe, and Japan may jointly develop a crewed spacecraft called Kliper to ferry as many as six astronauts to and from the International Space Station. The spacecraft could launch as early as 2010 - just as NASA retires its space shuttles. That timing coincides with NASA's plan to retire its space shuttle fleet in 2010. "The fact that the shuttle is retiring means there needs to be a human crew transportation system in place," Thirkettle told New Scientist. NASA is developing a shuttle replacement called the Crew Exploration Vehicle, which it hopes to launch by 2014, but has said it does not want international governmental cooperation on the project. Kliper is also being designed to operate completely autonomously, without the need for pilot control. "It's got to be capable of automatic flight," Thirkettle says. Some on the team hope Kliper would be able to travel to the Moon... "It could well be that Kliper is a truck that goes backwards and forwards to low-Earth orbit and a different system takes you to the Moon," he says.
10/26/05 - NASA Scraps Plan to Wrap Hanger in Solar Panels
NASA said Monday the panels would not generate enough energy to justify the $40 million cost of installing them. NASA had hoped the panels would generate power for thousands of homes near Moffett Field in Mountain View. The agency was investigating how to use historic Hangar One, a 200-foot-high structure, which was sealed several years ago by the Environmental Protection Agency amid concerns about asbestos and other chemical contamination. One idea to save the hangar was to erect a space museum inside with photovoltaic panels outside. The U.S. Navy, which is charged with the hangar's cleanup, estimated the repaneling costs at more than $40 million, compared with $16 million to demolish it. San Diego-based Sempra Energy, the only company to bid on the project, said the plan was not financially feasible. The company submitted a new proposal to NASA to put solar panels instead on an adjacent parking garage.
10/26/05 - Could platinum mining spur Moon development?
Wingo makes an ingenious case for finding platinum group metals (PGMs) on or near the lunar surface, in the form of debris from asteroid impacts. While conventional wisdom has argued that impacts of large asteroids would vaporize most of the impactor, modern computer modeling has shown that a significant fraction of an asteroid impacting the Earth would survive in some form. In fact, some major sources of PGMs on Earth, such as Sudbury in Canada and sites in South Africa, have been linked to asteroid impacts. The Moon’s lower gravity would mean slower impacts, making it more likely that significant portions of asteroids could survive. PGMs mined from those impacts could meet the fuel-cell needs of the Earth for centuries; the mining process would, in turn, also generate other metals like iron and nickel that could be used for settlements on the Moon and beyond. The United States is heavily dependent on imports of platinum, with over 90% of its annual demand coming from overseas, primarily Russia and South Africa. At the end of September 2005, the London Fix price for platinum was above $930 per troy ounce, and there appears little reason to believe that price will fall dramatically given platinum’s industrial usefulness and its desirability for jewelry and related purposes.
10/26/05 - Designing Energy for a Changing Climate
RED asks a rare question: "Can we make energy interesting?" Readers vote on their top ten policy recommendations, most of which alone blow away any 'Top 10' list I've ever seen. Redesigning Energy Policy details RED's concepts for empowering homeowners, and includes Personal Carbon Allowances, a '1 million roof' campaign for investing in solar or green roofs, and a whole set of systems that would support the creation and maintenance of urban decentralized energy in the UK. They've even designed gorgeous energy-use statements for households. Top 10 Policy policy recommendations - 1. Home energy production - 2. Personal carbon allowance - 3. 1 million roofs (solar, grass, wind) - 4. Home Energy Information (monitoring energy production/usage) - 5. Power Pension (credits for free energy on retirement) - 6. Energy retrofits as a mortgage condition - 7. Energy collaboratives - 8. Promotion of domestic HOUSECOs (Household Environmental Service Companies) - 9. Home Energy Trading Scheme (HETS) - 10. Deep Support Service (advice, purchase, installation, auditing and investment).
10/26/05 - Aussie wave to energy plant powers up
WOLLONGONG is riding the crest of a wave after Energetech Australia achieved a world first off Port Kembla yesterday by generating alternative energy and fresh water from the sea. In 2m seas the wave machine, which was christened Uiscebeatha (meaning water of life) the night before, performed beyond expectations, according to Energetech project manager Emil De Graaff.
10/26/05 - Simple remote control effect for Humans
A special headset was placed on my cranium by my hosts during a recent demonstration at an NTT research center. It sent a very low voltage electric current from the back of my ears through my head - either from left to right or right to left, depending on which way the joystick on a remote-control was moved. I found the experience unnerving and exhausting: I sought to step straight ahead but kept careening from side to side. Those alternating currents literally threw me off. The technology is called galvanic vestibular stimulation - essentially, electricity messes with the delicate nerves inside the ear that help maintain balance. I felt a mysterious, irresistible urge to start walking to the right whenever the researcher turned the switch to the right. I was convinced - mistakenly - that this was the only way to maintain my balance. There's no proven-beyond-a-doubt explanation yet as to why people start veering when electricity hits their ear. But NTT researchers say they were able to make a person walk along a route in the shape of a giant pretzel using this technique. The very low level of electricity required for the effect is unlikely to cause any health damage, Collins said. Still, NTT required me to sign a consent form, saying I was trying the device at my own risk. "This would be the most logical situation for a nonlethal weapon that presumably would make your opponent dizzy," he said via e-mail. "If you find just the right frequency, energy, duration of application, you would hope to find something that doesn't permanently injure someone but would allow you to make someone temporarily off-balance." Indeed, a small defense contractor in Texas, Invocon Inc., is exploring whether precisely tuned electromagnetic pulses could be safely fired into people's ears to temporarily subdue them. If you're determined to fight the suggestive orders from the electric currents by clinging to a fence or just lying on your back, you simply won't move.
10/26/05 - Dumping broken PCs in Africa
Basically, used computer equipment sent from the U.S. to developing countries is often useless, creating environmental problems in areas of the world already racked with poverty and disease. The report focused on Nigeria in western Africa but said the situation is similar in many parts of the developing world. In Lagos, the Nigerian capital, about 400,000 used computers arrive every month but as many as 75 percent are beyond repair, according to the report. And, like many poor nations, Nigeria lacks the infrastructure to accomodate the electronics recycling necessary. The average PC monitor contains about 8 lbs. of lead, not to mention plastics infused with flame retardants and other dangerous chemicals. If the BAN's report convinces enough people of the PC problem, philanthropic organizations will be justified taking steps to make sure developing areas get machines that actually work. A continent already blighted and suffering from the inattention of the West hardly needs a toxic dump of our obsolete technology.
10/26/05 - Tips to speed up Adobe Acrobat Reader
(I prefer Foxit which is free to download. - JWD) I finally got around to upgrading to the Adobe Acrobat Reader version 7.0 (which was released about a week ago). It's amazingly fast compared to 6.0. I highly recommend to all of you on Windows XP or Windows 2000 to upgrade to this newer version. It's really fast. Seriously. It's fast. I used to dread clicking on PDF links (I even installed the Target Alert plugin to warn me) because it would take 10-20 seconds to start the reader and load even the smallest PDF documents. With version 7, it's instantaneous. If you decide to follow my lead and upgrade to this version, here are some notes that should make your experience even better.
10/26/05 - In search of the never landing Airplane
An airplane that never needs to land might sound impossible, but it is closer to reality now that a small solar-powered plane completed a two-day flight fueled only by energy from the sun. Dubbed the "SoLong," the craft built by the AC Propulsion company stores solar energy in a lithium-ion battery pack during the day to keep it flying at night. The company incorporated lightweight Sanyo high-capacity Li Ion batteries into an energy-efficient craft made of composite materials, weighing only 28 pounds with a wingspan of slightly more than 15 feet. Along its wing are 76 Sunpower solar cells that could produce 225 watts of power, while the craft required only 95 watts for level flight. SoLong took off at 4:08 PM, Wednesday, June 1 from the sun-baked runway at Desert Center Airport just east of Eagle Mountain in California's Colorado desert. It remained aloft until Friday when it skidded to a stop at 4:24 PM after 48 hours and 16 minutes in the air. During that time it had fully recharged its batteries during the day and then flown through the night on battery power. Twice. Nothing, save the flagging energy of its pilots on the ground, kept the SoLong from flying for another two days, or ten, or a whole month says the company. With a charge-discharge cycle efficiency over 95%, the Li-ion batteries do not squander the bounty from the solar cells, and at 220 Wh/kg, the Sanyo cells pack a lot of energy without much weight. Still, the battery makes up 44% of the aircraft's total weight. To make up for the inevitable weight of the batteries, the rest of the aircraft is as light and efficient as possible. The six servos that move the control surfaces use special electronics that were developed for this mission by AC Propulsion to reduce power consumption and to extend durability.
10/25/05 - Israeli car makes its own fuel
A unique system that can produce Hydrogen inside a car using common metals such as Magnesium and Aluminum was developed by an Israeli company. The system solves all of the obstacles associated with the manufacturing, transporting and storing of hydrogen to be used in cars. a different solution has been developed by an Israeli company called Engineuity. Amnon Yogev, one of the two founders of Engineuity, and a retired Professor of the Weizmann Institute, suggested a method for producing a continuous flow of Hydrogen and steam under full pressure inside a car. This method could also be used for producing hydrogen for fuel cells and other applications requiring hydrogen and/or steam. The Hydrogen car Engineuity is working on will use metals such as Magnesium or Aluminum which will come in the form of a long coil. The gas tank in conventional vehicles will be replaced by a device called a Metal-Steam combustor that will separate Hydrogen out of heated water. The basic idea behind the technology is relatively simple: the tip of the metal coil is inserted into the Metal-Steam combustor together with water where it will be heated to very high temperatures. The metal atoms will bond to the Oxygen from the water, creating metal oxide. As a result, the Hydrogen molecules are free, and will be sent into the engine alongside the steam. The solid waste product of the process, in the form of metal oxide, will later be collected in the fuel station and recycled for further use by the metal industry. Refuelling the car based on this technology will also be remarkably simple. The vehicle will contain a mechanism for rolling the metal wire into a coil during the process of fuelling and the spent metal oxide, which was produced in the previous phase, will be collected from the car by vacuum suction.
10/25/05 - Laundromats raise prices due to high energy costs
Natural gas, propane and electricity prices continue their march to new heights, and with those higher prices come higher utility bills for retail laundry centers -- much, much higher. Some are raising wash prices in small increments, while others are adjusting dryer cycles, giving not the national average eight minutes per 25 cents but rather anywhere from five to seven minutes. (Or setting the start price at 50 cents.) "The Catch-22 is that ours is really an industry that serves a segment of the population that can really least afford price increases," said Patti Andresen-Shew, a spokeswoman for Alliance Laundry Holdings LLC, owner of the well-known Laundromat brand SpeedQueen. Alliance's customers, like many in the industry, are switching to more energy-efficient machines that use less hot water and give greater control over the length and the temperature of cycles. With other energy-intensive pursuits like driving or home heating, people can sometimes cut back to keep their costs down. But with a sweaty T-shirt or a stained pair of pants, there really is no option. "Really what we're providing is a basic public health service," the Coin Laundry Association's Wallace said. "The fact of the matter is, dirty laundry has to be done. It's not something that can be rationed or put off until energy prices come down."
10/25/05 - Changing your Brainwaves to Chill
Hyper-competitive South Koreans have been using a light and sound machine to help them relax and focus on their studies-but the jury’s still out on the science of the device. The MC Square is not a hip-hop act, but a small Walkman-sized control unit that runs sequences of flickering lights and rhythmic pulsating sounds out to LED-installed goggles and stereo headphones in combinations that allegedly change brainwaves, helping you to screen out distracting thoughts and ace that big test. Confident in their claims, the manufacturer has commissioned two reputable U.S. universities, Penn Medicine and Thomas Jefferson University, to run studies on the device.
10/25/05 - Wesleyan student unveils car that runs on alternative fuel
At an environmental forum Wednesday, a Wesleyan student answered a city initiative with her own clean energy invention: a car that runs on vegetable oil. The Denver native has hand-crafted an engine that turns used cooking oil into effective transportation. She gets the vegetable oil from Typhoon restaurant on Main Street, where friendly staff collect a supply for her after a week’s worth of noodles and egg rolls pass through. She pours it into a 65-gallon tank in her vehicle -- a 15-passenger short bus. Goldhamer said the car still needs a bit of diesel fuel -- enough to run the engine until the vegetable oil is hot enough to move smoothly through tubes and be used as fuel. It only takes about five minutes of diesel usage, she said, until the van is up and running. But Goldhamer says her work has only begun. "I’m trying to start a bio-diesel co-op for other people who have diesel cars," said Goldham. She said she already has a processor that turns used cooking oil into bio-diesel, a fuel source that can be used in any regular diesel engine. The processor is bike-powered, she said.
10/25/05 - A bit paranoid? Find out what the FBI has on you
Fill out the Privacy Act request sheet and list your names and aliases, date and place of birth, social security number, former addresses and other information that helps them figure out that you’re you. Make sure to sign and notarize your request before sending it in. You may have to pay a small fee to cover duplication costs. Download FOIA Request form (PDF)
10/25/05 - ALL power comes from the Sun
All of the energy consumed in the world is drawn from stored sunlight. Coal, petroleum and natural gas are the fossilized remains of plants that soaked up stellar rays millions of years ago. When fossil fuels are burned to make heat to boil water to spin generators to make electricity, the power of the ancient illumination is released. Unfortunately, so are the carbon and other air pollution. Connecticut, which relies primarily on combustion to generate electricity, will soon see solar panels, geothermal systems, fuel cells, and other new energy technologies, energy experts say. Burning is the cheapest way to unlock large amounts of captured sun. However, it's also the dirtiest. And when fossil fuels' hidden costs in human health and environmental damage become clearer, the higher price of alternative power will seem more reasonable, environmentalists believe. Currently electricity generated in gas-fired plants costs about 31/2 to 4 cents per kilowatt-hour. Wind power costs about 51/2 to 71/2 cents, and solar about 25 to 35 cents. Our choice, basically, is between using old or recent sunlight.
10/25/05 - Controls 'threaten' new farm projects
TIGHTER technical controls on wind farms in South Australia place $1 billion worth of projects in jeopardy, according to the state's largest renewable energy investor. Michael Vawser, the chief executive of Wind Prospect, said the new licensing rules were Australia's toughest, and increased the cost of building wind farms by up to 5 per cent -- favouring current fossil fuel generators. The new stringent standards will be imposed on all future wind farms, but legal advice found existing wind and coal-powered generators could not be forced to comply. ESCOSA chairman Patrick Walsh said wind farms had to meet national rules governing the interconnected electricity network covering four states. This included meeting automatic access standards and other technical requirements guaranteeing voltage control. He said ESCOSA's options included suspending approval for two years while national standards were developed. Instead, ESCOSA chose to implement new licence conditions "which would do the things that we understand will be incorporated into amendments in national electricity rules".
10/25/05 - Europeans developing a promising fuel cell
European researchers have reported progress on a fuel cell that generates electricity through a living enzyme rather than a synthetic material, raising the potential for smaller and cheaper power supplies. The fuel cell uses hydrogenases which have a natural ability to make electrical power from hydrogen even in the presence of oxygen, Armstrong said. That allows the creation of a fuel cell in which the hydrogen and oxygen are together in a single container, without a synthetic membrane to guide the reaction, he said.
"It's a proof of concept that you can run a hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell without a membrane," Armstrong said of his findings, published Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A fuel cell generates power by combining hydrogen and oxygen to produce energy and water. The efficiency and lack of polluting emissions from fuel cells have companies and researchers examining a variety of applications, including power for batteries, automobiles and office buildings.
10/25/05 - First biogas train makes maiden voyage in Sweden
The world's first train to run on biogas, a renewable energy source made up of organic waste, made its maiden voyage in Sweden, a country that has high hopes for biofuels. Consisting of a single carriage that seats about 60 passengers, the vehicle consists of a converted old Fiat train whose diesel engines have been replaced by two Volvo gas engines. "Communities can build their own production and this helps create jobs," he said. Biogas is made up of shredded plant materials and animal waste, which are then mixed with water in a tank. Once the waste has decomposed, a gas is formed that can be stored and used as fuel. The train is equipped with 11 canisters containing enough gas to run for 600 kilometers (375 miles) before needing a refill, and can reach a maximum speed of 130 kilometers (80 miles) per hour.
10/25/05 - Creating energy from the farm
Dan Eastman is a senior vice president of business development for a Golden, Colo., company that sells equipment to convert animal waste into methane. He oversees its Wisconsin operations. Microgy Cogeneration Systems Inc., a company Eastman helped create, sells and operates anaerobic methane digesters and electricity generation equipment that an increasing number of farmers and rural electric cooperatives are finding to be good investments. Microgy's digesters operate on cow and swine manure. The methane, or biogas, produced is used to fire generators at farmsteads or can be sold to gas companies. A liquid residue resulting from the process is used as organic fertilizer. A solid byproduct of the digester is used for animal bedding. Microgy's small electric power and biogas production plants are part of a developing trend to set up distributed generation facilities in rural America, said Eastman. Microgy is banking on its digesters becoming more common than wind-power farms that are cropping up in rural America. In addition to the high cost of energy, making alternatives like methane digesters more cost effective, the demand among dairy farmers to increase herd sizes is causing environmental regulators to push the use of methane digesters.
10/24/05 - Serrano EM Space Drive patented and tested
On October 5, 2000, the Hector Serrano's patent WO 00/58623 " Propulsion device and method employing electric fields for producing thrust " has been granted. This patent is very close to the Aymmetrical Capacitor Thruster ( ACT ) patented by the NASA ( patent US 6,317,310 , granted on Nov 2001 ) that I have already tested successfully in Nov 18, 2001. These two devices use the Biefeld-Brown Effect for producing a thrust Vs the surrounding medium ( this effect was discovered by Townsend Brown in 1928 in his Gravitator, see the GB Patent N°300311 filed on Nov 15, 1928 "A method of and an apparatus or machine for producing force or motion" from T.Townsend Brown ). "The device (10) employing field propulsion can propel itself without exhausting any matter in the opposite direction of vehicle motion, it can propel itself without being exposed to the environment (16) through which it is moving." When the HV power supply is switched on, the Field Propulsion Thruster v1.0 is rapidly set in motion. The voltage used is 27 KV DC @ 480 uA. The turn speed observed is low. This is due to the low dielectric constant difference producing a weak non-linearity between the two dielectrics used in this experiment ( K=2.53 for the Polyfoam XPS and and K = 1 for the Air ).
10/24/05 - Methanol Fuel Cell
Their little fuel cell was producing electric power with no moving parts, no noise, no heat buildup and no pollution. High school chemistry students are taught how electricity can be used to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen. Fuel cells are the reverse of that process, creating electricity as hydrogen and oxygen atoms combine to produce water. In the case of Lewis' model, a plastic vial attached to the top supplies a mixture of water and methanol, while near the bottom a spigot drains the excess water. The water in the vial is a carrier for the methanol. The drain water was created. Inside the cell, a membrane coated on both sides with catalyst separates a chamber into one side for liquid and the other side for gases where hydrogen atoms combine with the oxygen in air to form water. This special membrane allows hydrogen and oxygen to pass through as ions, described as atoms that leave an electron behind. Fuel cells utilize hydrogen, and it turns out that methanol is an ideal carrier for hydrogen, Lewis said. It is a liquid that can be handled by pipelines, tank trucks and pumps at filling stations. About 2.5 billion gallons of methanol is made each year in the United States. Most of it is made in the Houston area from natural gas. It currently costs about 40 cents per gallon. The average motorist most likely sees methyl alcohol in windshield washer fluid, which is as much as 50 percent methanol depending upon climate. Youngsters encounter methanol in model airplane fuel, which is about 95 percent methanol with a little castor oil added for lubrication. In addition to natural gas, methanol can be made from coal and theoretically could be made from seaweed, "farmed" near the Equator. The chemistry is proven, Halpert and Prakash said. Now it is up to engineers to make it work. The fuel cells will need to be wired in series, in "stacks," to provide enough current to move an automobile.
But their output is relatively high, 25 watts to a maximum of 50 watts, from each 4- by 6-inch piece of membrane. Prototype cells have already been run intermittently for more than 3,000 hours, the equivalent of 150,000 miles without loss of performance, Halpert said. The fuel cell converts more than 34 percent of the theoretical energy in fuel into usable power. This is twice the efficiency of existing gasoline engines, according to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
10/24/05 - 85% Methanol + 15% Gasoline to run your car
In 1978, the California Energy Commission (CEC) began experimenting with alternative fuel vehicles by testing blends of methanol in Honda Civics. In the mid-1980s, California's continuing efforts to encourage the development of alternative fuel vehicle technology led to the introduction of the methanol Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV). The FFV runs on either methanol or gasoline, or any combination of the two fuels. Operating primarily on "M-85" - a blend of 85% methanol and 15% gasoline - the FFV provides the flexibility to refuel with gasoline in areas where methanol may be unavailable. More than 15,000 methanol FFVs built by major automakers were sold, with the majority operating in California. To support these vehicles, the CEC reached agreements with ARCO, Chevron, Exxon, Mobil, Shell, Texaco and Ultramar (Beacon) in building a network of sixty M-85 fueling stations across the state. (in 1998) At the pump, methanol prices range from about 88¢ to $1.10 per gallon of methanol. Since methanol has roughly half the energy content of a gallon of gasoline, the actual cost to the consumer is closer to $1.50 per gallon. With the close of the 1998 model year, the Ford Motor Company discontinued its production of methanol Taurus FFVs.
10/24/05 - FEDEX van tests highly successful using Methanol
Through the "CleanFleet" program, five alternative fuels were tested in 84 panel vans, including 20 Ford vans fueled with "M-85" -- a blend of 85% methanol and 15% gasoline. The Ford vehicles were gasoline vans modified as flexible fuel vehicles, capable of operating on any mixture of methanol and gasoline -- from 85% methanol to 100% gasoline. The M-85 vans were fueled from a 4,000-gallon, above-ground, vaulted tank installed at the FedEx facility in Santa Ana. Since methanol is a liquid fuel similar to gasoline, no modifications had to be made to the vehicle garage and maintenance facilities. The methanol vans performed extremely well, with the highest vehicle availability and driver use, and the lowest number of repair order days per 100 service days of the alternative fuels demonstrated. When drivers were asked if they were able to meet their regular schedule with the alternative fuel vehicles, fully 96% said yes to M-85, the strongest positive response. In fact, more than half of the M-85 drivers said they would consider driving a methanol vehicle for their personal car. The driving range of the M-85 vans was 57% of the gasoline vans or 173 miles -- the furthest driving range of the alternative fuels demonstrated and compatible with urban fleet operations. Estimated costs for a fleet of 50 M-85 vans in 1996 ranged from 38.3 to 44.7 cents per mile, depending on the price of methanol. Today, methanol is selling at or below the lower baseline price.
10/24/05 - 2005 Tips on Buying Methanol in bulk
Methanol can be bought through several types of distributors, as it is sold for several different uses. The price can vary from $2 a gallon to $4 a gallon. Methanol is made from natural gas and the price fluctuates with the price of natural gas. It is sold either 'by the gallon' (ie bring your own gas cans) or by the drum- 15, 30, or 55 gallon drums. For test batches, we often use yellow bottle Heet brand gas line antifreeze (99% methanol) from auto parts stores. But for anything larger than a liter, you'll need to find a better supply. To find methanol suppliers, I usually dig into the yellow pages and search several categories: 1. Automotive racing- the easiest place to find methanol is usually through auto race tracks, racing engine builders, or performance shops. This is usually categorised in several different ways in the yellow pages- performance, auto, racing, racetracks. These sources are likely to sell it 'by the gallon' although that is not always the case. Some racetracks are seasonal. 2. Petroleum distributors- methanol is also an alternative fuel and is used in some applications as a fuel additive. I've had good luck finding it by calling bulk petroleum distributors. They are likely to carry it year-round, but are likely to sell only full drums. Yellow pages: petroleum, fuel, or gasoline, wholesale or bulk. If they don't carry it they may know who does.
10/24/05 - ZevCat Air Cars
(This MDI group has been at it quite awhile yet I don't see their cars in the news or for sale after several years of claims, lots of fluff, media hype and prototypes for soliciting investors, but no cars for sale. - JWD) The first piston takes in ambient air and compresses it to approximately 300psi and 200 degrees F. in the compression chamber during the first cycle of the engine. When the pistons pause, a small amount of compressed air from the tanks is released into the expansion chamber to create a low pressured, low temperature volume of about 140psi. Shortly before the valve to the exhaust cylinder is opened, a high-speed shutte connects the compression and expansion chambers. This sudden pressure and temperature difference between the two chambers creates pressure waves in the expansion chamber, thereby producing work in the exhaust chamber that drives the piston to power the engine. The air tanks for storing the compressed air are located underneath the vehicle. They are constructed of reinforced carbon fiber with a thermoplastic liner. Each tank can hold 3,180 feet (the the 3rd) of air at a pressure of up to 4,300psi. When connected to a special compressor station, the tanks can be recharged within 3-4 minutes. They can also be recharged using the on-board compressor within 3-4 hours after connecting to a standard power outlet. A detailed explanation of the Zevat airmotor is provided in their patent 6,334,435.
10/24/05 - Gas powered MicroTurbine for power generation
(This could easily be powered with hydrogen! - JWD) The Capstone MicroTurbine system is suitable for applications ranging from remote locations to city centers, delivering clean, high quality power from a wide variety of fuels, with superior safety and emissions. It offers the best value for clean and reliable small-scale power production. The generator uses a two pole rotor on the same shaft as the gas turbine. The unit is air-cooled by gas turbine inlet air. Features including maintenance-free air bearings, the lowest emissions of any non-catalyzed fossil fuel combustion, and digital power conversion combine to produce the optimal small-scale generator. Systems are available for operation on diverse gaseous fuels, including natural gas, propane, and also bio-gas with energy content as low as 350 BTU/cf. A sour gas option is available that can tolerate up to 7% hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in the fuel stream. Liquid fuel versions include kerosene and diesel #2.
10/24/05 - Cheap cooling using Evaporated Air
(When I was growing up in Texas, evaporative cooling was what we used and it could keep the entire house cool. Nowadays most people use refrigerated air which is drier but costs a fortune to run! - JWD) We Can End Your Heat Problem For Less Than a Dollar a Day! Tired of Hot, Unbearable Working Conditions? STRONGER DEODORANT IS NOT THE ANSWER!!! The Port-A-Cool, evaporative coolers are perfect for warehouses, shops, garages, manufactuers, subcontractors, sports teams (Yes, these evaporative coolers are great for outdoors, too!), fire departments, nurseries, hangars, schools, flea markets, restaurants, car dealerships, laundries, dry cleaners, and for any other business or organization suffering from low productivity, and employees/customer discomfort irritation and bad attitudes because of heat problems. Evaporative coolers that work like portable air conditioners WITHOUT THE EXPENSE! With this amazing technology, you can lower temperatures by 18° - 30°. These are not conventional air conditioners, they are evaporative coolers that are amazingly affordable to purchase and to run. Operates on pennies a day. Completely portable. No installation. No venting necessary. No drains. Uses regular household electricity. Cools up to 17,000 cubic feet per minute. Enviromentally safe. Easy to operate. Virtually maintenance free.
10/24/05 - Make favicons online from any image
Would you like to display your own icon on the browser address bar when visitors view or bookmark your web page? Now it's easy to create icons for your web pages with FavIcon from Pics. Simply select a picture, logo or other graphic (of any size/resolution) for the "Source Image" and click "Generate FavIcon.ico"
10/24/05 - Buckypaper stronger & lighter than steel
Working with a material 10 times lighter than steel - but 250 times stronger - would be a dream come true for any engineer. If this material also had amazing properties that made it highly conductive of heat and electricity, it would start to sound like something out of a science fiction novel. "Buckypaper," has shown promise in a variety of applications, including the development of aerospace structures, the production of more-effective body armor and armored vehicles, and the construction of next-generation computer displays. Buckypaper is made from carbon nanotubes - amazingly strong fibers about 1/50,000th the diameter of a human hair that were first developed in the early 1990s. Buckypaper owes its name to Buckminsterfullerene, or Carbon 60 - a type of carbon molecule whose powerful atomic bonds make it twice as hard as a diamond.
10/24/05 - Vacuum balloons for flight?
Objects which float in a fluid, such as a ship in water or a balloon in air, do so because they are are subject to an upward force ('the upthrust') equal to the weight of fluid displaced. A balloon floats if its average density is less than that of the volume of air which it displaces. Typical balloons use hot air or a light gas such as helium to reduce their average density. Their upthrust is equal to the weight of the air their volume displaces, less the combined weight of the balloon skin plus the light gas they contain. Hot air balloons work because the density of hot air is less than that of surrounding unheated air. Balloons typically have flexible skins, although rigid skins are also possible. If the gas within the skin was replaced by a vacuum, the upthrust would be at a maximum, but the skin would have to be rigid enough to withstand the pressure of the external air without collapsing. That is the basis of the Vacuum Balloon.
10/24/05 - England - Councils could seize empty homes for use by poor/unhoused people
Houses left empty by owners for more than a year could be seized and leased by local authorities under new plans. Empty dwelling management orders would allow councils to seize, renovate and lease a property for up to seven years, before returning it to its owner. The plans are expected to become law in April next year. It emerged last week that almost 700,000 homes are empty in England, of which 280,000 have been deserted for more than 12 months. The government hopes to fill 25,000 empty homes by 2010. "The objective is to persuade owners in these circumstances to pass the responsibility for bringing the property back into housing use to the local authority."
10/24/05 - Starving polar bears terrorise Siberian locals
"Twenty-six bears left their ice field last week and are roaming about, apparently looking for food, in remote areas of the Nizhnekolymsky region," a regional ministerial spokesman Alexei Khlybov told AFP by phone. "They often walk around yurts (tents) and houses belonging to reindeer hunters and farmers," he added. Experts say this kind of group displacement from an ice field is extremely unusual. The Arctic polar bear population of between 22,000 and 27,000 is under threat, finding it increasingly difficult to locate food as the ice sheets melt due to rising temperatures. The specialists will try to find out why the bears have left the ice field and decide whether an evacuation of the local population is necessary.
10/24/05 - End User License Gems
The End User License Agreement. You probably have grown accustomed to clicking through on these when installing new software, so accustomed that you don't even read them anymore. Well, we have and here are some of our favourites. We also present them with simultaneous plain English translations. Samples - 1) [you] may not without Microsoft's prior written approval disclose to any third party the results of any benchmark test. 2) Apple reserves the right, at any time and from time to time, to update, revise, supplement, and otherwise modify this Agreement and to impose new or additional rules, policies, terms, or conditions on your use of the Service. 3) You acknowledge and agree that in order to protect the integrity of certain third party content, Pinnacle and/or its licensors may provide for Software security related updates that will be automatically downloaded and installed on your computer. 4) You agree, if purchasing by credit card or charge card, that you permanently and irrevocably waive any and all right to cause a "chargeback" (that is, a disputed, reversed or contested charge) against this purchase for any reason whatsoever against Company or other reseller of this license,...and more...
10/23/05 - Geodesic Quonset: Inexpensive, Easy DIY Shelter
It’s great for connecting domes, standalone as an emergency shelter, garage, or greenhouse. We built one recently, with a length of 60', a width of 15', and a pre-sidewall height of 7.5'. Less than 100 man hours to build, and a materials cost of less than $500 (plastic sheathing) , it’s extremely strong and functional. We built this structure using new 1?x6? green lumber (1?x4? was originally specified), but since all the pieces are less than 4' in length, waste/scrap or recycled lumber would be ideal. All the pieces were screwed together using a power screwdriver and 3? wood screws, 5 to a connection.
10/23/05 - DIY Conversion of your gas vehicle to electric
Conversion of a Honda CRX to run on DC motor, then improved to run on an AC motor. On the following pages I will describe the process of converting a gasoline car to electric one. More precisely, upgrading (because it is already electric) but since every single component is doing to be replaced, it's almost like starting from scratch. Empty engine compartment, new battery boxes, etc. What you will find is detailed steps taken toward my goal and technical details actually useful to someone who wants to use my experience. Anticipating usual questions, wherever possible, I will provide information on the supplier or the hardware or the service I used, and the cost. For impatient, you can browse through the raw collection of all the images on this site here.
10/23/05 - Discover What the World Thinks About the U.S.
Christian Science Monitor, July 14, United States: 'A glimpse of how foreigners feel about the only superpower.'
10/23/05 - Power Cogeneration using a Stirling Engine
This system comprises two parts, one for generating and storing electricity, the other for recovering and storing heat. Electricity is generated by attaching a 4kW AC alternator to the ST-5. The engine has been sized to provide up to 3.5 kW of electricity, enough to take the surge loads of induction motors used in washing machines and other domestic appliances. One option would be to run the engine for 4 to 6 hours a day, during which period high and intermediate draw appliances - washing machine, freezers and power tools - can be used. At the same time, a bank of batteries can be charged to provide electricity for domestic lighting and other small load equipment when the engine is not operating. A bank of 4 deep-cycle, extra heavy duty batteries, interfacing with the alternator through a commercially available battery charger should be sufficient. When deciding upon the type and number of batteries needed, the rule of thumb is that the battery bank should store about twice as many amp hours as will be used between recharging. With the tremendous advancements in battery technology, it is now possible to get batteries capable of holding charges of over 600 amp hours. The life on these batteries is extremely long, with constant, uninterrupted service of 20 years recorded by some users. It is recommended that 6 or 12 volt batteries with charging capacities of 400 amp hours or more be used; 8 volt batteries are not recommended, as there could be problems finding matching inverters and other compatible equipment.
10/23/05 - Renewable energy still may be too expensive
The simple fact is, alternative energy in all its forms is not yet competitive on the price front for everyday users. It only works, even advocates for environmentally friendly energy say, with the help of government subsidies or good corporate citizens who are willing to pay a premium so they can market themselves as being "green." Standard & Poor's, the rating agency, last week issued a report saying most alternative sources of energy continue to rely on government-related subsidies to be economical and will be difficult to expand without such help. Tina Vital, an S&P senior equity analyst, said tax incentives in the recently enacted Energy Policy Act of 2005 are providing a short-term boost to some renewable energy projects, including wind. But she said that boost may be too small to finance long-term options to oil and gas. Other experts, however, say solar power is too expensive at this point to even seriously consider. "Certainly wind is the most promising because the technology has advanced the furthest and the prices have come down a lot over the last 20, 10 and even five years," Mr. Hangar added. Mr. Halley, of Community Energy, said wind turbines have become more efficient and their costs have dropped about 80 percent since 1980 to about four to eight cents per kilowatt hour today, vs. about 38 cents to 40 cents 25 years ago.
10/23/05 - Water Motor
A unique Micro-Hydro device that uses the power of a falling stream to power stationary devices like saws, mills and generators. “Most of the common machines used in workshops, industry, and farms are driven by motors of only 0.5 - 5 horsepower. The Watermotor will produce this amount of power at an extremely low cost and with a minimum of ecological disruption.” That’s right - cheap electricity, lower cost than solar panels for example. A few of the nice features of this unit is that it doesn’t require a great volume of water, so the traditional dam does not need to be constructed, reducing cost, complexity, and ecological impact. It’s also designed to be locally serviced, and locally produced, enabling 3rd world villages to not only have low cost power, but a local industry. These units are typically built/owned at the village level as a benefit to all. The model 90 has a 90mm (3.5?) Turgo turbine wheel and can use 4 water jets of up to 12.7 mm (1/2?) in diameter. Because it is smaller in diameter this wheel will turn at higher revolutions than the model 150 at the same water pressure. The model 150 has a 150 mm (6?) Turgo wheel and uses 4 jets of up to 7/8? (22.2 mm) diameter. This is three times the volume of water as a 1/2? jet, therefore producing three times as much power with the same incoming pressure.
10/23/05 - Waterpower 101
The power available from a stream is determined by the head and flow of water on the particular site. This power is harnessed by constructing a dam or diverting the flow in such a way that all the fall occurs in one place. Where it is not practical to construct a channel, the water may be piped and the head of water is exploited as a high velocity jet driving an ‘Impulse Turbine’. The power available is a function of the fall (head) and flow so building a large waterwheel on a low fall will only increase the cost and reduce the shaft speed but not increase the power. Water wheels are limited to sites with a head of less than 10 meters. They are aesthetically pleasing and have good performance under low water conditions. Unfortunately, due to their size, they are both costly to build and install, largely because of the gearing required to increase the shaft speed, typically from 10 to 1500 rpm. The use of low speed generators does not help since it is the low speed end of the drive which is the expensive part. Water turbines, on the other hand, are able to make use of a very wide range of head, from less than a metre to many hundreds of metres.
10/23/05 - Making fuel from manure
The production of natural gas (CH4) occurs everywhere in nature - in swamps, bogs, coal mines, land fills and in the guts of warm blooded mammals. In fact, it occurs anyplace where organic matter is present and air is excluded. It is this same vapor gas that the utility companies market. Made by nature and deposited in the ground over eons of time, the chemical formula is one part carbon to four parts hydrogen (CH4). To produce your own biogas, all the process requires are three simple conditions: (1) a tank that excludes air, (2) a constant, even temperature of 95 to 100 degrees F, (3) a gentle stirring action. All three of these conditions mimic the conditions that are within the gut of every warm blooded animal, including people: air is excluded, basic metabolism keeps body temperature constant and even throughout the animal, a mixing action occurs by means of the simple movement of food through gut which we call peristalsis. It is the process of digestion. Some of the food is converted into energy and building material for the cells of the animal - including people - and some of it passes completely through the alimentary canal. Are we familiar with the definition of the alimentary canal? Webster’s dictionary defines it thus: “The tubular passage that extends from mouth to anus and functions in digestion and absorption of food and elimination of residual waste.” It is this same “tubular passage” that we mimic when we build a tank for producing natural gas, which we call a digester.
10/22/05 - Climate change hits Dutch windmills
WINDMILLS, one of the Netherlands' trademarks, may go idle because of less wind as a result of climate change, Dutch scientists predict. "We said that 10-15 years ago and what we see in the observations is that the climate is warming but the number of storms is actually decreasing," said Klein Tank, who leads a team making climate scenarios for the Netherlands. The traditional windy climate of northwestern Europe has spurred a rapid growth in windmills, mainly in the Netherlands and Germany, to provide alternative energy. Dutch windmills, however, saw declining energy production in the past decade because of less wind, Mr Klein Tank said.
10/22/05 - Italy presents solar-energy train
Italy has unveiled Europe's first solar-power train, according to Italian News Agency ANSA on Thursday. The solar panels on the train's roof do not drive it but provide energy for its air conditioning, illumination and safety systems. The CEO of Italian train company Trenitalia, Roberto Testore, said it was "looking with interest to the solar power sector, with a view to producing vehicles on an industrial scale." Solar panels are already used to provide a portion of train power in Japan. A miniature railway in Wales is wholly powered by solar energy.
10/22/05 - Yamaha unveils hybrid scooter, 'stretch' motorbike
The Deinonychus two-wheel drive electric vehicle is equipped with motors built into the wheels and has "'stretch' functions in the vertical and horizontal directions for the aluminum frame body," Yamaha said in a statement. The Gen-Ryu, a gas-electric prototype scooter, has a 600-cc engine displacement and is billed as performing and handling like a 1,000-cc class machine thanks to its large diameter wheels and long wheelbase, Yamaha said. The futuristic-looking scooter is also equipped with rider-friendly functions such as a vehicle-to-vehicle distance warning, voice navigation and rear view monitoring system using a CCD camera and liquid crystal display. The FC-me fuel-cell motorbike uses a liquid methanol-water solution, which eliminates the need for a converter and pressurized fuel tank and thus makes it possible to create a lightweight system for a small vehicle, the firm said. The model weighs 69 kilograms (152 pounds).
10/22/05 - Pennsylvania Offers $3.5 Million for Clean Energy Projects
The Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority is seeking applications to help finance clean energy projects in the commonwealth. A total of $3.5 million is currently available. Applicants can seek assistance in the form of grants, loans or loan guarantees for a variety of electric power projects including wind, solar, biomass, waste coal, coal gasification and others. Applied research projects related to electric power also are eligible for funding. Proposed projects will be evaluated for their ability to promote Pennsylvania’s indigenous energy resources, encourage energy diversity and enhance energy security.
10/22/05 - US/Russian new windmill design
Wind Sail, is a vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) to be used as generator for off-the-grid and distributed-grid systems. A vertical axis wind turbine looks nothing like the traditional 100-foot windmill-style turbines common in the USA and Europe . The first prototype has vertical, fiberglass blades that rotate around a mast like an eggbeater. It is about 30 feet high with blades 12-feet tall with a diameter of about 10 feet. But the design can be scaled up or down, for large-scale farms or home use. VAWT systems have several advantages over more traditional horizontal axis wind turbines. They are usually quieter, and have a much lower rate of bird kills - predatory birds can even rest on the top of a VAWT without trouble. The WPU-2500 would typically be called a “1500 Watt” Turbine in the industry. It would be rated at 1500 watts at about 13 meter/second. Thirteen m/s is about 28 mph, which rarely occurs where most of the population in developed countries lives. The unique axial flux permanent magnet (Neodymium-Iron-Boron) alternator output is 200-300VAC permitting the use of smaller diameter wire without significant voltage losses. The WPU-2500 power output is designed for lead- acid battery charging at a variety of voltages: 12; 24 and 48V. Other voltages can be accommodated on request. Start-up Wind Speed: <4m/s (9 mph) (Rotor starts turning)
10/22/05 - China develops new anti-cancer drug "Endostar"
A new type of anti-drug "Endostar", which restrains tumors by cutting nutrition supply to them, has been successfully developed recently.
Experts said "Endostar" is world's first anti-cancer drug that contains endostatin. The successful development of Endostar signifies China has become an advanced country in developing anti-tumor medicine. "Endostar" has been ratified by the State Drug and Food Administration. The drug has won a patent in China and applied for two international patents.
10/22/05 - Old Ways of Life Are Fading as the Arctic Thaws
In Bykovsky, a village of 457 on Russia's northeast coast, the shoreline is collapsing, creeping closer and closer to houses and tanks of heating oil, at a rate of 15 to 18 feet a year. Eventually, homes will be lost, and maybe all of Bykovsky, too, under ever-longer periods of assault by open water. "It is eating up the land," said Innokenty Koryakin, a member of the Evenk tribe and the captain of a fishing boat. "You cannot do anything about it." For the four million people who live north of the Arctic Circle, in remote outposts and the improbable industrial centers built by Soviet decree, a changing climate presents new opportunities. But it also threatens their environment, their homes and, for those whose traditions rely on the ice-bound wilderness, the preservation of their culture. The thaw itself is already causing widespread anxiety. In Russia, 20 percent of which lies above the Arctic Circle, melting of the permafrost threatens the foundations of homes, factories, pipelines.
10/22/05 - Quantum dots - lighting for the future
When you shine a light on quantum dots or apply electricity to them, they react by producing their own light, normally a bright, vibrant color. But when Bowers shined a laser on his batch of dots, something unexpected happened. "I was surprised when a white glow covered the table," Bowers said. "The quantum dots were supposed to emit blue light, but instead they were giving off a beautiful white glow." Then Bowers and another student got the idea to stir the dots into polyurethane and coat a blue LED light bulb with the mix. The lumpy bulb wasn't pretty, but it produced white light similar to a regular light bulb. The new device gives off a warm, yellowish-white light that shines twice as bright and lasts 50 times longer than the standard 60 watt light bulb. If the new process can be developed into commercial production, light won't come just from newfangled bulbs. Quantum dot mixtures could be painted on just about anything and electrically excited to produce a rainbow of colors, including white.
10/22/05 - Interesting challenge for DUI charges
Lawyers for 150 Floridians accused of drunk driving have asked a court to order the disclosure of the source code for software running in the breathalyzer machines used by police to analyze their blood alcohol level, according to a Tom Sanders story on vunet. The defendants say they have the right to examine the machines that accused them, and that a meaningful examination requires access to the machines’ software. Prosecutors say the code is a trade secret. This issue is not about open source, but about ensuring fairness for the accused. If they’re going to be accused based on what some machine says, then they ought to be allowed to challenge the accuracy of the machine. And they can’t do that unless they’re allowed to know how the machine works.
10/22/05 - Excellent page on homebrew wind generators and windmills
Free PDF booklets on how to construct axial flux generators that can make electricity from any spinning source, free PDF booklets on blade design, construction and a ton of excellent windmill information including his books and courses based on real world applications and experience. The permanent magnet pdf ebook shows how to secure magnets, configure coils and encase them in epoxy for secure mounting. Excellent page for builders who want to experiment with home grown generator designs and how to tape power from moving air, water, etc. (I was totally impressed with this site. - JWD)
10/21/05 - Future cars could run on metal fuel
Future cars could be run with a modified engine and a tank full of metal and could travel three times as far as the equivalent petrol powered vehicle, visualises a US researcher. Dave Beach, a scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, says chunks of metal such as iron, aluminium or boron could be turned into powder and they will become highly reactive at high temperature, reports New Scientist. Ignite it, and it releases copious quantities of energy, he was quoted as saying in the report. Rockets already use metal power. Aluminium is sprinkled into the space shuttle's solid rockets to give them an extra boost, says another report in NEWS.com.au. But to kick off combustion in most metals requires temperatures of at least 2,000 degrees Celsius, which would melt the average engine, it said. Beach suspects the answer is to create very fine metal grains measuring millionths of a millimetre. Heating them to 250 degrees Celsius could make them burn and unlike larger particles they did not vaporise or melt.
10/21/05 - Solar powered Bus stop shelters
Despite the apparent disadvantages of the Edinburgh climate, solar power is to be used to light up more than 100 of the city's busiest bus stops. Although the solar panels will cost £220,000 to install, it will prove cheaper in the long-run than laying electricity cables to the shelters. The council hopes to eventually have solar panels - which are installed on the shelter's roofs - on most of the local authority's 1100 shelters. "In the past the difficulty and high cost of connecting to a mains electrical supply has restricted the use of lighting within bus shelters. "The fast-developing technology of solar-power systems makes it possible to improve lighting levels at most bus stops." The bus shelters are lit up at night using energy stored by the south-facing solar panels fixed to the shelters' roofs. It means there is low-level lighting on throughout the night, while an infrared sensor fully activates the light when it detects someone nearby - and remains on until shortly after the passenger has left the immediate area. The bus shelters' solar panels harnesses the sun's energy throughout daylight and store the energy for nighttime. The sun does not need to be visible for the panels to work, and enough energy will reach the in-built rechargeable batteries on even the most miserable of winter days. At dusk, a hi-tech "energy management system" releases the stored-up energy and uses it to power high-intensity LEDs - light-emitting diodes. The technology contains no moving parts and releases no emissions. The LEDs are highly efficient, vandal resistant and have an expected lifetime of 100,000 hours. A low level of lighting is emitted all night, and when an infrared sensor detects someone nearby, the light fully activates and remains on until shortly after the passenger has left the immediate area.
10/21/05 - Cold Fusion home experimenters
Billings Brown prepares the largest cold-fusion experiment ever attempted-or so he believes. If it works, the experiment will destroy his living room and dust Billings and his son, Tom, with deadly radiation. Brown, a retired rocket scientist in his 80s, thinks he’s figured out the secret to cold fusion 16 years after University of Utah professor Stanley Pons and his mentor, Martin Fleischmann, shook the world by announcing they had harnessed in a test tube the energy-producing engine of the sun. Successors to Pons and Fleischmann have invented all sorts of new ways to conduct the Utah experiment: balls filled with gas, sound waves that create mysteriously glowing bubbles in water. They don’t yet have what Pons predicted was possible more than a decade ago-a cold-fusion water heater strong enough to make a nice cup of tea-but their halting and sporadic results continue to suggest the disgraced Utah chemist may have been on to something. The Brown’s experiment-a Mason Jar inside a goldfish bowl-sits on the fireplace. The flue is blocked by a piece of cardboard. An upside-down piece of carpet protects the floor. Metal electrodes poking through a jar lid attach to wires with wooden clothespins. More wires lead to a computer on a small wooden desk with peeling green paint. What the Browns are attempting sounds almost mythic: a reprise of the last, great unpublished experiment of Pons and Fleischmann. One of Brown’s sons studied at the University of Utah in 1989 and was a friend of Pons and Fleischmann’s lab assistant. The young Brown brought home tales of an experiment that destroyed the lab. Tom talks excitedly of the possibilities of cold-fusion home water heaters operating for pennies a year, of removing the salt from the sea and turning the world’s deserts into breadbaskets. He talks of an end to war. Michael Shermer, director of The Skeptics Society, calls cold fusion a prime example of smart people fooling themselves. “If, after 15 years, they still don’t have consistent results other labs can produce, then there’s nothing to it,” Shermer said. “It’s pseudo-science. That’s one of the signs. It looks like science. It claims to be. But nobody can reproduce it. Only the guy making the claim gets the results."
10/21/05 - Martians Forge Ahead with Nuclear Cold Fusion
Martians have formally complained to the United Nations Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Conference regarding the noise levels they are having to endure whilst the European Space Agency (ESA) has been drilling for oil and water on the surface of their planet. The surprise visit by the Martians to the United Nations Conference caused widespread confusion whilst confirming that there is indeed life on Mars. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced to reporters that “the Martians should not have access to dangerous cold fusion nuclear technology” and reiterated “that the situation must be referred to the U.N. Security Council, which could impose economic sanctions against the Martians.” Rice concluded "They can't have access to certain kinds of technology that we (the US) have not got, and that have a proliferation risk, they may even sell the technology to the Iranians."
10/21/05 - 14 Ways to Speed up your Metabolism
You may be burning 100 fewer calories a day at 35 than at 25. But there are easy things you can do to stoke your fat-burning potential. "There's no reason you can't have the same metabolism in your 30s and 40s that you had in your 20s," stresses Pamela Peeke, M.D.
10/21/05 - Goat serum to treat HIV/Aids
Professor Nana K. Ayisi, who discovered the goat serum for the treatment of HIV/AIDS, has called for support for his discovery. He expressed the hope that researchers in the Diaspora would heed his call for combination of anti-retroviral drugs and anti-HIV passive immune serum to treat the pandemic. Prof Ayisi said whilst anti-retroviral drugs reduced the amount of virus particles produced from infected cells, the passive immune serum neutralises residual virus. He said the production of anti-HIV serum in the goat where neutralising anti-bodies are produced against most of the viral epitomes was a step in the right direction and a major breakthrough in the fight against the pandemic. Prof Ayisi expressed optimism that this type of combination therapy would be more beneficial than the current approach of over-reliance on only anti-retroviral drugs and other means. He said in spite of the modest gains made by African scientists, they are yet to be accorded recognition even by their own kinsmen. "We are prepared to accept news of scientific breakthroughs from Asia, Europe and North America, but denigrate any achievements from our own society". Prof Ayisi said the case of HIV/AIDS demonstrated the challenges science faced, especially in Africa, in trying to help society.
10/21/05 - Global warming may leave millions destitute
As many as 50 million "environmental refugees" - many likely to be Africans - could be driven from their homes by 2010 through increased desertification, drought, flooding, storms and rising sea levels associated with global warming. It is this kind of dire prediction by a United Nations think-tank, and related issues, that will be concentrating the minds of South African decision-makers and scientists and others. Institute head Janos Bogardi said that an estimated 20-million people, many of them in sub-Saharan Africa, had already been displaced by problems linked to a damaged environment, ranging from eroded farmland to polluted water supplies. "Impacts associated with this climate change include changes in weather patterns, rise of sea level and an increase in the frequency and severity of extreme events such as floods and droughts." Such effects will have "important and costly implications" for developing countries, the department warns. These include a loss of livelihoods, as well as "immense financial and economic setbacks".
10/21/05 - Brain stem cell transplant approved
US government regulators have approved what would be the first transplant of foetal stem cells into human brains. If successful, the procedure could open the door to treating a host of neural disorders. The Food and Drug Administration said that doctors at Stanford University Medical Centre could begin the testing on six children afflicted with Batten disease, a degenerative malady that renders its young victims blind, speechless and paralysed before it kills them. The idea is to inject the sick kids with healthy, immature neural stem cells that will "engraft" in a brain that will direct them to turn into cells able to produce the missing enzyme. Such an experiment showed promise in Batten-afflicted mice, but such an ethically-charged test has never been tried before in humans.
10/21/05 - World's fastest electric car from Japan
The car boasts unprecedented acceleration, taking just 4.2 seconds to go from zero to 100 kilometres per hour (62.1 mph) and seven seconds to reach 160 kilometres per hour (99.4 mph), according to developers. The car's maximum speed is 370 kilometres per hour (230 mph), the world's fastest for an electric sedan, excluding vehicles with aircraft-like wings or special racing models, they said. It runs on lithium-ion batteries and costs one yen (1.00 JPY Japan Yen = 0.00868500 USD United States Dollars) to travel one kilometre (.62 miles), they said at the Tokyo Motor Show, which opened for the press at a convention centre east of the capital this week. Yoshida said the car would be a good sell even at the initial price tag of 30 million yen (260,000 dollars) as some 100 people have already told him they were willing to pay that much if it is launched.
10/21/05 - US company plans to sell land on the moon to Chinese
(This outfit hasn't learned that possession is 9/10ths of the law. - JWD) A US company has set up operations in China to sell land on the moon for 289 yuan (37 dollars) an acre, cashing in on renewed interest in space travel after the successful five-day voyage of Shenzhou VI. It will issue customers a "certificate" that ensures property ownership, including rights to use the land and minerals up to three kilometresmiles) underground, said Li Jie, agent for the company in China. Lunar Embassy was set up by US entrepreneur Dennis Hope in 1980, 11 years after the Apollo II mission first landed people on the moon. Hope believes a loophole in the 1967 UN Outer Space Treaty makes his property sales legitimate. The agreement forbids governments from owning extraterrestrial property but fails to mention corporations or individuals. Li said he had received more than 400 telephone orders from Chinese in the past few days.
10/21/05 - Prototype sonic gas analyzer developed
Pennsylvania State University researchers say they've developed a prototype sonic gas analyzer that tracks gas concentrations based on changes in pitch. The system automatically cancels out the background and flow noise and can detect changes in gas concentration as low as 0.003 percent, he said, plenty sensitive enough, for example, to let you know if you've got an explosive mixture. The prototype being developed by the Penn State researchers will automatically and continuously track concentrations of hydrogen produced by bacteria in microbial fuel cells. In MFCs, bacteria feed on the organic matter in wastewater and produce hydrogen for use as fuel while simultaneously cleaning the water. However, the researchers say their new system also could be adapted for tracking toxic or flammable gases in mines, sewers or landfills, for hydrogen detectors in battery compartments of boats and electric cars, or in industries in which gases are consumed as feedstocks.
10/20/05 - Honda’s More Powerful Fuel Cell Concept with Home Hydrogen Refueling
The FC stack in the FCX 2005 offers a maximum of 86 kW. Maximum speed 93mph, city/hiway/comb 62/51/57 miles/kg H2, range 190 miles, max hydrogen pressure 5,000 psi with a capacity of 156.6 liters. In terms of energy efficiency, one mile per kilogram (mpkg) of hydrogen is almost equivalent to one mile per gallon (mpg) of gasoline. In 2003, Honda solved the problem with the introduction of the Honda FC Stack, the world’s first fuel cell that can be used at temperatures as low as -20° C. The V Flow fuel cell stack, on the other hand, now delivers ultra-low-temperature start-up performance on par with that of a gasoline engine. Coaxial motor and gearbox. The 80-kW front-drive motor output shaft is coaxial with the gearbox for a more compact package and a shorter front-end. Rear in-wheel motors. Each of the rear wheels contains a thin, eccentric 25-kW motor. To increase the driving range, Honda engineers chose not to increase storage tank pressure, but to use a newly-developed hydrogen absorption material that doubles the capacity of the tank to 5 kg of hydrogen at 350 atmospheres. With the new material, the tanks supply enough hydrogen to extend the cruising range to 560 kilometers (350 miles)-exceeding the DOE’s range target for 2010. Again, by contrast, the current FCX 2005 model offers a range of 190 miles.
10/20/05 - Granddad designs waterless toilet
A waterless toilet invented in South Africa could help communities which have been devastated by water-borne disease. Cecil Harris, a 68-year-old grandfather designed the ZerH2O waterless toilet four years ago with help from his family and registered a patent. The toilet consists of a self-contained environmentally-friendly waste disposal unit and prevents any contact - including smell - with the waste material. “We think our invention of waterless sanitation is really important now, especially now with the recent typhoid outbreak in Delmas,” said Neville, Harris's son.
10/20/05 - Gen-H4 $31,000 Personal Coaxial Helicopter, better than Bond
Traffic got you down? $31,000 will buy you your own personal helicopter, the GEN H-4. This modern marvel can go nearly 60 mph and is certain to be the envy of the commuting lane and the neighborhood. GEN Corporation developed GEN-H4, a compact single-seat helicopter. Equipped with a miniature engine of 125cc (8 horse power) and two propellers, it can reach a flying speed of 90 km (56 miles) per hour. At the moment GEN sells it at 3.6M yen and organizes demo flights as well as training courses (charged separately, of course). With some skill it should be useful for commuting and avoiding crowded trains. To the Doraemon fans out there: I guess this is the nearest thing on Earth to "Takekoputa" (bamboo-propeller)! Check out the 2.6MB video.
10/20/05 - History of Weather Modification up to Today
But controlling the weather, like controlling our genes, creates a thicket of ethical thorns. For one thing, despite the international ban, reliable weather modification could end up being weaponized. A 1996 Air Force report entitled ''Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025," argued that ''the tremendous military capabilities that could result from this field are ignored at our own peril." Even purely peaceful aims would lead to a cascade of seemingly zero-sum conflicts. In the US, cloud seeding has set off several lawsuits in which, for example, downwind farmers have accused a cloud-seeding neighbor of ''stealing" their rain. Such issues only grow in complexity along with the scale. Ideal weather for a farm isn't necessarily ideal for a resort. (In 1950, the owner of an upstate country club unsuccessfully sued New York City over its attempt to alleviate a drought through cloud-seeding.) What once was, in insurance parlance, an ''act of God" becomes something for which one can assign blame. ''Of course some people will benefit and some people will lose," Kaplinsky says, ''but there are social mechanisms for solving disagreements, either through compensation or through democratic debate." If a new technology provides a ''net gain," he says, ''the losers can be compensated. And it's very clear that there's a tremendous potential here for managing weather systems in a way that would create tremendous net gain." Some of the calculations, though, would verge on the Solomonic. Suppose we could control hurricanes, posits Harvard's Schrag, ''but stopping one requires an incredibly hot day in Africa that would burn up all the crops. You've got one hell of a moral dilemma there." ''Let's say you have a mirror in space," he goes on. ''Think of two summers ago when we were having this awful cold summer and Europe was having this awful heat wave. Who gets to adjust the mirror?"
10/20/05 - Farming underground for safer plant genetic experiments
Genetically modified crops are gaining momentum as the modern farming practice; but the danger of cross contamination with non-GM crops limits the ability to plant trail crops above ground. However, a daring plan to grow GM crops deep underground - in caves and old mining shafts - has opened the possibility that one day all our food may come from subterranean sources. Conditions are perfect. The light is all electric controllable and the added power cost is more than compensated by bumper crop yields. Controlled Pharming
10/20/05 - On CoasttoCoastam.com radio with George Noory, a psychic named Dr. Turi called in with some very loose predictions for November. Noory says the guy is the most accurate psychic he or Art Bell have ever encountered. Dr. Turi says November 8th he sees explosions/earthquakes, on November 19th he sees many people looking for a new life and on November 29th he sees very powerful negative energy that will cause widespread problems. I hate unspecific 'predictions'...these 'psychics' should provide who, what, where, when and how if possible as in how to avoid whatever is supposedly being threatened. So make a note and check up on this guy. He also says there is a lot of worry and fear still being projected by all those involved in the recent and ongoing earthquakes and hurricanes. These negative thoughts are adding to the reshaping of reality like a tuning fork that continues to vibrate long after the initial shock.
10/20/05 - Gadget freezes operation of stolen cellphones
Finnish scientists have invented a device to make it harder to steal mobile phones and laptops by enabling them to detect changes in their owner's walking style and then freeze to prevent unauthorized use. "A device is equipped with sensors that measure certain characteristics of the user's gait. When the device is used for the first time, these measurements are saved in its memory," VTT said in a statement. The gadget would monitor the user's walking style and check it against the saved information. If the values differ, the user would have to enter a password. "Compared with passwords and traditional bio-identification, the new method is simple: confirmation of identity takes place as a background process without any need for user's intervention," the researchers said.
10/20/05 - GPS cellphone helps owner track down thief
A customs officer who stole a gadget-packed cellphone was caught when its owner, the United States ambassador to Bulgaria, activated the phone's Global Positioning System program. The GPS program of ambassador John Beyrle's cellphone helped him locate his phone in the officer's pocket. Airport staff searched for the device, but all the customs officers claimed that they hadn't found a cellphone. But the high-tech device was equipped with GPS and all the ambassador had to do was open up his laptop for him to find the precise position of his phone inside the customs officer's pocket. The officer and his accomplice have now been arrested, and both face dismissal as well as malpractice and theft charges.
10/20/05 - Non-invasive optical tools to detect Alzheimer's & other diseases
Alzheimer's disease can be detected early by looking for telltale proteins in the eye, researchers at this week’s Frontiers in Optics meeting of the Optical Society of America presented a pair of optical tests, both in clinical trials, that can potentially diagnose the disease in its beginning stages. Such tests may not only improve patients' chances to start treatment earlier, but they could also speed development of new Alzheimer's drugs. The exact same amyloid beta proteins which are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease are also found in the lens and its surrounding fluid. In those portions of the eye, the proteins form amyloid deposits similar to those in the brain. Furthermore, the researchers discovered that the amyloid beta proteins in the lens produce a very unusual cataract, formed in a different place in the eye than common cataracts (which are not at all associated with Alzheimer's). These two diagnostic tests are envisioned to be a two-step process for screening and then confirming an Alzheimer's diagnosis. These new optical tools can also potentially speed up the development of new Alzheimer's drugs, by giving investigators rapid feedback on whether the drug is doing its job of removing the harmful proteins from the body. Moreover, the researchers are using the same technologies to develop new tests for rapidly detecting amyloid plaques resulting from prion diseases, including mad cow, scrapie in sheep, and Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease in humans.
10/20/05 - Oral Youthing spray marketers stopped by Feds
A federal court has temporarily blocked marketers of an oral spray from making claims that the products contain growth hormones and can preserve youth, the government said Tuesday. The Federal Trade Commission said that Pacific Herbal Sciences, Natural Health Product and New Star Marketing Group, all of California, have been barred from marketing "HGH Revolution" and "Natural Rejuvenator HGH-R" - which don't actually contain human growth hormone, or HGH. The FTC charged that the companies used e-mail to spread claims that the products allowed people to lose weight while they slept and to lose body fat "while erasing 10 years in 10 weeks." Marketers falsely stated that scientific studies validated their claims, the commission charged. Among the other false claims, the FTC said, were that the products could contain or increase the body's production of growth hormone, increase strength and energy, restore the size of "bodily organs that shrink with age" and improve memory. Marketers also claimed the products can prevent, treat or cure diseases and medical conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, vision problems, depression and mood swings. The FTC said it was seeking a permanent ban on the defendants' false and misleading claims and illegal spam, as well as money consumers spent on the products. The Web site for Pacific Herbal Sciences was not online Tuesday, and a clerk at Natural Health Product, Inc. said that company's Web site was recently shut down.
10/19/05 - CIA invests in no-fuel power generators
Portable, modular, quick assembly, durable, solar, wind, and other distributed power-from 0.5 kW to 50 kW or more. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is reportedly investing in a power unit that can generate substantial electrical energy without using any fuel. The units manufactured by a small Virginia start-up company -- SkyBuilt Power Inc. -- are so rugged they can be dropped by parachute from an airplane and operate so simply, two people could have a unit running in just a few hours, the Christian Science Monitor reported Tuesday. The generators are fueled by solar and wind energy, with a battery backup for use during the night or when winds are calm. And the units are designed to run for years with little maintenance, the newspaper said. Depending upon its configuration, SkyBuilt's Mobile Power Station can generate up to 150 kilowatts of electricity. Although no models for homes are yet available, SkyBuilt says its mobile power station can help meet critical power needs, such as during disasters, terrorist attacks, military operations or meteorological emergencies. Combining modular solar panels, wind microturbines, batteries, and plug-ins for fuel cells and biofuel-friendly diesel engines, the MPS can generate a constant 150 kilowatts, can operate both off-grid and in parallel with grid power, is rugged enough to be dropped via parachute, and requires so little maintenance that a solar/wind unit has been operating continuously without being touched for over a year. SkyBuilt, in their material about the MPS, draws an analogy with the PC as a platform. The open architecture makes is possible for other vendors to build add-on components, confident that they'll work together properly. If we're lucky, the MPS will have another parallel to the PC world in the near future: the open architecture will mean that clones and work-alikes and more feature-rich competitors (or at least competitors without the CIA baggage) will spring up all over. Choose Any Power Source - Solar, wind, natural gas, propane, diesel, fuel cells, etc. Charge the Batteries - Store all the power you need. And Generate AC or DC On or Off the Grid - Emergency back-up, green power, energy cost savings for commercial, homeland security, military, etc.
10/19/05 - Did Washington 'test' bioweapons on D.C. war protesters?
It is the most perplexing "non story" of the American terror era: For the first time ever, a half-dozen of the bioweapons air sensors installed around Washington, D.C., all set off alarms. Over a single 24-hour period, each had collected evidence of airborne quantities of the deadly bacteria francisella tularensis. The bacteria is "one of six biological weapons most likely to be used against the United States," according to the federal government. It causes a deadly disease known as tularemia, which responds to treatment with antibiotics but otherwise kills half of its victims ... many of whom would assume they had common flu until it was too late. This month, the U.S. National Institutes for Health gave $23 million to university researchers to make ... a tularemia vaccine!
10/19/05 - The Necessity of 2nd & 3rd opinions - trust no one source
A while ago an investigative television journalist friend rang me up. "I just went undercover to take some MRSA swabs for my filthy hospital superbug scandal," he said, "but they all came back negative. What am I doing wrong?" Always happy to help, I suggested he swab somewhere else instead. Ten minutes later, I heard from him again. He'd just spoken to a tabloid health journalist who had told him which lab to use: "the lab that gives positive results when others do not" was how he described it to me. What lab was this? Step up Northants-based Chemsol Consulting, and director Christopher Malyszewicz. If you see an MRSA superbug positive swab scandal, the chances are it came from his lab. In fact, people have taken swabs from the very same hospitals given massive MRSA finds by Chemsol, sent them to other reputable mainstream labs, or their own, and got nothing. I asked Dr Malyszewicz why this happened. He said he did not know, and suggested that the microbiologists might be taking swabs from the wrong place at the wrong times. I spoke to Peter Wilson, UCL Microbiologist, who said: "We got batches of the media that Dr Malyszewicz was using, we couldn't distinguish Staph. epidermidis [not MRSA] from Staph. aureus [which could be MRSA] by whether it grew on that media. It seemed he was relying on whether or not it grew on that media to determine whether it was MRSA or not. Without getting full cooperation from the other side, it's hard to know exactly what they were doing."
10/19/05 - Makers of batteries scramble to keep pace with gadgets
A growing number of consumers becoming ever more dependent on their energy-hungry gadgets. But smartphones, laptops, digital music players and porta-ble videogame consoles tend to gobble up more power with every additional feature. Battery makers are racing to keep up. "Can you imagine a chemical plant that has to operate in a closed condition and send energy forward and backward 500 times?" Barnett said. "And you can't send anybody in to do maintenance. People who operate chemical plants laugh, but that's what we do with a rechargeable cell." Much of the research is centered on improving the lithium ion battery, which has revolutionized the electronics industry since it was widely adopted in the mid-1990s. Found in most mobile electronics gear, lithium ion batteries are energy dense, smaller and lighter than nickel-based batteries, but are often more expensive. Sony Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., which makes Panasonic brand products, each announced earlier this year that they had developed longer-lasting lithium ion batteries by tweaking the chemical equation. Both companies say their batteries can boost the life of a battery by up to 30 percent.
10/19/05 - Oranges a building block for 'greener' plastic
To create their new plastic, known as polylimonene carbonate, the scientists used molecules from two sources, carbon dioxide and limonene oxide, which comes from the peel of citrus fruits and other plants. The limonene oxide liquid, the CO2 gas, and the catalyst are combined to make a white powder. That powder can be melted into things typically made from plastic, such as disposable cups. This new plastic has some properties similar to polystyrene, a petroleum-based plastic that's in hundreds of household products. "Basically when an orange comes into a juice processing plant, 50 to 60 percent is juice, the rest is waste," said Robin Bryant, research manager for the Florida Department of Citrus. Bryant says sometimes orange peel is dried and added to cattle feed. Limonene already is an ingredient in many cleaning products, she said, and scientists are researching ways to create ethanol from citrus waste.
10/19/05 - Why is everyone so tense?
Today's Globe & Mail reports that over the last 12 years, the number of armed conflicts in the world has gone down by 40% and the number of extremely deadly conflicts (more than 1,000 battle-related deaths) is down by more than 80%. So, what's going on? Why is everyone so tense? The internet doesn't help. Today, bad news anywhere in the world shows up in your browser in seconds. Second, there are people making a full time living (and increasing their power) by scaring us (and not just on Halloween). And lastly, it's human nature. Vivid images have more impact on us than cold statistics. If I had accompanied this post with a picture of someone in a gutter, the 80% decrease in serious wars over a decade would quickly be forgotten. Optimism is hard. But it's usually worth it.
10/19/05 - Shenzhou 6 Tab: US$111 Million, NASA 2005 budget 16.2 BILLION
China has spent 900 million yuan (US$111.2 million) on its successful second manned space mission and has great interest in launching commercial satellites for global clients, a senior official said. Tang told the press that China has launched a foreign satellite this year and signed cooperative contracts on launching several other foreign satellites. He said US and French satellites had been launched but did not identify other nations. According to Tang, Chinese taikonauts will undertake a space walk in 2007 and the country will also conduct rendezvous docking in orbit in 2009-12, while a moon-circling satellite is being developed. He disclosed that the main goal of China's manned space program is to build a permanent space station. According to Tang, China has sent US and French satellites into space with Chinese rockets from Chinese launch pads over the past years, winning appreciation and support of the international space circle.
10/19/05 - Corn-burning stoves the alternative heating fuel of choice
Sales of corn-burning stoves and firewood are heating up as people look to escape soaring fuel costs this winter. Wood-burning stoves, the traditional alternative fuel that people have chosen whenever there is a sharp rise in energy prices, are apparently not as popular as they were even a few years ago. People are opting instead to pay more for pellet- or corn-burning stoves since, according to dealers at least, there is less ash and fewer chances of chimney fires. Mills said one factor that might discourage people from installing wood burners is insurance companies. As a rule, insurance companies charge higher premiums when wood burners are used, and some will refuse altogether to insure a structure that uses wood heat. "A lot of insurance companies won't allow you to have one anymore," Mills said. It's a different story with corn-burning stoves, though. Nitchals said the stoves start at about $1,700 and can burn either corn or wood pellets which run $3.49 for a 50-pound bag. The corn or pellet stove runs on an auger system which carries fuel to the firebox. Hill said a bushel of corn produces heat equivalent to 5.5 gallons of liquid propane. According to a formula used by the Rowcliffes, someone paying $400 a month for liquid propane or natural gas can get the same amount of heat from a corn-burning stove for $138 per month. Gary Nelson, of Lisbon, said his corn-burning stove saved him more than $1,000 last year. He said he will recoup his $3,005 initial investment in two more years. His freestanding stove keeps his entire home warm in all but subzero weather, when his backup gas furnace kicks in. Nelson said his homeowner's insurance premium went up $50 a year because of the stove, even though he believes his corn stove is at least as safe as a traditional furnace. Dana Rowcliffe said corn is actually safer to burn than wood and fossil fuels because, unlike fossil fuels, it breaks down into carbon dioxide rather than potentially lethal carbon monoxide. It also doesn't create flammable creosote deposits in chimneys or vent pipes, she said.
10/19/05 - China inciting a new race to the moon?
The Chinese are certainly not acting like a country that desires to compete with other space powers. “Even if we follow the president’s vision and we’re back to the Moon by 2020, I also serve on the Armed Service Committee, so I have the ability to look at a lot of things,” he said. “And looking at things that are not classified, more than likely the Chinese will be on the Moon before that. I would rather be on the Moon to greet the Chinese rather than going to the Moon and have the Chinese greet us.” A “race” with China could actually be a good thing-it is better for China to spend its money on a technology project with no military implication than ballistic missiles aimed at Taiwan or Los Angeles.
10/19/05 - The 'why' behind China's own private space race
The safe return of the second human space mission by Chinese astronauts Monday leaves no doubt that Beijing is committed to this expensive and risky activity. Considering the economic and technological strain it places on China, the natural question to ask is: Why? Chinese specialists studied the history of space activities in the USSR, the USA and other space-faring nations and extracted lessons to guide their own strategy. "From a science and technology perspective, the experience of developing and testing a manned spacecraft will be more important to China's space effort than anything that their astronauts can actually accomplish on the new spacecraft," the article stated. "This is because it will raise levels in areas such as computers, space materials, manufacturing technology, electronic equipment, systems integration and testing." For China, this has measurable commercial, diplomatic and military value. The reputation of Chinese high-tech exports, competing with similar items from around the world, is enhanced by space successes, and this raises the prices customers can be compelled to pay. China's ability to do what it promises in space is an affirmation of its reliability in fulfilling other technology-related promises. The perceived effectiveness of Chinese high-tech weapons - from missiles to jets to submarines - is elevated by these visible successes in related space hardware.
10/18/05 - Ovshinsky's hydrogen internal combustion engine
It's a Toyota Prius prototype that runs on hydrogen instead of gasoline. It doesn't pollute -- it gets its hydrogen from water. And it's not a vehicle of the future -- it's on the road today. Ovshinsky also is bringing to Akron a hydrogen-powered lawn mower, scooter and a three-wheeled taxi cab like those common in Asia. The hydrogen for the Toyota Prius prototype is generated from water via electricity from ECD-produced solar panels. Hydrogen is pumped into the car as a gas and stored in tanks as a solid by bonding its atoms to a metal powder. The hydrogen, when heated from the engine's cooling system, becomes a gas again before it is BURNED IN THE CAR'S ENGINE! Although improvements have extended the car's range to about 200 miles, the fuel level is still somewhat of a guessing game. Assuming those algorithms are properly crunched, the next version will likely address the problem of refueling time -- at this point, an intolerable 8 ½ minutes in a go-go society. The target is five. As for the actual driving, the adjustment would be nil. I drove the H-car this week and, other than high RPMs -- this thing sounds like a lawn tractor trying to get up the Smith Road hill -- it looks, feels, handles and accelerates like any other mainstream car.
10/18/05 - Mountain winds may create atmospheric hotspots
Rapidly fluctuating wind gusts blowing over mountains and hills can create "hotspots" high in the atmosphere and significantly affect regional air temperatures. A research paper to be published this month in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Space Physics reports that the actions of such winds can create high-frequency acoustic waves and could stimulate a 1000-Kelvin [1,000-degree Celsius; 2,000-degree Fahrenheit]spike in a short period of time in the thermosphere, at an altitude of 200-300 kilometers [100-200 miles]. Such exceptional temperature increases would require continuous waves, and the heating rate would likely be diminished with intermittent winds. "We show that that the acoustic waves generated by gusty flow over rough terrain might be a significant source of heating in the upper atmosphere," Hickey says. "These mysterious so-called 'hotspots' observed above the Andes Mountains could be explained by such acoustic wave heating." Previous observations near the Andes Mountains in Peru had found that the atmosphere directly above some peaks was approximately 100 Kelvin [100 degrees Celsius; 200 degrees Fahrenheit] hotter than in nearby regions and that the difference occasionally reached as much as 400 Kelvin [400 degrees Celsius; 700 degrees Fahrenheit]. Other research had recorded similar effects near the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. After comparing simulations of atmospheric gravity waves and acoustic waves, the researchers found that the acoustic waves reached higher altitudes than the gravity waves, leading them to speculate that the acoustic waves constituted a far more plausible source of the observed hot spots.
10/18/05 - Girl's device converts rice husk into fuel
Bibal, 12, said her 'carbonizer' device is composed of recycled milk cans and a makeshift chimney, which acts as a heat conductor to turn palay husk into small charcoal bricks. A sustained amount of heat breaks down most organic substances into its basic carbon element. The ordinary charcoal is the "carbonized" byproduct of wood. Bibal said charcoal bricks fuel ordinary stoves and are useful fertilizer because of its organic base. She said some farmers also use charcoal bricks to cure diarrhea among their pigs.
Ideally, she said, the heat from a large-scale model of her "carbonizer" could even be trapped and used to generate electricity. But she said what she intended to prove is that ordinary farmers can make economical use of discarded rice peelings. Bibal said she helps her parents cook and knows how expensive cooking has become as the price of liquefied petroleum gas continues to increase. "Farmers throw away the palay husk on the highways but I knew there could be use for them," she said. Taking a page from her encyclopedia, Bibal said she was testing established facts about heat conduction when she asked her father to tie together several cans with wire to build a chimney. Burning a page of the Inquirer, Bibal said she heated up the cans and then placed a two-foot high pile of palay husks around them. She watched them burn slowly for an hour. The heat is not strong enough to burn the pile into ashes, she said. Instead, the slow heat "carbonized" the palay peelings and fused them into blocks that can store heat when put in an open flame.
10/18/05 - Antarctic ice melts as sea warms but cause unknown
Antarctica is melting, adding to the inexorable rise in global sea levels, endangering millions of lives and whole economies, leading scientists said on Monday. "This has implications for the whole world -- most people and industries are in coastal areas," he added. Payne said there was a net loss of mass in Antarctica as the snowfall in the center of the frigid landmass was more than offset by sea ice melting around the edges. The key was to find out whether the process was accelerating, or whether it might stabilize or even reverse. Bob Bindschadler, a glaciologist from U.S. space agency NASA, said the West Antarctic ice sheet was reducing -- albeit patchily -- but that if it all melted it would raise global sea levels by 6 meters. Putting it in context he said that a 1-meter rise in sea levels would cost the United States alone $400 billion -- roughly twice the estimated cost of the destruction wrought by hurricane Katrina in New Orleans last month.Eric Rignot, a fellow NASA scientist, said marine ice on the world's coldest continent was in general retreat due to rising sea temperatures. "The Antarctic ice sheet is changing at a faster rate than anticipated. The coastal changes are the most significant, with the potential to reach far inland," he told an audience of his peers from around the world.
10/18/05 - Artist rides hydrogen/oxygen motorcycle across desert
Environmentally friendly artist Simon Starling, from Epsom, Surrey, rode a moped across the desert in Andalucia which generated power using only compressed bottled hydrogen and oxygen from the desert air. The only waste product from the moped's crossing was water which was contained in a bottle and used back in the studio to create a watercolour painting of a cactus from the artist's travels.
10/18/05 - Hygenius car makes its electricity from hydrogen & oxygen
"A complex chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen that generates electrical power - without emissions. And the Hygenious has further progressed this technology." "The fuel cell in the F600 Hygenius is around 40 percent more compact than previously and runs more efficiently than ever," explains DaimlerChrysler's Director of Vehicle Body and Drive Research, Professor Herbert Kohler. "This has been achieved thanks to the inclusion of innovations such as the redesigned fuel stacks and an electric turbocharger." A fuel cell drive with an 85 kW / 115hp output, combined with 350 Nm (258 lbs/ft) of torque, keeps the Hygenious on the move. But when only parking or manouvering, the electric motor draws all its power from the battery alone. When the vehicle is accelerating, both the fuel cell and battery feed the motor in unison with energy. A fuel cell powered car has distinct advantages, even disregarding its outstanding fuel economy (80 mpg / 2.9 l/100km). Plug in electrical devices into a power socket located in the tailgate (at the standard voltage level) to a 66 kW power supply - powerful enough to keep several detached houses supplied with power.
10/18/05 - Growing new tissue in minutes
British scientists claim they can grow new tissue in minutes, a development they say may one day allow doctors to make tissue implants at the bedside. Currently, scientists take between one and 12 weeks to make tissues to be used for operations such as skin grafts by building a scaffold of cells that grow in the lab, reports the online edition of BBC News. They experimented on making a tissue called collagen, which acts as a structural support for skin, bones and tendons. Sucking out the water using a technique called plastic compression meant they could make the collagen in just over half an hour. The tissue was not only made much faster than that made in the conventional tissue engineering way, it also appeared to be stronger, more like real collagen, the report said. "The next stage is to test whether this method could help repair injured tissues. Ultimately, the goal is to design a rapid, inexpensive, automatic process for creating strong tissues which could supply hospital surgical units with a tool kit of spare parts for reconstructive surgery.
10/18/05 - Mazda Rotary SUV runs on hydrogen/gas/electric
The Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid, a close-to-ready minivan concept that can run on gasoline, hydrogen or an electric motor. The Mazda Premacy Hydrogen RE (rotary engine) Hybrid concept features a hybrid power unit that combines a dual-fuel, hydrogen/gasoline rotary engine with an electric motor. The experimental "concept car" Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid currently can travel only about 100 kilometers (62 miles) on hydrogen. That can be a problem because hydrogen fueling stations are still rare. Hybrids, which use an electric motor and an engine, are more ecological and efficient than standard gasoline engines. The electric motor is used during slow speeds, and the engine kicks in when the car accelerates. The battery is recharged when the car brakes or goes down hill. Hiroshima-based Mazda uses a rotary engine, a kind of engine that doesn't have pistons, for its hydrogen-powered car. It plans to start leasing an RX-8 sports car with a hydrogen-powered rotary engine next year. The price of the vehicle is still undecided but will be less than a million yen (US$8,760; ?7,350) a month, Mazda said. The vehicle, which is not a hybrid, runs on gasoline when the hydrogen is used up.
10/18/05 - Losing weight to improve your sex life
Shedding a few pounds can improve things in the bedroom by making people feel better about their bodies. "You reap a lot of benefit from a moderate weight loss of 10 percent," Binks said. "It's a wonderful message. You don't have to reach some ideal weight to be healthy and happy." It is one of the few studies to examine the mental and emotional problems that obesity can cause for intimacy, not just the physical troubles such as hormone imbalances or impotence. In overweight young women in particular, "We see some form of frigidity. They're afraid of interacting" physically, Kissebah said. At the outset, 68 percent of women said they felt sexually unattractive. One year into the diet, only 26 percent did. About 63 percent originally did not want to be seen undressed, but only 34 percent felt that way a year later. Initially, 21 percent of women said they were not enjoying sex; only 11 percent said so after one year. "The number of males in the study does limit what we can say about men," but feelings of unattractiveness and unwillingness to be seen naked also applied to them, Binks said. Even when many of them wanted to have sex, the excess weight made it an ordeal. "They'll tell us about simple mechanical difficulty," Binks said.
10/18/05 - Implementing flexible solar cell arrays
Plastic solar cells can't yet compete with conventional silicon photovoltaics for efficiently producing large-scale power. But they've become good enough that at least one company, Lowell, MA-based Konarka, has moved past the proof-of-concept phase and is putting them into products. The Army, Air Force, and Textronics, a company based in Wilmington, DE, are now incorporating Konarka's cells into the structures of tents for powering computers and the fabric of handbags for charging cell-phone and laptop batteries. Konarka's solar cells are printed or coated on rolls of plastic -- much like photographic film. Tiny particles embedded in the film then absorb light and spit out electrons, which are transported by an electrolyte and harvested by electrodes. Konarka has also shown that the materials in its solar cells can be tuned to absorb and reflect different wavelengths of light; and, unlike traditional photovoltaic materials, the plastic substrate can conform to irregular shapes. According to one of Konarka's partners, Textronics, the end-product can even be made to feel like ordinary cloth. The ultimate goal is to make solar power, which now costs 4 to 5 times as much as grid electricity, competitive with fossil fuels.
10/18/05 - Silver Nanoparticles Attach to HIV-1 virus
In the first-ever study of metal nanoparticles' interaction with HIV-1, silver nanoparticles of sizes 1-10nm attached to HIV-1 and prevented the virus from bonding to host cells. Scientists tested, in vitro, each of three silver nanoparticle-preparations in HIV-1 cells. Yacaman and his colleagues incubated the samples at 37 C. After three hours and 24 hours, respectively, 0% of the cells were living. The results showed that a silver nanoparticle concentration greater than 25 ug/mL worked more effectively at inhibiting HIV-1 cells. Plus, the foamy carbon was a slightly-better capping agent because of its free surface area. Size also played a role since none of the attached nanoparticles were greater than 10nm. Scientists are also studying other uses for silver nanoparticles. "We're testing against other viruses and the 'super bug (Methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus).' Our preliminary results indicate that silver nanoparticles can effectively attack other micro-organisms," Yacaman said.
10/17/05 - Alfven waves plasma propulsion to change space travel
With the help of "Alfven waves", a new plasma propulsion system can provide the thrust for a rocket which can drastically reduce fuel consumption. According to tests the plasma propulsion leads to a fuel saving of approximately 90 per cent - and that is not a little thing: "With satellites the fuel constitutes up to 50 per cent of the weight. It is on the fuel that the life of the satellite depends. The fuel is used to provide thrust which will accurately orient and maintain the position of the satellite with respect to the earth receiver." This propulsion principle is based on the discovery of the physics Nobel winner, Hannes Alfven, in the year 1942. Alfven worked in the field of magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), which describes the reciprocal effect of an electrically charged fluid (plasma) with electrical and magnetic fields. The propagation of these waves in the plasma are today deemed "Alfven waves". The most substantial characteristic of the technology is a flow rate of ten times higher than could be attained using a nuclear fusion engine - which (still) does not exist. DIY Thruster
10/17/05 - Space Travel Guide
"The Space Tourist's Handbook," authored by Space Adventures President and Chief Executive Officer Eric Anderson, promises to be the "ultimate guide for those who have ever dreamed of traveling to the final frontier," the company said. The book will cover everything from travel planning tips to life-and-death survival skills, with sections on the best destinations, vehicles, types of missions, training and preparation involved. Publication comes on the heels of the safe return to Earth last week of millionaire businessman Greg Olsen, who paid Space Adventures $20 million to spend eight days aboard the International Space Station. He was the third private citizen to become a space traveler.
10/17/05 - Billy Meiers Revisited
(Years ago when I was heavily involved in UFO studies, the Meiers case was my favorite for the sheer volume of 'proof'. New information has been presented which you might find of interest including photos and the audio clip of the ship. But most amazing are the claims of predictions that came true and many yet to come. Be SURE and click on 'Prophecies' on this site, pretty scarey stuff. - JWD) Far more than UFOs or extraterrestrials, The Meier Contacts are ultimately about us…and our future survival. We now have before us proven information of unparalleled accuracy and impeccable credibility - spanning nearly 50 years - also containing very specific warnings of enormous, imminent dangers facing humankind. Many of these perils are of our own making due to ignorance of eternal spiritual and physical laws, such as the law of cause and effect. Skeptic photo duplications
10/17/05 - In today's technocratic society, beware: numbers can be fudged!
There are many ways in which numbers can be fudged - either deliberately or through error. Let's take a look at a few. Comparing oranges and apples - What is a forest, for example? This may seem a silly question; after all a forest is a lot of trees growing alongside each other. But look more closely and you can see that there is room for (mis)interpretation. Exactly how close together must the trees be? Or how tall? Sampling errors - In large samples, one can survey only a small part of the total population. Let's say our sample size is 500 (out of 5 million children); of these, 320 kids claim they do brush their teeth. All other things being equal, we can assume that the same proportion (64 per cent) of the entire population of children also brush their teeth (and 36 per cent don't). This technique is well established in science, but there are traps for the unwary. The sample must be unbiased, or random. This means that everything (every child, in this case) in the population must have an equal chance of being selected in the sample. Deliberate misreprentation - Rigging the presentations with optical illusions. Beware of Unjustified detail - If you are told that the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration has increased by 25.8743 per cent since 1850, be suspicious. Averages - Correlations - Missing information - Using Trends and Calculate Risk.
10/17/05 - Desert Solar Energy best stored as hydrogen fuel
Capturing sunlight is not as easy as it sounds. It is a dilute energy source, spread out over time and space. Earth receives 5.6 x 1018 (5,600,000,000,000,000,000) megajoules of solar radiation each year (Box 1), but to make it worthwhile we need to collect it over many hours and across many square metres of ground. We then need to concentrate it so as to make available the sort of power that modern society needs. Sunlight is not as ‘energy-dense’ as oil but this is made up for by the fact that it is present over such a large area. Solar energy becomes much more useful when we change it to another form. Unfortunately, we can’t yet power our homes entirely on sunlight. Photovoltaic cells for a house are expensive, and anyway most houses are not in the sunniest part of Australia or the world. The solution is to put the sun’s energy into a form which can be stored and moved around, so that we can collect it in those places where most of it falls and move it to where it is needed. Sunlight can be concentrated by solar collectors - best sited in a desert. These focus sunlight from a large area on to a central vessel in which water is heated to become very high temperature steam. The expanding steam can power a turbine and generate electricity on a sufficiently large scale that it can be sent across a power grid. The world’s largest, free-standing, steerable solar concentrating dish is in Canberra, where it forms part of the Australian National University’s solar research program. The greatest challenge for solar energy is to power modern society’s transport and industrial needs. Transport fuels must be light but packed with energy. They must also operate when it’s dark, so photovoltaic cells are out. The answer for the future probably lies in hydrogen gas, derived from water split apart using solar electricity or the sun’s concentrated heat.
10/17/05 - An answer to stem cell morality?
Embryonic stem cells are the building blocks from which come the body's more than 200 types of cells. Scientists say the cells could someday rejuvenate or possibly replace ailing organs that cause such chronic illnesses as diabetes and avoid rejection by the patient's immune system. But because embryos are destroyed when the stem cells are harvested after about the fifth day, religious conservatives and abortion foes oppose the research. Given that human embryos are destroyed when the wanted cells are extracted, scientists interested in harnessing the cells' possible capabilities to relieve human suffering have been searching for ways to allay or avoid the moral concerns. One method would create an embryo genetically disabled so that it cannot attach to the uterus. The other involves developing stem cells from a single cell plucked from an eight-cell embryo, a technique often used in fertility clinics to check for genetic defects. The rest of the embryo remains intact and ready for implantation.
10/17/05 - Extinguishing fires with sound
Conventional fire extinguishers do not work properly aboard spacecraft, because the extinguisher's foam tends to spread out in a low-g environment rather than smother a fire. Therefore, students from the University of West Georgia are testing to see if sound waves can extinguish a flame in a low-gravity environment. In the meantime, the Prometheus Project, which contains graduate-student and faculty advisors, has obtained an encouraging sign: sound can repeatedly extinguish small flames in the 1-g environment of their lab. This finding might lead to applications of its own, such as putting out fires in computer-server rooms where water damage from conventional fire extinguishers can be costly. Using sound to extinguish flames is new and has not been previously reported in the literature, according to Plaks. While the researchers know that sound can cause pressure to drop at the site of a flame, they are working to determine the explicit mechanism, which might involve a temperature decline at the site of the flame or a decrease in the concentration of oxygen.
10/17/05 - Electric fields cause formation of vortex rings in water
Zackary Chiragwandi and colleagues at Göteburg University and Chalmers University applied an electric field between two gold electrodes covered with pure water and found that the water molecules break up at 3.2 volts. This reaction takes place at both the anode and cathode at the same time. At the anode, the water molecules break up into negative hydroxide (OH-) ions and protons. These protons are released into the bulk of the water, where they create the vortex rings. Meanwhile, the hydroxide ions decompose to form oxygen. Using an optical microscope, the Swedish team observed that the vortex rings consist of water swirling around in very fine circles with diameters ranging from 10 to 50 microns (figure 1). Moreover, more than one vortex can form at higher voltages. The scientists say that the protons move along a spiral path in solution, which corresponds to the hydrogen-bonding network between water molecules, and that this leads the formation of the vortices (figure 2).
10/17/05 - Talking books with moving pictures ala Harry Potter
Siemens has announced a new type of colour display screen so thin and flexible it can be printed onto paper or foil, and so cheap it can be used on throwaway packaging. The technology uses "electrochromic substances … that change their colour when an electrical voltage shifts charges in their molecules" and the German technology company suggested uses could include medicines displaying instructions in various languages. "It is also conceivable that small computer games will be on packages or that equipment boxes will display animations that give users step-by-step operating instructions." Dr Aschenbrenner said glossy magazines could incorporate the flexible screens in advertisements, with the cost being from about $53 a square metre. Newspaper supplements (on a slightly heavier stock than normal newsprint) could follow. How will such a screen get its power? From batteries that are also printed onto the paper, Siemens said.
10/17/05 - Cyclical Doomsday Scenarios
(I have experienced this many times to my great frustration and distate...where true believers say 'WHY BOTHER? GOD/JESUS WILL SAVE US ALL!' Such stupidity, asocial and irresponsible behavior of not even ATTEMPTING to fix or make things better is beyond my capacity to fathom. Que sera, sera is for losers and miscreants. - JWD) "The doomsday scenarios are fairly cyclical," said Randall Balmer, a professor of American religious history at Barnard College. "The theology they are based on is a very linear view of history. They believe we are now ramping up to the end of time." Fascination with the end of days is seemingly everywhere, in popular television ministries (like Pat Robertson's), on best-seller lists (the "Left Behind" series) and even on bumper stickers ("In case of rapture, this car will be unmanned"). What could be behind this fascination? Many church leaders and theologians, including evangelicals, give little effort to trying to interpret natural disasters and other events that might portend the end of history. "It's inherently interesting," he said. "If you have a sign out for the sermon, 'Our obligation to the poor,' you won't get anybody. If you have a sign out for, 'The Internet and the Antichrist,' you'll bring them in." "When somebody says there's a pattern here, and let me tell you what the pattern means, this is what gets a lot of people's attention," said Mr. Weber, the church historian. At this point, dispensationalism's tenets have become so popular that many evangelicals who are in denominations or churches that might not necessarily adhere to dispensationalism have, nevertheless, adopted bits and pieces of it. But the theology has drawn fire from other evangelicals for its narrow reading of the Bible and its tendency to ignore social problems. "It's still considered by many theologians to be somewhat ahistorical and theologically suspect," said Mr. Cizik, who criticized anyone who would interpret the recent calamities as a sign of the end. "History has taught us not to predict," he said. "I think it's sheer speculation for anyone to place a whole lot of stock in any one particular earthquake or pestilence."
10/17/05 - Coincidence?
Last Thursday on Countdown, I referred to the latest terror threat - the reported bomb plot against the New York City subway system - in terms of its timing. President Bush’s speech about the war on terror had come earlier the same day, as had the breaking news of the possible indictment of Karl Rove in the CIA leak investigation. I suggested that in the last three years there had been about 13 similar coincidences - a political downturn for the administration, followed by a “terror event” - a change in alert status, an arrest, a warning. We figured we’d better put that list of coincidences on the public record. We did so this evening on the television program, with ten of these examples. The other three are listed at the end of the main list, out of chronological order. If merely a reasonable case can be made that any of these juxtapositions of events are more than just coincidences, it underscores the need for questions to be asked in this country - questions about what is prudence, and what is fear-mongering; questions about which is the threat of death by terror, and which is the terror of threat. Fiore Reuse, Recycle, Repeat Animation
10/17/05 - Listening to bacteria break down waste
Waste-management facilities rely upon machines called "digesters," which employ anaerobic bacteria to break down organic waste. In order to help monitor and improve the digesters at these industrial facilities, and develop a more precise understanding of bacterial metabolism, Miguel Horta and Steve Garrett at Penn State have designed a sonic gas sensor that can detect the amount of hydrogen or methane that bacteria produce when they break down organic compounds. In the setup, a small loudspeaker creates a sound wave inside a pair of open tubes through which the gas produced by the bacteria is flowing. As the bacteria generate gas, the changing gas concentration alters the acoustic resonance frequency in the tubes. Microphones connected to specialized electronics track and record this resonance frequency that precisely determines the change in concentration of the waste gas. The researchers hope that acoustics will provide a valuable tool for real-time monitoring of digester performance, improving bio-energy production from organic wastes, and conducting studies of bacteria's metabolic rates.
10/16/05 - Flea protein makes ultra-bouncy rubber
(If you saw the last Star Wars, on the Wookie planet, they had flying machines with rapidly vibrating wings, much like piezo fan coolers. For years I'd been thinking about piezo drivers with a flexible joint made of sorbothane as used in superballs to allow for such a rapid moving wing outfit, this might be even better - JWD) Scientists have created a super-springy rubber from the elastic protein that makes fleas jump. Dr Christopher Elvin, a principal research scientist with Australia's CSIRO Livestock Industries says the protein resilin acts as an energy reservoir in the legs of insects like fleas and froghoppers to help them jump. It makes it possible for honeybees to beat their wings some 500 million times in a lifetime and for cicadas to produce their drumming sound. Resilin, a member of a wider family of elastic proteins found in nature, is also present in spider silk and makes dough stretchy. He says the material has a similar resilience and long life to natural resilin, which can be stretched hundreds of millions of times without suffering wear and tear. The synthesised material is also superior to high-resilience polybutadiene rubber, used to make balls that bounce very high. And because resilin is similar to the human protein elastin, it could also be used as a so-called biomimetic material to replace worn out arteries or spinal discs.
10/16/05 - Not to gross you out, but...
The typical pillow contains more than a million fungal spores, researchers found. That's several thousand spores for every little gram of material. "We know that pillows are inhabited by the house dust mite which eats fungi, and one theory is that the fungi are in turn using the house dust mites' feces as a major source of nitrogen and nutrition (along with human skin scales)," says study leader Ashley Woodcock at the University of Manchester. "There could therefore be a 'miniature ecosystem' at work inside our pillows." Woodcock and her colleagues examined feather and synthetic pillows that had been in use from 1.5 years to 20 years. The most common fungi found is called aspergillus fumigatus, which is also the most likely to cause disease, the researchers say. It is in fact the leading infectious cause of death in leukemia and bone marrow transplant patients. Fungi also exacerbate asthma. Synthetic pillows carried more fungi, the study concluded. Other species uncovered include fungi normally found in bread and in showers.
10/16/05 - Hydrogen powered internal combustion engine for DFW Airport Shuttles
Dallas/Fort Worth Airport will begin usinng hydrogen-powered shuttle buses next year, according to airport and Ford Motor Co. officials. If they succeed, in theory, the resulting technological shift could doom the petroleum engine and end U.S. dependence on fossil fuels. The experimental shuttle buses won't look any different. But the traditional internal-combustion engines that power them have been modified to run on hydrogen instead of gasoline. Over the decades, the main problem with hydrogen has been that it burns too fast. Recent hydrogen engine designs, however, have improved both range and power. The Ford shuttle bus has a range of about 150 miles, depending on road conditions and vehicle load. So far, 581 of the airport's 629 vehicles run on compressed natural gas or propane, according to D/FW energy manager Jerry Dennis. The program has worked well.
10/16/05 - Water Fuel Museum
The 2,400-square-foot museum, located in an old machine shop at 1012 Manchester St., just around the corner from a gasoline storage depot and a block from Rupp Arena, is devoted to the history -- and the future -- of water as a source of combustible fuel. "People don't realize that there were water cars in the 1800s," said Robey. "What's especially strange is that you can't get mainstream science to admit its viability." The centerpiece of Robey's Water Fuel Museum is a 1971 Ford LTD that the late Herman Anderson, an inventor from Nashville, Tenn., reputedly converted to burn hydrogen derived from water as fuel more than 20 years ago. "The basic principle of turning water into combustible fuel is to put DC electricity into water that has a little bit of salt or acid, or something added to it like baking soda, so that it becomes an electrolyte," said Robey. "You're going to see hydrogen and oxygen bubbling out."
10/16/05 - Property rights in space
Space buffs are dreaming about vast land developments on the moon, planets and asteroids -- and wherever people start making land claims, the lawyers can't be far behind. Consider this: This year, in a virtually unnoticed decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco dismissed a lawsuit by a Nevada man who claims he owns asteroid 433, a mountainous celestial rock also known as Eros. For space buffs, the stickiest legal issue is property rights in space, the question of whether a private person can lay claim to property where there is no constituted government. And it involves not only land, but also the airless void of space. Entrepreneurship is the driving force. "If we are able to go out into space and harness the incredible resources that are out there -- unlimited energy, precious metals -- then you open up the entire Earth-space system," Dunstan told The Chronicle. "You don't have limits to growth, and you can sustain unlimited Earth population." Space law promises to be a burgeoning enterprise for future lawyers.
10/16/05 - Frozen bread
(In my early years, I cooked in several restaurants and noticed that foods such as stews, chili, etc. when stored in cooler for 3-5 days, tasted much better than when it was originally cooked. A retired German nurse friend told me they called it 'aging' when she was growing up and that it caused the flavors to blend in unique ways that improved the taste. Wouldn't it be neat to find a way to electronically or magnetically 'age' food as with crystal, magnets, etc.? - JWD) Stored hot, that is, up toward 150 degrees Fahrenheit, bread would become stale more slowly, but flavor and color were "discouraging." At moderate temperatures, say 50 to 90 degrees, nothing surprising could be expected. Everyone knows how bread grows stale in ordinary circumstances. But effects of freezing surprised the experimenters. The bread became partially stale, according to technical tests of penetration. Yet the aroma and flavor were pronounced as good as, or even better than, in freshly baked bread. At a recent meeting of New York cereal chemists, the assembled chemists were fed bread that had been kept a week below freezing and also bread baked the previous day and handled in ordinary fashion. The majority voted for the week-old product, for aroma and flavor.
10/16/05 - Wheelchair electric car
The Kenguru is a small, electric-power auto, but that's not what makes it interesting. The visible innovation of the Kenguru is the target market: people in wheelchairs. The concept is simple: The car’s interior space has no front seat - just a space built to house the driver’s own wheelchair so all he/she has to do is simply roll in through the extra large car doors and into position. The wheelchair locks into place, within easy reach of the car’s controls which are centred around a joystick.
10/16/05 - Password Safe free download
With Password Safe, a free Windows utility designed by Bruce Schneier, users can keep their passwords securely encrypted on their computers. A single Safe Combination--just one thing to remember--unlocks them all. Password Safe protects passwords with the Blowfish encryption algorithm, a fast, free alternative to DES. Password Safe features a simple, intuitive interface that lets users set up their password database in minutes. You can copy a password just by double-clicking, and paste it directly into your application. Best of all, Password Safe is completely free: no license requirements, shareware fees, or other strings attached.
10/16/05 - Robo-Mule for the Military
Materials are getting lighter. But the modern foot soldier is lugging a bigger load than ever. The U.S. Army is hoping to take some of this weight off with a new-fangeled beast of burden. The Future Force Warrior program's Robotic Mule will be able to go wherever the infantry go, carrying supplies and ammunition and giving them somewhere to plug in their rechargers. One approach to the Mule is to build a four-legged robot very much like the biological version -- or some sort of wheeled equivalent. If successful, the wheel/leg hybrid could have all sorts of uses for both powered and unpowered vehicles. The robotic mule and its relations will be the first beneficiaries, but it could give to a new generation of all-terrain vehicles. Eventually everything from electric wheelchairs to baby buggies may be able to negotiate all sorts of obstacles that are impossible today with the aid of the new hybrid.
10/16/05 - Cloud spraying for global cooling
A proposal for a fleet of yachts that sprays water droplets into the clouds as the way to damp down global warming. The droplets, says engineer Stephen Salter of the University of Edinburgh, UK, will boost the whiteness of low-altitude clouds so that they reflect more sunlight back into space. In a paper presented at a climate-change conference in Edinburgh last week, Salter says that chimneys mounted on a fleet of 500 £1 million sprayer yachts would cancel a year's worth of global warming from carbon dioxide emissions over their 20-year lifetime. Instead of sails, the yachts will be propelled by spinning vertical cylinders known as Flettner rotors. The rotors, which were used to successfully cross the Atlantic in the 1920s, will double as chimneys for the water droplets. As the remotely controlled vessels move through the water, the motion will drive propeller-shaped turbines that will generate electricity to power the water sprayers. The form the sprayers will take has yet to be decided, but Salter is investigating the use of a centrifuge or ultrasonic atomiser, like the nebulisers used for dispensing asthma drugs. Though water vapour can itself cause greenhouse warming, Salter is aiming for an evaporation rate of 90 cubic metres per second, compared to a natural global rate of 12 million cubic metres per second.
10/16/05 - Unexpected Downside of Wind Power
Thousands of aging turbines stud the brown rolling hills of the Altamont Pass on I-580 east of San Francisco Bay, a testament to one of the nation's oldest and best-known experiments in green energy. Next month, hundreds of those blades will spin to a stop, in what appears to be a wind-energy first: Facing legal threats from environmentalists, the operators of the Altamont wind farm have agreed to shut down half of their windmills for two months starting Nov. 1; in January, they will be restarted and the other half will be shut down for two months. Though the Altamont Pass is known for its strong winds, it also lies on an important bird-migration route, and its grass-covered hills provide food for several types of raptors. "It's the worst possible place to put a wind farm," said Jeff Miller, a wildlife advocate at the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity. "It's responsible for an astronomical level of bird kills."
10/16/05 - Planet Sees Warmest September on Record
Worldwide, it was the warmest September on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Friday. Averaging 1.13 degrees Fahrenheit (0.63 degree Celsius) above normal for the month, it was the warmest September since the beginning of reliable records in 1880, according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. The second warmest September was in 2003 with an average temperature of 1.02 degrees Fahrenheit (0.57 Celsius) above the mean. The average U.S. temperature for the month was 2.6 degrees (1.4 C) above average. Only the West Coast and parts of the Rockies were near normal. Louisiana had its warmest September in 111 years of national records and an additional 27 states ranked much above average.
10/16/05 - Via Boingboing - Fading Bill of Rights cup
This mug bears the text of the Bill of Rights. When you fill it with hot liquid, the text slowly vanishes, simulating the effect of the Bush presidency. Mug features the complete text of the Bill of Rights, but pour in a hot beverage and see what remains thanks to the Patriot Act! Price: $12.95 available at Purchase link
10/16/05 - Stem Cells for rejuvenation
Britons desperate to halt the ageing process are being injected with the stem cells of aborted foetuses at a clinic that charges £15,000 for a controversial new cosmetic treatment. Despite warnings from biologists in the UK that the process is unproven and could be harmful, dozens of British women have flown to Barbados in the hope that the injections will make them forever young - and possibly even boost their sex drive. The treatment is also available in Ecuador, Russia and Ukraine, where it was developed by scientists to treat Parkinson's disease and blood disorders. But converts claim that wrinkles can be ironed out and the fresh face of youth restored. Normally taken from lab-created embryos, the young cells have the potential to turn into different types of healthy cells, enabling doctors to treat a range of illnesses, including diabetes and heart disease. Mrs Roberts flew to Barbados for a £15,000 stem-cell treatment at the Institute of Regenerative Medicine. "I was booked into a very comfortable hotel room, lay down on the bed and had a saline drip inserted into my veins. Then a large syringe full of stem cells was attached to a needle and it was slowly put into the arm. "When it was over I sat in a hotel room, read my book and had a cup of tea. Then I had a bath, got dressed and went for dinner. The whole thing only took an hour and a half. I did not feel ill - I just sat there chatting as it happened. "I felt better the next morning, I felt perky, but it takes about three months to really feel the effects. It's been five months now and it feels so good.
10/15/05 - Server problems, resolved.
10/14/05 - Engineer designs nitrogen-powered car of the future
George Schmidts' idea for a futuristic car that would run on liquid nitrogen won first place in Motor Trend magazine's "Automobiles for the New Millennium" design contest in the professional category. "Liquid nitrogen is my choice for fuel because it has more energy stored per pound than is stored in batteries and the liquid nitrogen vehicle should cost about one-third of the price of a battery-powered car." Liquid nitrogen is 327 degrees below zero Fahrenheit in its natural state, Schmidt explained. After passing through a heat exchanger, it becomes a gas that would drive an air motor attached to a transmission, transferring the power to the rear wheels. The fuel would be stored in a double-walled tank similar to a Thermos bottle, with safety valves at both ends. (Everyone forgets who pioneered this back in the 1950s/1960s, read all about his engine which used the 980 times volume expansion of liquid nitrogen when it changes from a liquid to a gas, read about it at Harold L. Boese on KeelyNet. - JWD)
10/14/05 - Common gas could be elixir of life
Working with mice, the team found that molecules of the gas, whose scientific name is nitric oxide (NO), boosted cell energy. Combined with a reduction in calorie intake, this slowed down the ageing processes in a group of test mice. "We have long known that nitrous oxide has a vasodilatory effect, in other words it widens blood vessels," lead researcher Enzo Nisoli of Milan University told Science. "What we didn't know is that it is also a molecular signal that regulates the genes that control ageing." Nisoli, who worked with scientists from Urbino University and University College London, said the discovery could have implications for a range of diseases associated with old age, such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease as well as late-onset diabetes and obesity-related conditions. If it can be harnessed to produce drugs that work on biochemical processes at the genetic level, Nisoli said, people could live much longer and healthier lives. The NO molecule is already widely used to combat cardiovascular conditions. It is also an essential component of Viagra. Nitric oxide should not be confused with nitrous oxide (NO2), widely known for its past use in dental surgeries, from which it gained the nickname 'laughing gas'.
10/14/05 - Absorbing Nazi Scientists
"The Hunt for Nazi Scientists" is - a chase-of-a-saga spun out of truths and revelations about how the American government trusted its scientific future to Hitler's braintrust post-World War II. "Hunt," which launches the fifth season of the "Secrets of the Dead" series of Thirteen/ WNET-New York, is at once unnerving and intriguing as it demonstrates how the Allies - postwar - scrambled for what they thought was the golden egg of the goose-stepping Nazis they had just defeated: Their scientific know-how. Know how the United States stepped to the forefront in its arms/space race with the Soviets? The U.S. had a better supply of Nazis. "It started out as a revelation of what technology the Germans had," as in their advanced aviation prowess. "For me, it was a big surprise what I learned by the program's end." Indeed, there is no end of revelations in the program, which details how such SS sign-ups as physicist Werner Heisenberg, chief of the Nazi A-bomb project, and Wernher von Braun, the fuse behind Germany's rocket systems, became prized collectibles in a chilling Cold War board game spinning out of control. But this is no banal bedtime story: This one ends in hidden pasts and erased histories that are as nightmarish as they are numbing. It is a stunning scenario that even a Mel Brooks couldn't brook. Springtime for Hitler? More like springing his henchmen and making them out as U.S. patriots. Indeed, one of the program's most probing - and disturbing - elements shows how souls once stained with swastikas were suddenly purged of their impurities, of how the United States put scientific needs over social morality.
10/13/05 - Bad behavior - Cooped-up chicks grow up to pick on pals
Being deprived of early opportunities to discover one’s surroundings can lead to underdeveloped coping skills and twice as much bullying later in life, says a new U of T study on animal behaviour. The research, published in the September issue of Applied Animal Science Behaviour, suggests access to stimulating environments at a young age is strongly related to the later ability to avoid using peers as “pecking bags.” Over six weeks, Hogan and Chow raised 40 chicks: half were confined solely to their pens and half were allowed to discover a space that offered sand, string, bottle caps and sticks to peck at. The cooped-up chicks turned on their cage mates for stimulation, eventually showing twice as much feather-pecking behaviour as their environmentally enriched peers. “Coping skills are a reflection of how the nervous system is organized. Early experience with a varied, stimulating environment affects how the nervous system develops and likely leads to better adjusted animals,” he says. “So yes, kids exposed to a wide variety of things are probably less likely to show bad behaviour when they grow up.”
10/13/05 - New Vaccine - '100 percent efficacy' against cancer-causing virus
The first major study of an experimental vaccine to prevent cervical cancer found it was 100 percent effective, in the short term, at blocking the disease and lesions likely to turn cancerous, drug maker Merck & Co. said. Gardasil, a genetically engineered vaccine, blocks infection with two of the 100-plus types of human papilloma virus, HPV 16 and 18. The two sexually transmitted viruses together cause about 70 percent of cervical cancers. Other types of HPV also can cause cervical cancer and painful genital warts. About 20 million Americans have some form of HPV. "To have 100 percent efficacy is something that you have very rarely," Dr. Eliav Barr, Merck's head of clinical development for Gardasil, told The Associated Press. "We're breaking out the champagne." A second analysis, including hundreds more women participating in the ongoing study, showed that after just one dose the vaccine was 97 percent effective. That analysis found only one of the 5,736 women who got the vaccine developed cervical cancer or precancerous lesions, compared with 36 among the 5,766 who got dummy shots. Barr said the 97 percent rate was more "real world," given that patients sometimes miss or delay follow-up shots or tests.
"I see this as a phenomenal breakthrough," said Dr. Gloria Bachmann, director of The Women's Health Institute at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick.
10/13/05 - Another Human Hazard for Space Travel
Artificial microgravity causes suppression of 99 key immune genes, leading to T-cell suppression. Researchers at the San Francisco VA Medical Center have identified a set of key immune-response genes that do not turn on in a weightless environment. "This is a specific signal pathway that is not working in the absence of gravity," says Hughes-Fulford, who is also an adjunct professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. "You're short-circuiting a whole lot of the immune response -- namely, the ability to proliferate T-cells -- which shouldn't be a surprise, because life evolved in Earth's gravity field." Hughes-Fulford points out that there are only two known situations in which T-cell function is so severely compromised: HIV infection and weightlessness. Human immune suppression in space was first observed in the 1960s and 70s during the Apollo missions conducted by the United States. As the researchers note in their paper, "15 of 29 Apollo astronauts reported a bacterial or viral infection during [a mission], immediately after, or within 1 week of landing back on Earth."
10/13/05 - Scientists still not certain where oil comes from
With gas prices spiking more than $1 per gallon in the United States this year and some experts predicting that the end of oil is near, scientists still don't know for sure where oil comes from, how long it took to make, or how much there is. A so-called fossil fuel, petroleum is believed by most scientists to be the transformed remains of long-dead organisms. The majority of petroleum is thought to come from the fossils of plants and tiny marine organisms. Larger animals might contribute to the mix as well. The idea that petroleum formed from dead organic matter is known as the "biogenic theory" of petroleum formation, and was first proposed by a Russian scientist almost 250 years ago. This so-called "abiogenic" petroleum might seep upward through cracks formed by asteroid impacts to form underground pools, according to one hypothesis. Some geologists have suggested probing ancient impact craters in the search for oil. Abiogenic sources of oil have been found, but never in commercially profitable amounts.
10/13/05 - Wedding rings reduce male power and develop impotence
(A bizarre story but Lakhovsky experimented successfully with 'oscillating rings' that cured cancers and other diseases - JWD) A wedding ring, which many men constantly wear on the fourth finger, may initiate a variety of sexual disorders and eventually end up with partial or even complete impotence. The so-called right hand screw rule from the course of physics: when the electric conductor moves into a closed circuit, the self-induction EMF (electromotive force) with a certain vector occurs in it. Similarly, the nerves in human fingers can be compared to the conductor, while the wedding ring acts like a closed circuit. "If a finger is placed in the ring circuit, the latter intensifies the flow of specific energy in the finger. Some people may probably know that the so-called kidney meridian passes the fourth finger. The energy flows to the Swadhishthana chakra (Self or Own Abode) which supervises the urogenital system and the sexual sphere to a certain extent. "If a man takes his wedding ring off periodically, the positive effect of the energy current on the sexual sphere manifests itself explicitly." "The Slavs used to wear wedding rings for not more than four hours a day. Their sexual powers were rather strong, which can be seen in ancient Slavic tales. Slavic families traditionally had a lot of children. "On the whole, one may come to the following conclusion: those who do not wear wedding rings 24/7 may have a lot fewer problems in their sex lives."
10/13/05 - Qynergy Corp. to Develop Long-Lasting Power Source
For years scientists have had a problem with providing continuous power to sensors and electronic equipment in remote places. Now, scientists have devised a power cell that will provide continuous power for years. Qynergy Corporation developed an optimum design of betavoltaic power cells, an alternative power source for electronic devices. The partnership has yielded the highest energy conversion efficiency ever recorded for such cells. This discovery will create new capabilities for applications that require longer power life in compact, low volume containers. The cells have the potential for continuously generating small amounts of electricity for nearly 20 years. “In our research, we were able to obtain an energy conversion efficiency of 11 percent, while the highest success to date had only been 5 percent,” said David Robertson, associate director of research and education at MURR. The technology used in betavoltaic power cells is similar to solar power generation, but uses radioisotopes as the energy source rather than sunlight. The cells use isotopes that are fully contained within the power cell-similar to the radioactive source found in many household smoke detectors-and can be used without external risk. The technology transforms the energy of beta particles into electrical power-with the capacity to generate electricity for months or years, depending on the energy and half-life of the isotope used.
10/13/05 - Eco-Paver - water wicking bricks for cooling
The "Eco-Paver" concrete slab is made from recycled construction materials, specially cast to wick up water, through capillary action, and perform a landscaping device-mimic of plant transpiration. "It uses recycled waste materials such as concrete, asphalt and the incinerated ash of urban garbage; it saves energy by reducing the need for air-conditioning; and it contributes to the development of a recycling-oriented society". A few more excerpts from Yomiuri Shimbun follow, attributed to Hitoshi Nishiwake, Matsuo Corporation's President. "We knead a thick concrete in a mixer, put it into molds, press and vibrate it into shape and then remove it from the molds quickly. The entire process--called vibration concrete molding--is done automatically by machine..." "As our concrete is thick, water-retaining voids remain in the finished product," he said..."According to the size of voids, the blocks become either water-permeable or water-retentive". "Water-retentive blocks are as strong as ordinary blocks and strong enough to bear the weight of vehicles. They can be used anywhere. And with their capacity for retaining water, they can be used as vegetation blocks, too."
10/13/05 - Endangered species may get a boost from Viagra
Asian men who traditionally tried to treat their impotence with sliced reindeer antlers as well as bits of exotic and threatened animals may be switching to Viagra, according to a study co-authored by a University of Alaska Anchorage biologist. The report, which has drawn international attention, found that a group of Hong Kong men gave up traditional Chinese remedies like seal penises, sea horses and green turtle eggs as a cure for erectile dysfunction in favor of more dramatic and verifiable results produced by the little blue pills, said associate professor Frank von Hippel. In other words, Viagra may help save a few endangered critters from extinction, as well as boost the flagging sex lives of middle-aged men. Of more than 30 men who had tried traditional Chinese remedies for impotence, at least eight had switched to Viagra. Of 16 men who were using Viagra, none had switched to traditional animal cures. Conservationists have been skeptical that Viagra will really make a difference. A spokesman for the World Wildlife Fund's Traffic program told Nature that endangered species get used for many ailments besides impotence. "Viagra really clouds the discussion of species conservation," said Gus Sant.
10/13/05 - Solar Cooling in China
This is a smart idea for your house as well. Effective landscaping not only prevents sunlight from entering your home unimpeded, but the leafy foliage itself can lower temperatures in the surrounding area by giving off moisture. Scientific studies have found that summer daytime temperatures in tree-shaded neighborhoods were around 3 degrees Celsius cooler than neighborhoods lacking trees. And the shade doesn’t just have to come from living things. Awnings can also help protect specific areas of your home, preventing the sunlight from making your living room feel more like a greenhouse. Best of all, you can get a retractable awning so you can let the sun in when you need more light and warmth and shut it out when you’ve had enough. Another way of passively cooling your home is to imitate nature yet again - go underground. Lowering the ground floor of your home allows the structure to get in sync with the temperature of the earth itself, which is cooler and much more constant than the air temperature. Solar cooling involves trapping sun power during the hottest parts of the day and using it to power air conditioners and other cooling devices. Some systems take advantage of temperature differences between day and night. A solar collector traps heat energy during the day, but as it trickles out at night, the movement of energy drives a pump. The pump’s movement can then be used to generate electricity and power air conditioners. Another type of system involves a photovoltaic battery - the battery directly captures solar power, then runs the air conditioner using this energy.
10/13/05 - Reliable electricity a competitive U.S. edge
When we get up in the morning, we flip a switch and the lights go on; we turn a valve and shower in hot water; and we pop a bagel in the toaster. Reliable and safe electricity is something we take for granted in the United States. We assume it will always be there and realize what we have only when the power goes out. Electricity gives us a tremendous competitive advantage as long as rates don't continue to skyrocket. That is not the case in other parts of the world. For example, India continues to struggle with an unreliable, inadequate and unsafe electrical grid for its 1.1 billion people. According to The Economist magazine, despite some growth in electricity generation over the past decade, brown-outs are a way of life in India, almost half the country is still without electricity, and where it is available, it is often on for only a couple hours a day. Because of those problems, electricity is not a dependable energy source for India's industry, and it is of such poor quality that power surges routinely fry equipment. Thankfully, our nation has a strong power grid that produces a safe, consistent supply of electricity. Even though federal, regional and state commissions set rates and approve new power lines and generating plants, the system is relatively free of political influence. The key to our continued success is to keep it that way and allow utilities to expand and improve to meet their forecast loads. That, in itself, gives the United States a competitive edge against its global economic rivals.
10/13/05 - Animal/Human hybrids
(There was an article in Nexus about a Chinese scientist who had produced hybrid animals by using UV light as the carrier that intermixes DNA radiations. - JWD) Paul Takon from the Australian Museum in Sydney and anthropologist Christopher Chippendale from the University of Cambridge say that such hybrids, including centaurs, were highly likely living side by side with primitives. In Australia and South Africa, the researchers discovered dozens of rock paintings showing animals with human heads and humans with animal heads that may be over 32 thousand years old. They arrived at a conclusion that animal men actually existed in the remote past. They believe that primitives could hardly draw what they never saw. In ancient times, warriors took a flock of sheep or goats for every battle; they used animals for eating and having sex. There is written evidence saying that Italian soldiers deserted during the siege of Lyons by catholics in 1562 because they had little sheep for sex contacts. Allowing sex contacts between soldiers and animals was believed the lesser evil than sex with prostitutes. Respectable scholars - Paracelsus, Cardano and famous researcher of the 16th century Fortunio Liceti - several times registered birth of hybrids, animal kids born by humans and human kids born by animals. Their notes mention horses, elephants, dogs and even lions. Recently reliable scientific sources have published results of genetic experiments as a result of which researchers got chimeras in test-tubes, germs having part of human and part of animal cells.
10/13/05 - New way to focus water waves
Water waves can usually only be refracted in shallow water. However, Hu and Chan found that an array of cylinders fixed to the sea bed and extending above the surface of the water changed both the "effective" depth and gravitational constant of the water, and that this resulted in the waves being refracted. They showed, for instance, that the effective gravitational constant could be increased from its regular value of 9.8 metres per second per second to 16 metres per second per second. The Hong Kong team also found that wave propagation was forbidden in some frequency ranges, which leads to water-wave band gaps that are analogous to those that exist for electrons in semiconductors, photons in photonic crystals, and phonons (or sound waves) in phononic crystals. Hu, who is now at Iowa State University in the US, and Chan showed that the refracted water waves obey Snell's law, which means that many concepts from optics could be adapted for use with water waves. "The phenomenon can be viewed as a mechanism to control and manipulate water waves," says Chan. "For example, we can use the concept to design a 'lens' that focuses water energy to one point (figure 2). This is good for converting wave energy into other forms of energy, like electricity."
10/12/05 - BioMethane an alternative to natural gas
Methane gas derived from dairy manure offers a substitute for natural gas that can power motor vehicles, according to a study released by a collaboration of energy, dairy, and environmental groups. Known as biomethane, the gas is entirely renewable and environmentally-friendly-and can be produced locally. The technologies for converting dairy manure to biomethane already are used at several landfills around the United States. Sweden has 20 plants producing biomethane and runs 2,300 buses on it. As natural gas prices continue to rise, biomethane fuel is becoming cost-competitive with natural gas and diesel, and is much cheaper than hydrogen. “It is not actually the manure we’ll put in the tank,” noted Paul Martin, Environmental Services director of Western United Dairymen. “We’ll use the gas that forms when manure is processed in a methane digester and then upgraded to vehicle fuel quality.
“More than a dozen methane digesters are operating or under construction on dairy farms in California alone,” he said. California has particularly good reasons for using biomethane. The state is home to more than 1.7 million dairy cows, with a technically-feasible potential for producing about 18 billion cubic feet of methane a year (equivalent to more than 150 million gallons of gasoline).
10/12/05 - Found: the flying lizards’ missing lift
(This might lead to a better understanding of Coanda type lifting forces - JWD) Palaeobiologists could not explain how pterosaurs could take off from a standing start - rather than soaring, glider-like, from a clifftop - or how they had enough lift to slow down for a non-bone-crunching landing. Wilkinson’s team has been studying exceptionally well-preserved pterosaur fossils from the Santana Formation in Brazil. To see if a forward and downward-moving pteroid would have aided lift, Wilkinson built a scale model of a broad forewing from aluminium and nylon, and tested its aerodynamics in a wind tunnel. It had “extraordinary” aerodynamic properties, he says, boosting the lift of each wing by 30%. And thanks to the forewing’s steep camber, this lift was attainable at unexpectedly high “angles of attack” - the angle the wing bites into the airflow - as would be necessary from a standing start. “Even the largest pterosaurs may have been able to take off simply by spreading their wings while facing into a moderate breeze,” Wilkinson told New Scientist. And the enhanced lift would have allowed air-speed reductions of about 15%, allowing for smooth landings.
10/12/05 - Chinese space plans accelerating
Two years, two big steps being made, and another Chinese move towards the moon is in the making. Based on breakthroughs in technology related to the efforts, China will move to send a space lab into orbit to be temporally attended by scientists. Accessory space engineering system will be also established for the purpose, the office said. The efforts constitute the second stage of China's manned space program, which was formally kicked off in 1992. In the first stage, China became the third nation, following Russia and the United States, to succeed in manned space flight when it launched the Shenzhou V in October 2003, carrying sole astronaut Yang Liwei around the earth 14 times in his one-day flight. Four unmanned Shenzhou spaceships had been launched between November 1999 and December 2002 to precede Yang's space trip. In the third stage, China plans to set up a permanent space lab, and build its space engineering system, which allows astronauts and scientists to shuttle between the Earth and space station to conduct large-scale scientific experiments, the space program office said in a statement. "Completion of the `three-stage' plan of China's manned space program will enable Chinese astronauts and scientists to conduct space activities regularly, and lay a solid foundation for China to make peaceful use of space and explore space resources," the statement said. Manned space flights aside, preparation for unmanned missions to the moon is also in the pipeline. The country inaugurated a lunar exploration center in Beijing in August, to oversee the launch of a moon orbiter in 2007, a lunar lander in 2012 and a third satellite designed to reach the moon and bring back soil samples for research in 2017. If all goes according to plan, the two-ton lunar orbiter will blast off in 2007 to conduct a one-year mission of mapping the moon's surface and studying its mineral content, according to Luan Enjie, commander-in-chief of the country's lunar exploration program.
10/12/05 - Stem cell heart cure to be tested
The aim will be to determine whether adult stem cells taken from bone marrow can repair damaged heart muscle. In total, 700 patients will take part in the study, which will test three different forms of stem cell therapy. The first part of the study will involve 300 patients whose hearts are failing because of heart disease or a previous heart attack. A second arm will involve 200 patients whose hearts are failing specifically because of dilated cardiomyopathy - a heart muscle disorder. And a final element will involve 200 patients who have just had a heart attack. "Our studies will tell us if adult stem cells in bone marrow can repair damaged hearts and if so how these cells should be administered to patients." The work is being funded by a new charity, the Heart Cells Foundation, set up by Ian Rosenberg. Two years ago doctors told Mr Rosenberg his heart disease was so severe that he had just a couple of months to live. He travelled to Germany, were stem cells were injected into his heart. "Within a matter of months, I was able to do things I could only dream of doing before, such as walking up and down stairs or playing golf," he said. "Stem cell therapy has given me years I never thought I would have. "I set up the Heart Cells Foundation so that others may benefit from this new and exciting science."
10/12/05 - Up & Down wave motion to generate power simply
A generator that produces electricity from the ocean's swell has been unveiled, and its inventors hope that its simple design will beat existing wave-power technologies on efficiency and cost. His invention uses the up and down motion of a floating buoy to move an electrical coil along a stack of magnets, which generates an alternating current in the coil. "At a stroke you get rid of all the hydraulics that the rotary generators used by other wave power devices need," says Kelly. This should make the device relatively cheap and reliable, he says. And as the generator only moves up and down it takes up very little space, so a number of them could be crammed into a small area. In July, Kelly tested a one-fifth scale model of the generator in a large wave tank at the New and Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth, Northumberland. Results show that each full-scale generator should supply up to 100 kilowatts of power.
10/12/05 - Regeneration around the corner?
Future generations may be able to heal without scarring and grow their own replacement limbs, UK scientists hope. Human babies while still in the womb can heal without any scars, but as we get older we lose this ability. Yet adult frogs retain this capacity and salamanders can even grow new tails and limbs when severed. The work could mean that people are severely scarred will be able to heal without any trace of the injury. Similarly, people who lose a limb through trauma may be able to grow a new one identical to the one that they lost. Professor Mark Ferguson, from the UK Centre for Tissue Engineering at Manchester University, said: "Imagine the situation where we you have a medicine that perhaps you inject locally at the site of the injury which allows the body to regenerate that particular part. "The first advances will probably be in straightforward tissues like the skin and cartilage and then in more complicated tissues like heart and liver. "These are areas where advances are being made and will be made in the future. We are very excited." Kelly calculates that a wave farm covering at most 1.5 square kilometres would generate about 100 megawatts of power: the equivalent of a small power station. Trident's floats would be the only thing exposed to corrosive salty water, as all the electronics are kept high and dry on the rig. And even the floats could be drawn up out of harm's way during a storm by reversing the current through the generators and turning them into motors.
10/12/05 - 3 Year trip to Mars would be Hell for Astronauts
A manned flight to Mars means up to three years of discomfort and isolation - how would the cosmonauts cope? This month the Guardian was the first foreign media outlet to explore the pressurised capsules, built in 1970, as they are updated in preparation for the record-breaking Mars flight simulation. "We want them be as realistic as possible," explains the project's technical director, Yevgeny Demin. The interior is claustrophobic and dimly lit, with no windows. Along one wall stand bunk beds opposite shelves that will house life-support systems such as a recycling unit to turn the cosmonauts' waste into food, oxygen and water. A hatch leads to two other capsules: a living space with a nursery for growing plants and a medical pod. Two more modules, one simulating the surface of Mars, will be added later, totalling about 550 cubic metres of space. Any return journey to Mars - at least 35m miles from Earth- would take 18 months to three years, including time to land and explore. Astronauts have already stayed for long periods on space stations in Earth orbit: the Russian Valery Polyakov holds the single flight record of 438 days on Mir, in 1994-95. But a trip to Mars presents a raft of problems that do not compare with the relative ease of current spaceflight. Trapped in a craft bombarded by solar radiation, their muscles and bones wasting away in weightlessness, the crew would have to make decisions without immediate help from Earth.
10/12/05 - Machine ages wine in 15 minutes
Squirrelled away in his chemical engineering laboratory in rural Shizuoka, Hiroshi Tanaka has spent 15 years developing an electrolysis device that simulates, he claims, the effect of ageing in wines. In 15 seconds it transforms the cheapest, youngest plonks into fine old draughts as fruit flavours are enhanced and rough edges are mellowed, he says. Reds become more complex, and whites drier. A wine costing $10 a bottle could taste the same as one costing twice that, which "will create huge changes to the global wine industry". The machine works by pumping wine and tap water through a specially designed electrolysis chamber equipped with wafer-thin platinum electrodes. The water and wine are separated by an ion exchange membrane -- the key component, for which Mr Tanaka holds the patent. Without diluting the wine, the electrolysis causes a rapid rearrangement of the hydrogen and oxygen atoms around the alcohol molecules, which would normally take place over years if the wine were ageing naturally. The electrolyser converts about 4litres of wine a minute. "We are going to make a version of the machine that can be used in restaurants to instantly improve the taste and bouquet of cheaper table wines according to what the customer has chosen."
10/12/05 - You HAVE to see this
Incredible optical illusion that moves on its own!
10/12/05 - The 10 minute DYI RailGun
A railgun is a device for accelerating an object by running electric current through it along a pair of rails. When large amounts of power are used, the railgun becomes a potent weapon. But the principles can be demonstrated safely by using a smaller amount of power, in our case, from a 9 volt battery. When a small amount of power is used, the rails can be re-used many times. If larger amounts of power are used, the railgun becomes a one-shot device, as the rails are destroyed in the process of shooting the gun, due to arcing and flexing of the rails.
10/12/05 - Google Print to locate books
Just do a search on the Google Print homepage. When we find a book whose content contains a match for your search terms, we'll link to it in your search results. Click a book title and you'll see the page of the book that has your search terms, along with other information about the book and "Buy this Book" links to online bookstores (you can view the entirety of public domain books or, for books under copyright, just a few pages or in some cases, only the title’s bibliographic data and brief snippets). You can also search for more information within that specific book and find nearby libraries that have it.
10/11/05 - The $600 Solar Power Solution
First off, for the sake of simplicity we’ll assume the system is for either a generator-run workshop, or a weekend cabin, since that’s really where a $600 solar system belongs. In this way the PV module can spend more time collecting energy than you’ll spend using it, so you can invest less money in energy production (PV modules) and more money in energy storage (batteries). Okay…what can it do? As you may have noticed, the usable power stored in the two batteries is roughly equal to a week’s output from the single 32-watt PV module, so each week you’ll have around one kilowatt-hour of stored sunlight at your disposal. What can you do with it? One kWh will run a 20-inch tv for 20 hours, a portable stereo for 100 hours, a laptop computer for 40 hours, or a 12-watt compact-fluorescent light bulb for 80 hours. So, while you’re saving up to buy the deluxe 4000-watt pure sine-wave inverter with battery charging capabilities, enjoy the little $600 starter system that got your foot in the solar-energy door, and try to imagine where it all might lead. Colorado discusses how to assemble a spanking-new $600 solar-electric system. The system is good for either a generator-run workshop, or a weekend cabin.
10/11/05 - Staying warm to cost up to 90% more
U.S. households can expect to pay sharply higher monthly heating bills this winter, with the increases ranging from 45% to 90% in much of the country, utility companies and weather forecasters warn. In many parts of the USA, energy utilities are seeking double-digit rate increases from state regulators, though with mixed success. In Nevada, Sierra Pacific Power sought approval in July for a 19% increase in natural gas prices, to be effective next month, a request state regulators revised upward to 27.2%. In Kansas and Oklahoma, authorities responded to two utilities' recent requests for higher rates with proposed rate cuts. In Ohio, the utility FirstEnergy agreed to defer most fuel-based cost increases for three years, in part to help authorities manage tight budgets. More often than not, however, higher costs are being passed on to consumers. Ken Reeves predicts "a very cold winter" for New York - after average winter temperatures last year - contributing to an estimated 50% increase in winter heating oil charges there. In the Midwest, where natural gas is the chief heating fuel, Reeves predicts 70% higher heating costs. Atmos Energy of Dallas, which serves 3.2 million customers in 12 states, says many of its residential customers will now pay about $690 in gas utility bills for the five-month winter heating season from November to March, up 88% from $367 a year ago.
10/11/05 - Man-made diamonds sparkle with potential
In technology, the diamond is a dream material. It can make computers run at speeds that would melt the innards of today's computers. Manufactured diamonds could help make lasers of extreme power. The material could allow a cellphone to fit into a watch and iPods to store 10,000 movies, not just 10,000 songs. Diamonds could mean frictionless medical replacement joints. Or coatings - perhaps for cars - that never scratch or wear out. Linares built machines in his garage, superheating carbon in suburban Boston while his neighbors went about their lives. He got the CVD process to work, at first making tiny diamond chips. He formed Apollo and started down the path to industrial diamonds. Then Linares inadvertently left a diamond piece in a beaker of acid over a weekend. The acid cleaned up excess carbon - essentially coal - that had stayed on the diamond. "When I came in Monday, I couldn't see the (stone) in the beaker," Linares says. The diamond was colorless and pure. "That's when I realized we could do gemstones." By selling gems, Apollo can make money now to fund the research for forthcoming diamond tech products. That solution, though, brings two huge problems. One is that Apollo doesn't know the gem business. Its employees are technologists. Apollo's other problem is De Beers, which doesn't like what Apollo is doing one bit. De Beers launched a public relations campaign and an education program for jewelers, all aimed at portraying mined diamonds as real and eternal - and CVD or Gemesis diamonds as fake and tacky. Both Apollo and Gemesis want to market their gems as "cultured diamonds," taking a cue from cultured pearls. Even highly trained diamond experts find it almost impossible to tell a CVD diamond from a mined one. This year, Apollo expects to grow diamonds as big as 2 carats. By the end of 2005, it might expand to 10 carats. The diamonds will probably start moving into the jewelry market as early as next year - at perhaps one-third the price of a mined diamond.
10/11/05 - High-tech coal energy cheaper than Texas wind power
Researchers find that electricity costs from some coal-fired plants with pollution controls are lower than those from wind power in Texas. Popular wisdom is that wind power is the best choice for electricity generation, especially if the goal is to reduce the emissions of mercury, SO2, NOx, or CO2. However, in a paper published on ES&T’s Research ASAP website (es048024j), researchers report that consumers in Texas paid about 5.7 cents per kilowatt hour (¢/kWh) more for renewable power in 2002 than if the same power had been produced by state-of-the-art coal-powered plants designed to reduce these 4 significant air pollutants. Mike Jacobs, deputy policy director of the lobbying group the American Wind Energy Association, says that the paper doesn’t explain that Texas’s rules are unique in the way that transmission costs associated with a new generator are allocated. No incentive exists in Texas to place the turbines closer to where people live, he says. As a result, utility officials can satisfy their RPS with wind rather than biomass or landfill methane, which are typically located closer to urban areas and have lower transmission costs, he says. Not so, say the authors. The Texas RPS doesn’t favor wind and isn’t unique in this regard. Solar, biomass, landfill gas, and hydroelectric power are eligible choices for utilities, under the RPS. Yet, as many other authors have pointed out, wind is the most economical large-scale renewable resource other than hydroelectric power. However, population centers haven’t developed in windy areas, Apt says.
10/11/05 - Shock tactics to destroy torpedoes
The ships would be equipped with arrays of 360 transducers each 1 metre square - effectively big flat-panel loudspeakers - running along either side of the hull below the waterline. When the ship's sonar detects an incoming torpedo, the transducers simultaneously fire an acoustic shock wave of such intensity that the torpedo either detonates early or is disabled by the pulse's crushing force, according to the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is funding the project. But these are no ordinary loudspeakers: instead of having a membranous diaphragm that can vibrate in response to a range of audio frequencies, each of the devices has a ram-like cylindrical metal armature at its centre. This is projected outwards by electromagnets at very high speed, producing a shock wave. The array can be fired as many times as needed. When the six rows of 60 transducers on each side of the ship fire at once, the cumulative action should generate a "destructive pressure pulse capable of disabling an enemy's torpedo", according to DARPA.
10/11/05 - Developing Polar regions
With the Arctic ice cap fading this summer to its smallest size ever recorded - it makes Mr. Broe look like a visionary for buying this derelict Hudson Bay port from the Canadian government in 1997. Especially at the price he paid: about $7. By Mr. Broe's calculations, Churchill could bring in as much as $100 million a year as a port on Arctic shipping lanes shorter by thousands of miles than routes to the south, and traffic would only increase as the retreat of ice in the region clears the way for a longer shipping season. Even before the polar ice began shrinking more each summer, countries were pushing into the frigid Barents Sea, lured by undersea oil and gas fields and emboldened by advances in technology. But now, as thinning ice stands to simplify construction of drilling rigs, exploration is likely to move even farther north. No one knows what share of the recent thawing can be attributed to natural cycles and how much to heat-trapping pollution linked to recent global warming, and some scientists and government officials, particularly in Russia, are dismissive of assertions that a permanent change is at hand.
10/11/05 - The Future of Money
Many retailers state clearly that they will refuse to accept a credit card for purchases below $30. younger consumers in particular have been attracted to going about their daily lives without carrying wads of cash, for both safety and convenience. Hence the increasing attraction of prepaid cards that allow users to charge up their integrated circuit-fitted cards in advance and then buy goods and services cash-free. Launched four years ago, the Suica electronic money card is issued by East Japan Railway, and initially focused on allowing commuters to charge up their cards so that they could ride trains without buying fare tickets each time they boarded. Since then, Suica's use has been expanded so that cardholders can use them to buy goods at convenience stores and other retailers that are directly operated by the railway group. While a Suica card may be a must-have item for Tokyo commuters with about 10 million users, Edy actually leads the electronic money market in terms of the amount of transactions made, in part because it can be used in a far greater number of retailers. It is not uncommon, for instance, for some of Tokyo's hippest retailers and nondescript supermarkets alike to have a small box next to the cash register. An Edy user can place his card onto the box, and have the specific amount of money debited from his prepaid card, with no signature or personal identification required. The day when there is only need for "one (electronic money) card and one cell phone is almost there," stated the Tokyo-based Financial Planning Research Institute in a recent paper on electronic money.
10/11/05 - Quake Prediction Gets Shake-Up
Researchers in Sweden claim to have developed a new computer model for predicting earthquakes that correctly -- retroactively -- forecast the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami that killed 275,000 people. Using five years of seismological data from the region including records of 624 quakes, researchers from the Swedish Defense Research Agency, or FOI, studied the enormous stress created by the Indian Plate as it grinds into the Australasian Plate near the island of Sumatra. The lower the b-value, the greater the increase in tension in the Earth's crust, which entails a greater risk of major quakes. While this has been known for decades, the FOI model uses the information in a new way to plot the b-value ratios in time and space. "We found that all of the major tremors were clearly visible in a time perspective. The b-value dropped drastically before the big quakes," said FOI researcher Leif Persson in a statement. And the biggest drop-off was four months prior to the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake that measured 9.0 on the Richter scale. The researchers said the model also accurately plotted the location of the quake's epicenter. And it worked for another more recent quake this year off the coast of Sumatra. "Using this method, major quakes like the one that caused the tsunami could be predicted better, both in terms of time and geographic area," he said.
10/11/05 - Brazil fights oil prices with alcohol
Drivers are fighting rising gasoline prices by buying "flex" or "flexible fuel" cars that slurp more alcohol. Alcohol made from sugar cane is becoming the fuel of choice in Brazil, and other countries - so much so that global sugar prices hit a seven-year high this week. Regular car engines will run fine on a 10 percent blend of alcohol and gasoline. But by using computer sensors that adjust to whatever mix is in the tank, flex car engines run on either ethanol, gasoline, or any combination of the two. And they have been roaring out of dealerships here since Volkswagen sold the first TotalFlex Golf in March 2003. Today, flex cars are outselling traditional gasoline models. Unlike hybrids sold in the US, for example, flex cars sold in Brazil don't cost any more than traditional models. In fact, some models are only available with flex engines now. Ethanol engines use 25 percent more ethanol per mile than gasoline. But ethanol (the alcohol produced by fermenting sugar) usually sells at somewhere between a third to half of the price of gas. Even people who were reluctant to take the plunge and buy a flex say they have been won over by the savings. Although many countries require oil companies to dilute their gasoline with ethanol (in Brazil, gas sold at the pumps is 25 percent ethanol; and some of the gas sold in the US, China, Australia and Canada is 10-15 percent ethanol), few actually make ethanol or manufacture flex vehicles, and even fewer have a network of gas stations with ethanol pumps. In the US - with about 4 million flex cars - there are 14 states without even one ethanol pump, says Robert White, project director for the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition.
10/11/05 - Psychic seeks $32m Saddam reward
A BRAZILIAN court will consider a psychic's claim that the US Government owes him a $US25 million ($32 million) reward for information he says he provided on the hiding place of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. "Jucelino da Luz alleges that the US armed forces only found Saddam based on his letters that provided his exact location, the very hole where he was hiding in Iraq. So he filed a court case to claim the reward." The US Government offered the reward for Saddam in July 2003 after the US-led forces occupied the country. He was captured in December of the same year. The court said Mr da Luz sent letters to the US Government from September 2001, describing Saddam's future hiding place - a tiny cellar at a farmhouse near Tikrit. He never received a reply.
10/11/05 - Wagner renounces claims to Chile's buried treasure
A new twist in the story of buried treasure on Robinson Crusoe Island, which has kept Chile and the world in suspense for the last three weeks, surfaced Monday after Wagner Technologies renounced all claims to the treasure supposedly worth US$10 billion. But according to Fernando Uribe-Etxeverría, lawyer for Wagner Technologies, the company does not believe it is capable of excavating the treasure; all it wanted was the free press. Wagner agreed to turn over the coordinates to the government on the condition that if the treasure is excavated, a portion would be given to a number of Chilean charities, as well as the island’s residents. Wagner still maintains that “Arturito,” a mobile robot designed by one of their engineers, detected the presence of 800 metric tons of gold and jewels on the west side of Robinson Crusoe Island in southern Chile. However, the company claims that the treasure is located in a very difficult-to-reach spot that requires divers to enter through sub-marine caves on the island’s coast. Arturito, operates like a robotic bloodhound. He can be programmed to search for a particular substance, such as water, gold, or even DNA. Using a variety of tools from geo-radar to a “gamma-camera,” capable of differentiating between atomic molecules, he searches a specified area for the presence the programmed substance. According to Manuel Salinas, designer of the robot, with the right sample, Arturito could help police find missing persons, wanted criminals, and water in the desert.
10/11/05 - Battery Alternatives Touted
Direct Methanol Fuel Cells (DMFCs) work by generating electricity when methanol mixed with water reacts with air through a thin sheet of plastic called a membrane. Engineers envisage future power cells that can provide power for long periods of time--perhaps enough to keep a laptop computer running all day--and that can be recharged with a simple refill of methanol. Toshiba said its phone recharger can deliver enough energy to recharge a cell phone battery five times. It is 4.4 inches square and just under an inch thick. Hitachi's measures 4.8 by 2.8 by 1 inch and can power a phone for five hours. Toshiba is also showing several other devices with built-in fuel cells, including two hard-disk drive and flash memory-based music players and a laptop computer. Prototype computers are already in the hands of a number of testers and the company is gathering data on their use. The DMFC looks similar to a laptop computer dock and is about the same size. It can power the machine for ten hours. When IBM's Japanese unit and Sanyo said earlier this year that they are working together on DMFC technology, the partners predicted a 2007 or 2008 launch. The bright side of the delay is that when the first fuel cells do come to market they should be smaller and more compact, thanks to a further two years of development work.
10/10/05 - Di Pietro Rotary Air Engine
The Rotary Piston Engine is an engine which uses compressed air instead of petrol for its power source. The engine has been tested in a moving vehicle where it reached speeds of between 50kph and 60kph (31-37mph) uphill. It has a range of 16km (9.3 miles) on a 100 litre (26.4 gallons) cylinder but takes only a couple of minutes to refuel. As far as cost is concerned, 15 cents of air will get you 3.2km (1.98 miles). Motor speed and torque are simply controlled by throttling the amount or pressure of air into the motor. Angelo’s motor gives instant torque at zero RPM and can be precisely controlled to give soft start and acceleration control. Di Pietro Air Engine homepage
10/10/05 - The reason for defragging
Defragging your PC frequently will make web surfing three times faster. Joe Kinsella, a security software expert writing in the ever-popular Windows IT Professional, says that retrieving 10 web pages took 37 seconds on a highly fragmented PC, but only 10 seconds after defragmenting the hard drive. Aha! You can defrag your own hard drive using Windows' built-in defragger. Go to the Start menu, then Programs, Accessories, System Tools and finally Disk Defragmenter.
10/10/05 - Sun's shadow causes natural disasters?
The 1902 solar eclipse (observed in North Europe) remains one of the most flagrant examples. Astrologists foretold that the British monarch would be in danger. The calendar even mentioned a disease of the king. The disease struck the king a few days before the eclipse. A devastating earthquake killed 4,000 people in Spain following the eclipse on July 6th, 1853. The eclipse that occurred on May 8th, 1901, brought to life the volcano Mon Pele. It also caused an earthquake on the island of Martinique. There are other examples of the full eclipses (specifically the full ones) having a detrimental impact on the earth. In terms of astrology, this week kicked off with new moon that coincides with this month's solar eclipse. Present-day astrologists are not so concerned about the eclipse. However, statistics indicate that a hidden sun often brings about changes in the near future, and those changes may be for the worse for some people. In any case, astrologists recommend that you put on hold all your important projects and stock up on energy for the time being. New moon is a period marking the final accomplishment of things planned a long time ago. At the very least, astrologists predict that it will happen before the moon grows full on October 17th.
10/10/05 - Lamb's amniotic fluid cells grow a windpipe
Boston doctors used cells taken from a pregnant lamb's amniotic fluid to grow a new trachea or windpipe, then implanted the organ into the lamb's ailing fetus, an experiment that may pave the way for similar treatment in humans. Using cells from amniotic fluid to repair or replace human organs may bypass some of the political and ethical obstacles doctors encounter with fetal cells, said Dario Fauza, pediatric surgeon at Children's Hospital Boston , who led the experiments. "You avoid all the ethical dilemmas of the embryonic stem cell," Fauza said. "The cells are already there" in the mother's amniotic fluid, he said in an interview. "We are just harvesting it and making the tissue you want." Amniotic fluid is the liquid that surrounds and protects a fetus inside the womb. Stem cells have yet to be assigned to a specific bodily function. Doctors, using chemicals and other methods, can coax the cells to grow into a variety of organs or body parts. Other defects that might be reparable using amniotic cells include faulty heart valves, cleft lip, and missing pieces of esophagus, bone, limb, face and possibly bowel, he said. Fauza and other researchers have already demonstrated the potential for using fetal cells to grow replacement organs and repair injuries such as broken spinal cords.
10/10/05 - IR found to reverse skin aging effects
A new device called Restorelite is having a dramatic effect on those battling against the ageing process, with initial trials leading to a success rate of around 90 per cent. Industry standard double blind trials should be completed in December, and if the results are as good as expected the £45 machines could be on high street shelves as early as next year. The makers of Restorelite also have a product called Virulite, which uses a narrow bandwidth of infra red to treat cold sores twice as fast as other treatements. Academics at Sunderland were asked to investigate how the infra red light delivered by the Virulite machine actually worked. By chance, they found that a certain wavelength of infra red kept white blood cells alive in adverse environmental conditions. They also found that this wavelength protected against UV, which is a major contributor to the ageing process. Based on this discovery the Restorelite machine was produced. “We took before and after photographs after a three month period. Around 90 per cent of those involved in the trial gave a positive response. Evidence so far shows if someone 55-years-old uses the machine over two to three months it could take around five years off them. Pauline says: “I have been using it for over a year. I noticed a difference in the first couple of months. It has smoothed the skin and reduced the wrinkles around my eyes. It’s painless and only takes nine minutes an eye. I would certainly recommend it.”
10/10/05 - Home printed photos too expensive
"CNET News.com and The New Yorks Times (no registration required) report that even though the prices of printers have dropped up to 30 percent in the last few months thanks to a savage price war, buyers are going to pay at least 28 cents a print. This is if you believe the manufacturers' math. It could be closer to 50 cents a print if you trust the testing of product reviewers at Consumer Reports. In the meantime, the price of printing a 4-by-6-inch snapshot at a retailer's photo lab, like those inside a Sam's Club, is as low as 13 cents. Snapfish.com, an online mail-order service, offers prints for a dime each if you prepay. At those prices, why bother printing at home? Consumers seem to be saying just that. For the 12 months ended in July, home printing accounted for just 48 percent of the 7.7 billion digital prints made, down sharply from 64 percent in the previous 12 months, according to the Photo Marketing Association International, a trade group for retailers and camera makers. The number of photos spewing out of home printers is up quite handsomely, however, because of the overall growth of digital photo printing--up about 68 percent from the year-earlier period - but retail labs clearly have the advantage..."
10/10/05 - Brain Interhemispheric asymmetry
Every human being has the brain with one hemisphere dominating over the other one. Humankind is divided into two uneven parts: people with the left hemispheres and people with right hemispheres. The first group mostly lives in the West, the other one is in the Orient and Africa. The hemispheres process information in a different way. The left hemisphere is responsible for analytical thinking. People with the dominant left hemispheres are usually very rational and calculating. They can keep their emotions in check. They write using the right hand. People with the dominating right hemisphere think in images. Many left-handed people fall under the category. It is useless trying to make a left-handed person write with his right hand since his right hemisphere will a dominant one. One can see asymmetric organization of the brain at all levels, from the molecular level to the behavioral one. People with right hemispheres feel very much ill at ease in our world that is designed for those with left hemispheres. For example, it takes longer for children with right hemispheres to grow old. They also have troubles finding a niche in society. Teachers do not understand them and hand down low grades to them. As a result, a child's self-esteem goes down. Children like that are very vulnerable because emotions form the core of their personalities. People with dominating right hemispheres who failed to get themselves adjusted to life often display asocial behavior. On the other hand, the majority of the great artists and writers are those with the dominant right hemisphere. How can you identify you dominant hemisphere? Arrange your palms in a "lock". You must be a right-handed person if the thumb of your right hand happens to be lying on top. You can strike the "Napoleon's pose." Cross your arms over your chest. The right arm covering the left one is a sure sign that you are a right-handed person.
10/10/05 - Incredible Video, need to scale this UP!
The UFO incorporates the latest miniature technology, which comes with a unique electronic control system. It utilizes powerful electric motors with two pairs of counter-rotating propellers and an innovative gyroscope for incredible stability. Made of ultra lightweight carbon fiber and EPP foam, it can fly up to 100m indoors, or outside in calm conditions. One red and three blue flashing LED lights not only assist orientation and indicate when the gyro is up to speed, but also make it look like a real UFO, especially when flown in the dark! The X-UFO features 4 channels proportional radio control, with individual trims to finely balance each function for optimum performance. Digital 4-channel Radio: Control all aspects of flight: throttle, pitch, roll, and yaw! Fantastic radio range of 100 meters (109 yards) means you can fly outdoors on calm days up to the limits of visibility.
10/09/05 - Mixing methanol (in windshield washer fluid) with gas to increase horsepower
(Heard about this on Tom Martino WROW talk show, but the caller said mixing propane, so he was in error - JWD) Water injection was evaluated scientifically in the 1930’s by H. Ricardo who demonstrated that one can basically double the power output of an engine using water/methanol. The first widespread use was during WWII on supercharged and turbocharged aircraft. In 1942, the German Luftwaffe increased the horsepower of the Focke-Wulf 190D-9 fighter aircraft from 1776HP to 2240HP using 50/50% water/methanol injection. The allies soon followed by fitting the P51 Mustang and other high performance aircraft with water/methanol injection. In gasoline engines, as with any intercooler, this suppresses detonation so more power producing boost and timing can be utilized. Water, with its high latent heat of vaporization cools the intake charge and combustion. Methanol cools the charge and combustion but also acts like an extremely high octane fuel (some researchers claim as high as 120 octane) as well as adding more oxygen to combustion. In diesels, the effect is three fold: 1. The intercooling effect provides for more available air and all the benefits of a higher positive pressure ratio (more power giving fuel can be utilized safely without high combustion temperatures). 2. The combustion of water provides for more power on the power stroke. 3. Methanol acts as an additional fuel for more power. Methanol = wood alcohol - Alternative names - Methyl Alcohol, Paint remover - Methanol is an extremely toxic substance, which can cause fatal damage to the kidneys, as well as blindness. It also causes a disturbance in blood pH which can lead to multiple system failure and death. It is found in shellacs and paint removers.
10/09/05 - 30 fleet fuel cell car real world test by Ford in Florida
Ford Motor Company recently handed over the keys to five hybrid hydrogen Ford Focus Fuel Cell vehicles as part of a five city 30-car program to conduct real world testing of fuel cell technology. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) got three vehicles and Progress Energy received the other two. It is one of the industry's first hybridized fuel cell vehicles combining the improved range and performance of hybrid technology with the overall benefits of a fuel cell. Knowledge gained engineering Ford's Escape Hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid has been shared between the FCV vehicle engineering team and the people working on both Ford gasoline powered hybrids on the road today as well as future gasoline hybrids Ford will sell. In addition to the FCV demonstration fleet, Ford will support Florida's hydrogen initiative with the production of eight hydrogen powered shuttle buses for use in the Orlando area and with Ford's 4.2-liter, V-6 industrial engine - converted and calibrated to run on hydrogen - will power two TUG M1 tow tractors for use at the Orlando International Airport.
10/09/05 - Heating/cooling your home with 'earth loops'
At a depth of five feet below the surface, the temperature in southern Ontario remains at around 46 degrees Fahrenheit (7.8 Celsius) year-round, in spite of the surface temperature. A Toronto company called Polar Bear Water Source Heat Pumps is in the business of harvesting that heat, through what it calls "earth loops" that are dug into the ground. The heat energy extracted through the plastic pipes is used to run heat pumps in the home. The company says that results in 70 per cent "free energy" provided by the earth. Additional ways to reduce energy used in your home - wind turbines for the home, Euroseal insulation that puts five inches of insulation into walls reducing heat loss by 95 per cent, a hot water system that uses no tank, dome-shaped homes that are tornado-proof, straw bale construction for walls and solar heating systems of every description.
10/09/05 - Toyota donates hybrid vehicles
(This is brilliant marketing - JWD) Automaker Toyota has given four alternative fuel vehicles for use in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Toyota's U.S. subsidiary turned over the keys to four Prius cars to the nonprofit Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The donation of the gasoline-electric hybrids is valued at about $83,000. Two of the cars will be used in the park's Classrooms program for elementary and middle school students. The other two will be used in by volunteers who patrol main park roads, offering roadside assistance and answering visitors' questions.
10/09/05 - Oil too profitable to allow alternative technologies
"Sport Utility Vehicles get an average 17 miles per gallon, which is exactly the same as the 1912 Model T Ford." - What the entire situation boils down to is that American citizens are at the mercy of oil--whatever the price is, that’s what we’ll have to pay. Huge, monopolistic oil companies, like Halliburton, extract and sell this oil they retrieve from the earth. Oil is a commodity that is bought and sold on the open market, just like grain, cattle, and stocks. This market obeys the laws of supply and demand--there will always be a high demand for oil in the United States, so the other factor is supply. I’m never one to insinuate(?), but theoretically these same huge, monopolistic oil companies, like Halliburton, could very easily manipulate the price of oil by cutting supply. It’s really pretty simple. For those of you who don’t already know, Congress is controlled not by its Congressmen, (who are elected by the citizens of the United States, as required by the Constitution) but by what are known as Interest Groups, or lobbyists--one in the same. These lobbyists are employed by either lobbying firms, or huge, monopolistic companies, like Halliburton, directly. The job of a lobbyist is to control/manipulate the vote of a congressman on an issue specific to the interest. Now automobiles, on average, are about 6% efficient. When I say “efficient” I mean it in scientific terms: “energy efficiency” is the amount of useful energy extracted from a system divided by the total energy put into a system. Now, you can’t possibly convince me that with all the scientific and technological developments our civilization has enjoyed over the past, say, 140 years, 6% efficiency is the best we can do--only a damn fool would believe that. For comparison, Sport Utility Vehicles get an average 17 miles per gallon, which is exactly the same as the 1912 Model T Ford. In short, what happens is this: when technology is developed that would increase fuel efficiency, huge, monopolistic oil companies, like Halliburton, buy it immediately, and end of story. It will never see the light of day, never be allowed to benefit the public.
10/09/05 - Maglev in Hawaii?
A magnetically levitated train system that travels on air in Japan's fourth-largest city gave Mayor Mufi Hannemann and members of the City Council a look at what could be the future of rail transportation in Honolulu. The train cars hover above -- instead of making contact with -- the rails, as a result of electric current that flows through electromagnets attached to the train cars. With no wheels or rubber tires, and a lack of resistance or friction, the so-called maglev system makes for less maintenance, quieter rides and potentially faster speeds. When the train gets ready to go, it lifts up and hovers about eight millimeters above the rail. "It generates force in a straight line and propels the vehicle forward," said Masaaki Fujino. The trains can maneuver sharper turns and go up steeper grades, and continue to work in different kinds of weather. As a demonstration, Dela Cruz, Apo and Hannemann were asked to push the 54-ton rail car to show how easily the lack of resistance lets it move.
10/09/05 - Paint-on Solar Cells
Imagine being able to paint your roof with enough alternative energy to heat and cool your home. What if soldiers in the field could carry an energy source in a roll of plastic wrap in their backpacks? But both are on the way to becoming reality because of a breakthrough in solar research by a team of scientists from New Mexico State University and Wake Forest University. While traditional solar panels are made of silicon, which is expensive, brittle and shatters like glass, organic solar cells being developed by this team are made of plastic that is relatively inexpensive, flexible, can be wrapped around structures or even applied like paint, said physicist Seamus Curran, head of the nanotechnology laboratory at NMSU. Nanotechnology, or molecular manufacturing, refers to the ability to build things one atom at a time. The relatively low energy efficiency levels produced by organic solar cells have been a drawback. To be effective producers of energy, they must be able to convert 10 percent of the energy in sunlight to electricity. Typical silicon panels are about 12 percent energy conversion efficient. That level of energy conversion has been a difficult reach for researchers on organic solar technology, with many of them hitting about 3 to 4 percent. But the NMSU/Wake Forest team has achieved a solar energy efficiency level of 5.2 percent. "Our expectation is to get beyond 10 percent in the next five years," Curran said. "Our current mix is using polymer and carbon buckyballs (fullerenes) and good engineering from Wake Forest and unique NSOM imaging from NMSU to get to that point."
10/09/05 - Floating homes to beat flooding
The van der Molens are residents in the first neighborhood of amphibious houses. Their home's wood frame and hollow concrete basement look conventional, but its foundation is designed with enough buoyancy to rise with the tide. The structure is balanced, so it won't list, and moored to a post, so it won't drift. Vital services, such as water and electricity, enter through flexible pipes. Says Anna: "I know that I will never have to move again." This 46-home development in the village of Maasbommel is one of those technologies that seem obvious, but that just might solve a global problem. As glaciers melt and sea levels rise, flooding seems sure to worsen-by 2050, according to a U.N. forecast, 2 billion people could be at risk from devastating floods. Leeuwarden, a town 50 miles north of Amsterdam, will soon build 30 floating homes with concrete and Styrofoam foundations on an artificial lagoon linked to the town by canal. Meanwhile, Dura Vermeer, the company behind the Maasbommel project, talks of an amphibious settlement of 50,000 houses.
10/09/05 - Airtight buildings more efficient
U.S. commercial building owners could save substantially on annual heating and cooling energy costs by making buildings more airtight. In Phoenix, the estimated annual cost-savings were 10 percent for two-story building, 16 percent for the retail building and 3 percent for the apartment building, but the savings were higher in colder climates such as Minneapolis, where the predicted energy savings were 37 percent for the office building, 26 percent for the retail building and 33 percent for the apartment building.
10/09/05 - New Russian space retrieval method uses slowfall
Russia has successfully launched a space apparatus that would be used to bring useful cargo back from orbit to Earth, the defense ministry was quoted as saying. "It is expected that in the future it will bring cargo weighing up to several tonnes back from orbit," the machine's constructors said. A number of deflated Demonstrators would be shipped to the International Space Station and then be used to drift down to Earth with attached cargo, constructors said, adding that the nitrogen-inflated apparatus would be protected from the descent's high temperatures by a special flexible heat shielding. Russian craft missing
10/09/05 - Week space vacation for $250,000
It may not sound like a bargain for a week’s vacation, but Tim Reed’s convinced he got a deal for his $250,000. Interorbital CEO and co-founder Randa Milliron said plans call for the Neptune to launch from a pad in the ocean off the California coast. The pilot and four space tourists will spend a week in a low-earth orbit. The tourists, who will train for the flight, will have duties onboard. “Tim’s not just going on vacation, he’ll be part of a working space crew,” she said. The company had been offering 10 of the $250,000 tickets. Interorbital plans to offer future tickets at $2 million each. The deal Reed reached for his ticket also makes him an investor in Astro Expeditions LLC, a company Milliron said would handle bookings and promotions for future flights.
10/09/05 - Space Veggies
Chinese scientists have been growing tomatoes the size of softballs, cucumbers as long as baseball bats and other outsize fruits and vegetables, using seeds that have been shot into space. The seeds are then exposed to seven types of extraterrestrial conditions, from zero gravity and cosmic radiation to subatomic particles. As these space veggies grow back on earth, they are selected for desirable traits-bulk, appearance or certain nutrients-then bred through successive generations to ensure that the mutations are consistent. Chinese scientists don't understand exactly how a trip into space alters the seeds' DNA and yields such effects, but it's not just size that changes. Tong Yichao, whose firm, the Beijing Flying Eagle Green Foods Group, has been sending seeds and seedlings aboard Chinese spacecraft since 1999, says it has grown space tomatoes with 27 percent more of the antioxidant beta carotene than ordinary ones, and six-foot-tall cotton plants that produce longer, more flexible threads. Using conventional methods, "a scientist might create just three new plants in his lifetime," says Tong. "We've developed more than 50 since 1999."
10/08/05 - Jetpod short hop aerial taxis
"Whether they will venture south of the Thames in London after dark is unclear, but the makers of a British designed 'Jetpod' taxi, which they hope to introduce to British cities within five years, insist it will take you to your destination by the shortest route, at 350mph. The developer, Avcen, believes it can offer a flying taxi service which cruises at up to 750ft at little more than the cost of a black cab fare. Due to undergo 'proof of concept' test flights in the next 18 months, the £500,000 Jetpod would be able to travel the 24 miles from London to Woking in four minutes. The new aircraft would travel significantly faster than a helicopter and Avcen believes it could offer a flight from Heathrow to central London for less than £50. Requiring just 125 meters to take off and 300 meters to land, Avcen hopes busy city centers will embrace the jetpod, building elevated runways above harbors, roads and railway tracks to handle arrivals and departures from "park-and-fly" terminals located in the suburbs."
10/08/05 - Coffee grounds burn hotter than wood
"A decade ago Rod Sprules was designing a heated suit for search-and-rescue technicians. He was flipping through a reference book to look up the energy content of propane when he came across an interesting tidbit about coffee. It said coffee grounds release more heat than wood when they're burned...Today the Java-Log, the first fire log made from coffee grounds, has become a hit with the green crowd. It burns brighter and hotter than sawdust logs while producing 85 percent less carbon monoxide than traditional firewood. 'The environmentalist in me wanted to demonstrate that you can make something environmentally friendly and still perform better,' Sprules said." These strange logs lie at the heart of a business model that suggests that products can be both environmentally friendly and commercially viable.
10/08/05 - Archimedes Death Ray proven despite MythBusters
(Shows the incredible power of focused sunlight - JWD) Ancient Greek and Roman historians recorded that during the siege of Syracuse in 212 BC, Archimedes constructed a burning glass to set the Roman warships, anchored within bow and arrow range, afire. The story has been much debated and oft dismissed as myth. To see if it was possible, the MIT crew built a 10+ foot long model ship out of wood and positioned 129 1-foot square mirrors nearby. Flash ignition! In an instant there is a large, open flame. The volatiles liberated from the wood ignite at roughly 1100 F. Open, sustaining flame occurred less than 10 minutes after the sun was in a clear patch of sky!
10/08/05 - Shock waves tear food bugs apart
"Shock waves have been used for the first time to destroy a host of common food bacteria. If the technique can be perfected, it could one day be used instead of pasteurisation to sterilise baby foods, dairy products and fruit juices without spoiling their taste. The process is being developed by Achim Loske and colleagues at the Autonomous University of Mexico’s Centre for Applied Physics and Advanced Technology in Querétaro. Loske subjected vials of bacteria to shock waves in a device called an electrohydraulic generator, which generates shocks with pressures of up to 1000 atmospheres, accompanied by intense flashes of visible and ultraviolet light." The pressure waves cause microscopic air bubbles in the liquid surrounding the bacteria to expand momentarily and then violently collapse - a process known as cavitation - generating small regions of intense heat. This, along with the pressure of the shock wave and the intense pulses of visible and ultraviolet light, are what kill the bacteria. “It’s a combination of compression, cavitation and electromagnetic radiation,” says Loske. At best, populations of bacteria shrank a thousandfold following some 350 shock waves given over 15 minutes. Loske is confident of achieving million-fold reductions, which would be enough to make food safe. “It’s a matter of increasing the shock wave energy and dose, and has been achieved recently in our lab with Listeria monocytogenes,” he says.
10/08/05 - Capitalism will drive space ventures
"Space scientists and entrepreneurs are envisioning much more than tourists taking pictures, and planting flags and footprints, as they plan humanity's off-world future. They also want to mine the solar system for its abundant natural resources to make space travel self-sustaining, and to generate profits for corporations back on Earth. The Cold War between the United States and the USSR drove engineers to work around the clock during the glory days of NASA's Apollo missions. 'But now the spark is global competition,' said Paul Spudis, a planetary scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. 'We could draw on unlimited materials and energy for sustainable space exploration,' said Spudis. 'We will find new worlds, new markets and new growth.'"
10/08/05 - Turkey droppings generate power
"Turkey leftovers will take on a whole new use after a Minnesota company finishes construction of a power plant fired by the birds' droppings. It may not be the total answer to relieving the United States' addiction to foreign oil, but the plant will burn 90 percent turkey dung and create clean power for 55,000 homes. Three poultry litter plants have already been built in England, but the Benson, Minnesota-based facility will be the first large-scale plant of its type in the U.S. and the largest in the world, according to operator Fibrominn, a subsidiary of power plant builder Homeland Renewable Energy, LLC of Boston. Turkey dung is prized over pig excrement and cow chips."
10/07/05 - Sky Sails for boat propulsion
The idea isn't to propel a ship by wind alone - a conventional diesel engine will help it along on days when the wind is blowing from the wrong direction, is too strong or dies away entirely. But since the kite reduces the need to use engines, the team at SkySails believes it can halve the amount of fuel a ship burns. The SkySails kite suffers no such handicap. The idea is to harness the winds higher above the ocean with an inflatable aerofoil - a kite designed to fly at a height of 100 to 500 metres, towing the ship on a cable fastened to the hull. At 500 metres, winds are often stronger and less variable than at sea level, and can differ in direction from those immediately above the waves by 10 to 15 degrees, according to Barry Gromett of the UK's Met Office in Exeter. "Although these differences are not huge they could be really useful," he says. SkySail's aerofoil is designed to maximise thrust whatever the wind conditions Another approach is wind turbine towers. A Danish team came up with an alternative that exploits materials borrowed from the aerospace industry. Using high-performance steel for the masts does away with the need for stays to hold them upright. The sail itself is made of fibreglass, with a profile like an aircraft wing. Flaps on the sail's trailing edge generate extra thrust when extended, but can be retracted to minimise aerodynamic drag - important when using engine power alone. Wind-tunnel tests showed this design to be twice as efficient as the sails on a traditional windjammer. Even more importantly, the sail generates thrust when the ship is sailing close to the wind. Simulations suggest that the vessel will be able to make progress under sail even when the wind is blowing as little as 40 degrees off the bow, which is an excellent performance for a large sailing vessel. With a fresh breeze of 9 metres per second at 100 degrees - blowing only slightly from behind - the sails alone can propel the ship at 13 knots (25 kilometres per hour.)
10/07/05 - Private Spacecraft is a Sign of the Future
The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum accepted the donation Wednesday of SpaceShipOne, the first privately financed vehicle to fly to the brink of space when it won the $10 million Ansari X Prize competition last year. Calling the Russians "better capitalists than we are" for sending tourists willing to pay millions of dollars into space, the spacecraft's designer, Burt Rutan, said he was happy the museum had recognized the importance of their achievement so soon. Johnston, 20, and Davidson, 19, are the chief executive officer and chief financial officer of a Columbia, Md., company, OffWorldWealth Inc. The company is "a project dedicated to creating aerospace solutions to problems faced by the platinum mining industry," according to its Web site. The 3-year-old company with about 20 researchers is looking ahead to the industrialization of space. They are researching the use of robotics in making resources in space available for consumption here on Earth, Johnston said. "I really believe that if we're going to get anywhere in space, we've got to get there privately," Johnston said. "I'm very excited about the privatization of the space industry."
10/07/05 - The Yuck Factor - Cloning vs recombinant DNA
About 80 miles east of Austin, out where the fire ants bite and men still doff their baseball hats when greeting women, 20 cows pregnant with calves cloned by ViaGen Inc. have just arrived. Stampeding down a chute from a tractor trailer, the cattle join a menagerie of cloned pigs and cows that include Elvis and Priscilla, calves cloned from cells scraped from sides of high-quality beef hanging in a slaughterhouse. No law prevents cloned food, but ViaGen has voluntarily withheld its products pending a ruling from the Food and Drug Administration. Over the past three years it has worked to create elite bovine and porcine gene pools that can produce prodigious "milkers," top quality beef cattle and biotech bacon. It has aggressively gobbled up competitors and locked up patents, including the one granted to the creators of Dolly the sheep. All that really stands in ViaGen's way, besides a nod from the FDA, are squeamish consumers and skeptical food producers. "The National Milk Producers Federation does not at this time support milk from cloned cows entering the marketplace until FDA determines that milk from cloned cows is the same as milk from conventionally bred animals," said Chris Galen, a spokesman for the trade group, which represents the $23 billion dairy industry. But biotech companies run into what bioethicists call the "yuck factor" when they begin tinkering with animals. An application to market salmon genetically engineered with genes from other fish to grow faster has been formally pending with the FDA for more than two years. That's why ViaGen insists that its work has nothing to do with combining the genetic material of two different species. It likens it to now common reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization and artificial insemination. So there are no guarantees that the cloned calf Elvis will yield the top highest quality beef _ the USDA's "prime yield 1" designation _ that gave him his life, but it certainly increases the odds he will produce prime meat. As it stands, "prime yield 1" ratings come along once every 12,000 cows.
10/07/05 - Information Overload leads to apathy - Gore holds up the mirror
I came here today because I believe that American democracy is in grave danger. It is no longer possible to ignore the strangeness of our public discourse . I know that I am not the only one who feels that something has gone basically and badly wrong in the way America's fabled "marketplace of ideas" now functions. How many of you, I wonder, have heard a friend or a family member in the last few years remark that it's almost as if America has entered "an alternate universe"? The OJ Trial was an early example of a new pattern of serial obsessions that periodically take over the airwaves for weeks at a time. If the gap between rich and poor is widening steadily and economic stress is mounting for low-income families, why do we seem increasingly apathetic and lethargic in our role as citizens? Some extremely important elements of American Democracy have been pushed to the sidelines . And the most prominent casualty has been the "marketplace of ideas" that was so beloved and so carefully protected by our Founders. It effectively no longer exists. It is not that we no longer share ideas with one another about public matters; of course we do. But the "Public Forum" in which our Founders searched for general agreement and applied the Rule of Reason has been grossly distorted and "restructured" beyond all recognition. And here is my point: it is the destruction of that marketplace of ideas that accounts for the "strangeness" that now continually haunts our efforts to reason together about the choices we must make as a nation. The news divisions - which used to be seen as serving a public interest and were subsidized by the rest of the network - are now seen as profit centers designed to generate revenue and, more importantly, to advance the larger agenda of the corporation of which they are a small part. The present executive branch has made it a practice to try and control and intimidate news organizations: from PBS to CBS to Newsweek. Among the other factors damaging our public discourse in the media, the imposition by management of entertainment values on the journalism profession has resulted in scandals, fabricated sources, fictional events and the tabloidization of mainstream news. As recently stated by Dan Rather - who was, of course, forced out of his anchor job after angering the White House - television news has been "dumbed down and tarted up." Notice what is not on: the global climate crisis, the nation's fiscal catastrophe, the hollowing out of America's industrial base, and a long list of other serious public questions that need to be addressed by the American people.
10/07/05 - Nano chemical ribbons - lighter than a feather, stronger than steel
The development could lead to a host of high-tech applications that scientists have dreamed of but haven't had an easy way to create: futuristic clothes that light up, store energy or blunt bullets; car doors that are ultra light and extra strong and double as batteries to store solar energy; flexible, filmy light bulbs that are thinner than a human hair; artificial muscles for robots; and solar sails to propel space vehicles. A report describing the chemical ribbons, created from tiny carbon tubes barely visible to the human eye, appears in Friday's issue of the journal Science. The ribbons are created from carbon nanotubes, filaments about one-five-thousandth the width of a human hair. At the atomic level, the nanotubes look like cylinders of chicken wire. Because the nanotubes, like diamonds, are made entirely of carbon, they are extraordinarily strong. They also conduct electricity. Making the ribbons is quite simple, Baughman said. The UTD scientists started with a "forest" of nanotube trees, about one-third of a millimeter high. Then they stuck a Post-It note to one edge of the forest and gently pulled away. The nanotube trees were drawn out, and as the researchers kept pulling, the trees stuck to each other side by side, forming a long, wispy and transparent sheet. Sheets more than a meter long, about 2 inches wide, and less than one-thousandth the width of a human hair can be pulled in less than a minute, by hand in the lab, Baughman said. The process easily could be industrialized, he said.
10/07/05 - Black Silicon to efficiently trap light
In 1999, when researchers used laser pulses to etch the surface of silicon, the most common substance used in electronic devices, they created a material that efficiently traps light. Called black silicon, it holds amazing potential for efficiently converting sunlight to electricity, for communicating by light, and for monitoring the environment for evidence of pollution and global warming. Now, further experiments reveal that, when placed in a strong electric field, black silicon also emits electrons with surprising efficiency. Since many electronic devices depend on beams of electrons to operate, the new discovery is sparking intense interest over its possible commercial applications. Black silicon was serendipitously discovered by a group led by Eric Mazur, Harvard College Professor and Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics. Mazur's team was investigating what kinds of new chemistry might occur when lasers shine on different materials. One day, the experimenters put a chip of gray silicon into a vacuum chamber, added some gas, and bombarded it with ultra-short laser pulses, just to see what would happen. The silicon turned black, and its surface became etched into a dazzling forest of minute, needlelike spires. Light shone on the surface of black silicon bounces back and forth between the spikes in such a way that most of it never comes back out. Anything that absorbs light that well should make an excellent solar cell for converting sunlight into electricity. Mazur and his colleagues are pursing this possibility with a Norwegian company called Scanwafer, the world's largest maker of solar cells. The spiky silicon also absorbs infrared radiation (heat) in a way that would make it an excellent detector of pollutants, toxic chemicals, and human bodies.
10/07/05 - Super Water to kill bacteria and speed healing
"A California company has figured out how to use two simple materials -- water and salt -- to create a solution that wipes out single-celled organisms, and which appears to speed healing of burns, wounds and diabetic ulcers. The solution looks, smells and tastes like water, but carries an ion imbalance that makes short work of bacteria, viruses and even hard-to-kill spores. Developed by Oculus Innovative Sciences in Petaluma, the super-oxygenated water is claimed to be as effective a disinfectant as chlorine bleach, but is harmless to people, animals and plants. If accidentally ingested by a child, the likely impact is a bad case of clean teeth. Oculus said the solution, called Microcyn, may prove effective in the fight against superbugs, crossover viruses like bird flu and Ebola, and bioterrorism threats such as anthrax." Physicians in Mexico using Microcyn observed rapid healing of burns and ulcers that the body could not repair for a decade or more because of infections, said Dr. Andres Gutierrez, head of the cell-therapy unit at the National Institute of Rehabilitation in Mexico City and an adviser to Oculus. the ion-hungry water creates an osmotic potential that ruptures the cell walls of single-celled organisms, and out leaks the cell's cytoplasm. Because multicellular organisms -- people, animals, plants -- are tightly bound, the water is prevented from surrounding the cells, and there is no negative impact.
10/07/05 - George, go....Bush states what drives him
George Bush has claimed he was on a mission from God when he launched the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a senior Palestinian politician in an interview to be broadcast by the BBC later this month, writes Ewen MacAskill. Mr Bush revealed the extent of his religious fervour when he met a Palestinian delegation during the Israeli-Palestinian summit at the Egpytian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, four months after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. One of the delegates, Nabil Shaath, who was Palestinian foreign minister at the time, said: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I am driven with a mission from God'. God would tell me, 'George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan'. And I did. And then God would tell me 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq'. And I did." 7 billion/month - 570 billion by 2010, Realtime tabulator showing Cost of War
10/07/05 - Heart turbocharger to increase flow and pressure
"A New Zealand patient has become the first to be treated for heart failure with a new turbocharger pumping aid. The implant, called a C-pulse, consists of a balloon that inflates after each heart beat to squeeze the blood in the main blood vessel that exits the heart. The battery-powered device deflates again and the cycle continues, boosting blood flow around the body. The 56-year-old man fitted with the turbocharger earlier this month is doing well, said New Scientist. The team from Auckland City Hospital have approval to operate on five more patients with moderate heart failure as part of a pilot study. After three months, they will use questionnaires to check whether the treatment has improved the patients' quality of life and use ultrasound scans to monitor whether the device has improved their ailing hearts." "For many years doctors have used balloons inserted inside the main artery of the body, the aorta, to assist failing hearts. "The technique used in New Zealand is based on a similar principle, but doesn't require anything to be introduced inside the aorta. "Instead, by being wrapped around the aorta, the C-Pump compresses it from outside, in effect forming a second pump in series with the heart. "However, it remains to be seen whether the aorta can withstand this mechanical stress over a long period of time. "And, as the authors point out, any device that uses internal wires attached to batteries outside the body will be at risk of serious infection."
10/07/05 - Life might not be what we think it is
Life, like dark matter, is another form of energy that spans across the parallel Universes. The energy is hierarchical, interconnected and hovers around many more dimensions than the four dimensions we are familiar with. In simple words, a life in earth may be actually interconnected with many other lives which are renewed and span across multidimensional parallel Universes. This new form of energy is interconnected, distributed and spans across the Universes. That means you may be living in multiple Universes at the same time. This also means all or some human beings are connected to each other. All the souls together form a Union just like all the cells in our bodies form a Union called a 'human being.' Simply put, this theory says earth and every planetary body that has energy fields associated with it like gravity and geomagnetism are actually alive. (More on this idea of the blending of fields to produce intelligence from one of my favorite articles at 'The Poltergeist Machine' - JWD)
10/07/05 - Global warming effects unstoppable due to lag in the oceans
Even if humans stop burning oil and coal tomorrow-not likely-we've already spewed enough greenhouse gases into the atmosphere to cause temperatures to warm and sea levels to rise for at least another century. Meehl co-authored one of the Science studies. He and his colleagues found that even if no more greenhouse gases are added to the atmosphere, globally averaged air surface temperatures will rise about 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.5 degree Celsius) and global sea levels will rise at least 4.3 inches (11 centimeters) by 2100. The sea level rise estimate is conservative, because the models Meehl and colleagues used only account for thermal expansion-water expands as it warms, causing sea levels to rise. Melting glaciers and ice sheets will likely at least double the sea level rise.
10/07/05 - Plasmonic invisibility
Electronic engineers at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia are researching a device they say could make objects "nearly invisible to an observer." The contrivance works by preventing light from bouncing off the surface of an object, causing the object to appear so small it all but disappears. The proposed cloaking device would not require any peripheral attachments (such as antennas or computer networks) and would reduce visibility no matter what angle an object is viewed at. The concept is based on a "plasmonic cover," which is a means to prevent light from scattering. (It is light bouncing off an object that makes it visible to an observer). The cover would stop light from scattering by resonating at the same frequency as the light striking it. If such a device could cope with different wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation (including visible light), in theory, the object would vanish into thin air. Alú and Engheta investigated experimental plasmonic covers that incorporated metals, such as gold and silver, to hide visible light.
When light strikes a metallic material, waves of electrons, called plasmons, are generated. The engineers found that when the frequency of the light striking the material matched the frequency of the plasmons, the two frequencies act to cancel each other out. The researchers' studies show that spherical and cylindrical objects coated with plasmonic shielding material produce very little light scattering. These objects, when hit by the right wavelength of light, were seen to become so small that they were almost invisible. It would be still more difficult to devise shields that could cope with all wavelengths of the visible spectrum-from red to violet light-and not just a single color. Types of invisibility shielding previously proposed by scientists depend on advanced camouflage systems, rather than objects being made to look undetectably tiny. Such systems involve light sensors that create a mirror image of the background scene on the concealed object.
10/06/05 - Flying Scooter
(Looks like the rear tires would have to be changed to make it roadworthy, but....I WANT ONE! - JWD) It’s the ultimate way to beat traffic jams. Just take off and fly over them. A new $19,800 product called the Flite Bike kit transforms a Honda Reflex scooter into a flying motorcycle. The kit includes a custom Flite Bike airframe, ram-air powered parachute canopy wing and a 65-hp Rotax 582 liquid-cooled 2-cycle aircraft engine with a 4-blade composite prop. The assembled unit can carry the whole 550-pound Flight Bike assembly - not to mention a 250 pound pilot and - enough fuel to fly 2.5 hours. The company claims the rig represents “the world’s first roadable powered parachute.”
10/06/05 - Gas tax proposed for fuel sold on tribal land
At issue is whether the state of Kansas can tax distributors who sell fuel to a gas station owned and operated by the Prairie Band Potawatomi tribe. Gamblers driving to the tribe's casino 15 miles north of Topeka, Kan., often stop for gas at the reservation's "Nation Station." The Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the tax violated tribal sovereignty even though it was not directly imposed on the tribe. A lawyer for the state argued Monday that Kansas is not trying to regulate tribal activity, but is simply taxing non-Indian companies, based outside the reservation, that distribute fuel to tribal operators. All the tax money goes to keeping up state roads used by Kansas drivers on their way to the casino. The tribe asserts that it collects its own taxes on the fuel to help maintain the reservation's road system, recognized as one of the worst in the nation. Allowing the state to impose a fuel tax runs contrary to federal policy encouraging economic development on tribal lands, said Ian Gershengorn, lawyer for the tribe. The power of states to tax activity on Indian reservations has long been a source of conflict between states and Indian tribes. As more businesses move onto reservations, states have tried to stem the loss of revenue.
10/06/05 - Businesses criticize negative impacts of Patriot Act
The business groups complained to Congress on Wednesday that the Patriot Act makes it too easy for the government to get confidential business records. In the first organized criticism of the act from the business sector, these groups endorsed amendments that would require investigators to say how the information they seek is linked to individual suspected terrorists or spies, and would allow businesses to challenge the requests in courts and to speak publicly about those requests. "Confidential files, records about our customers or our employees, as well as our trade secrets and other proprietary information, can too easily be obtained and disseminated under investigative powers expanded by the Patriot Act," six business groups wrote in a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa. "These new powers lack sufficient checks and balances." Among the signers were the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which represents 3 million businesses; the National Association of Manufacturers, which represents large and small industrialists in every state; and the National Association of Realtors, with 1 million members. All three are regulars on Fortune magazine's list of nation's 25 most powerful lobbying outfits. While calling the Patriot Act "an important tool that has helped keep our country safe," the groups expressed concern over "the expensive and time-consuming burden that compliance with document requests from the government places upon affected businesses."
10/06/05 - How does a heat pump work?
In a refrigerator you take some liquid that evaporates easily (usually a gas compressed into liquid form) and let it evaporate next to the thing that you want to have cooled. Evaporating means that molecules of the liquid take heat from the thing to be cooled in order to boil away and escape. So far this is just like the cooling from sweating, or the cool feeling of alcohol evaporating from your skin. A refrigerator catches the gas and compresses it back into a liquid. This compression produces heat which is carried away by the coils on the back of the refrigerator, and that is why they are warm. The liquid is carried to the place to be cooled and the cycle repeats.
10/06/05 - Suziki's Fuel Cell Minivan
Suzuki will introduce two fresh concepts at the Tokyo Motor Show this month: the P.X, a funky, retro-style, three-row minivan, and the Ionis, a mini-MPV fuel-cell concept designed for today's ecologically aware. Seating six, the P.X has three rows. But with the second row stowed, third-row passengers can stretch out. Power is delivered by a 2.0-liter gas engine. The Ionis shows how eco-virtuous cars, even as small as this - 134 inches long - are changing. It matches its super-green fuel cell with an electric motor powertrain - driving the front wheels - to an upscale designer interior with swish aluminum-and-leather seats.
10/06/05 - Flock - the Social Browser
"Flock's browser is built specifically for a new, emerging generation of Web users, one that isn't satisfied passively browsing media online. Flock hopes to turn the browser into a dashboard for collaborating, blogging, sharing photos, reveling in a raft of other group activities that have recently caught fire online."
10/06/05 - Pester Power - Scratch cards and prizes to encourage recycling
Scratch cards, prize draws and discount vouchers are to be offered in scores of new schemes to get people recycling more of their rubbish. But can bribing people with the chance to win really cut the amount of junk thrown into landfill sites. Lancashire County Council is giving each of 100,000 householders in the scheme's area a chance to win instant money prizes on free scratch cards.
And primary school children in the county and neighbouring Cumbria will be rewarded with an MP3 player for getting the most recycling pledges in their school from friends and family. "If people knew it took ten times the amount of energy to manufacture a new aluminium can as it does recycle an old one they might be more likely to recycle it."
10/06/05 - $100,000 Prize for new job ideas
The contest sponsored by the Service Employees International Union is seeking ideas on how to help the economy grow, encourage existing companies to expand and create well-paying jobs. The winning idea will be worth $100,000 and two runners-up will claim prizes of $50,000 each. "In Washington, D.C., we are still living in the last century in an industrial revolution," Stern said. "India and China are in overdrive and America is in neutral." The contest entries should outline, in 175 words or less, a problem or issue, how it should be fixed, and how fixing it will benefit working men and women.
10/06/05 - Stirling water generator and purifier for +/- $1000
The basic design behind Kamen's generator is nothing new. It uses Kamen's version of a Stirling engine, which works as air heated in one chamber expands and moves a piston. The air cycles between hot and cool chambers, keeping the piston moving. Any fuel source can be burned to heat the engine from the outside. In the villages outside Dakha, propane is available, but only sporadically, according to Quadir. Instead, the local entrepreneur gathered cow dung, put it in a bio-digester, and harvested the resulting gases. Bangladesh's national electrical grid is unreliable, and doesn't even extend into the villages where the generator was tested. The trial showed that under these conditions, villagers were willing to pay twice the cost of grid power for juice from Kamen's generator. Kamen believes that it may be possible to manufacture his generators, given enough orders, for $1,000, excluding marketing and distribution costs. The design concept behind the water purifier, like the Stirling engine, is nothing new: it works by heating and distilling water. What does make it unique is its efficiency -- the generator reclaims about 98% of the heat normally lost in the distillation process and reuses it to distill more water, Kamen says. Running continuously on a few hundred watts of power, a single purifier should provide enough water for a village of 100 people, Kamen estimates. And it can purify water from any source, regardless of what contaminants it might contain. That rules out the need for quality testing or specialized treatment.
10/06/05 - The Right to Protest criminalized in England
The students were hoping to persuade the researchers not to sell their work. They were in the theatre for three minutes. As the judge conceded, they tried neither to intimidate anyone nor to stop the conference from proceeding.
They were prosecuted under the 1994 Criminal Justice Act, passed when Michael Howard was the Conservative home secretary. But the university was able to use it only because Labour amended the act in 2003 to ensure that it could be applied anywhere, rather than just "in the open air". Had Mr Wolfgang said "nonsense" twice during the foreign secretary's speech, the police could have charged him under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. Harassment, the act says, "must involve conduct on at least two occasions ... conduct includes speech". In 2001 the peace campaigners Lindis Percy and Anni Rainbow were prosecuted for causing "harassment, alarm or distress" to American servicemen at the Menwith Hill military intelligence base in Yorkshire, by standing at the gate holding the Stars and Stripes and a placard reading "George W Bush? Oh dear!" In Hull a protester was arrested under the act for "staring at a building". Had Mr Wolfgang said "nonsense" to one of the goons who dragged him out of the conference, he could have been charged under section 125 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, which came into force in August. Section 125 added a new definition of harassment to the 1997 act, "a course of conduct ... which involves harassment of two or more persons". What this means is that you need only address someone once to be considered to be harassing them, as long as you have also addressed someone else in the same manner. This provision, in other words, can be used to criminalise any protest anywhere.
10/05/05 - Clean car, Clean Fuel?
A team of scientists from the Gas Technology Institute in Des Plaines, Ill., are trying to invent a very tough, yet permeable, membrane with which to extract hydrogen from gasified wood chips and cornstalks. The system would do this midway through the gasification process, instead of at the end of the pipe, saving considerable time and energy. The expected result: hydrogen that costs 20 to 40 percent less to produce than today's product and roughly in line with Department of Energy goals for 2010. Best of all, the fuel would come from biomass, making it clean, renewable, and 100 percent American. The effects could be huge. In Minnesota alone, where Lau's team is at work outside Duluth, hydrogen made from forest and mill residue, agricultural waste, and energy crops like switch grass could replace 89 percent of the state's gasoline needs, according to a February study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo. Hydrogen might be created in other ways: through electrolysis, for example, with electricity harnessed from nuclear plants, solar panels, or wind generators.
10/05/05 - MicroCab Eco-Car
A university lecturer has produced a taxi-type vehicle called Microcab - and its only emission is water vapour. The vehicle can hold a driver and three passengers, has a maximum speed of 30mph and does around 150 miles to the gallon of hydrogen. John Jostins, a senior lecturer in design and digital media at Coventry University, has been working on the ultra-light taxi-type vehicle for eight years. He said: "My passion is developing alternative fuels to reduce noise pollution and improve air quality in cities. "Microcab is completely silent and its only emission is water vapour. It could be the answer to the environmental and cost problems associated with oil." The MicroCab's construction keeps power used to an absolute minimum. The current prototype is battery/electric and can be specified with solar roof. It features regenerative braking, carbon/epoxy (Formula 1 style) construction and all LED lighting. Onboard hydrogen detector. Weight 551lbs, maximum speed 30mph (45kph), range 100 miles (160km), operated by scooter like handlebar and lever controls.
10/05/05 - History of Incentive Prizes to facilitate invention and record breaking
The idea of offering cash rewards for technological innovation goes back to a time long before humans took flight. In the 1700s, governments awarded prizes for inventions of military importance - a chronometer that would keep warships from getting lost at sea, or a food preservation technique suitable for the battlefield. But the concept had its heyday in the early 1900s, when aviation was just getting its start. Well-heeled enthusiasts and newspaper publishers offered thousands of dollars for "firsts" ranging from a short hop in an airplane to trans-Atlantic odysseys. “The idea of offering cash rewards for technological innovations goes back to a time long before humans took flight.” The recent $10 million X Prize for private-sector spaceflight is a direct descendant of the $25,000 Orteig Prize, which was won by trans-Atlantic solo aviator Charles Lindbergh.
10/05/05 - Energy Hog Conservation program
The White House is leading by example. Last week, air conditioning units were turned down, staff were told to turn off photocopiers and computers before going home and there are even discussions about installing racks for bicycles and motorbikes. George Bush also sent out orders directing all government employees to cut back on nonessential travel, and encouraged them to carpool, telecommute and use buses or the subway. Tomorrow, the administration will launch a national effort to persuade Americans to switch to light bulbs that use less electricity. Nearly a fifth of US home electricity demand is for lighting. Every campaign needs an inspirational figure so the Bush administration will be turning to a cartoon figure,
the Energy Hog, a pig wearing blue jeans and a leather jacket who can suck the energy out of your home faster than you can say: "Why did the lights go out Mom?"
10/05/05 - GM on track with fuel cell research
Despite the immediate funding difficulties, Burns says he is more confident than ever that General Motors can meet its self-imposed target of producing a fuel-cell vehicle that matches an internal combustion engine on cost (about $50 per kilowatt of power), durability and performance by 2010. "Sequel will have a range of 300 miles, with 0-60mph acceleration of under 10 seconds," he says. "We know we have the durability from submarine uses of fuel cells, which have got to 10,000 hours of maintenance-free operation". Crucially, GM has made further advances since Sequel's specification was fixed. "Sequel is two-year-old technology," says Burns. "We had several breakthroughs last year that have increased our fuel cell's power density by a further 50 per cent, which means in seven years we've managed to increase power density by 14 times." Burns is also confident that liquid hydrogen rather than pressurised hydrogen gas could be the storage medium of the future. "We've managed to get 700 bar gaseous storage for Sequel," he says, "which is the equivalent of 16 gallons of gas [petrol], but the spun carbon-fibre tanks are very expensive and complex." Liquid hydrogen is denser than gas, but has to be stored in bulky cryogenic tanks and eventually evaporates. He's confident that new entrepreneurial-driven methods of producing the gas, including harnessing relative temperature changes in the ocean to electrolyse water, and electricity-producing photovoltaic cells, will deliver enough hydrogen to get the cost down to about $2 to $5 per kilo; it's currently 1.3 times that.
10/05/05 - Jetpacks closer to consumer availability (pay article)
BY DAY Stuart Ross is an airline pilot. By night he dreams of flying. The sort of flight he has in mind is a million miles from his daily routine: no air traffic control, no passengers and definitely no wings. He dreams of leaping into the air from a standing start, jumping clear over his house, halting motionless hundreds of metres up to admire the view and then descending gracefully back onto his lawn. Ross is tantalisingly close to that goal. He has spent two years and £50,000 building his own shiny jetpack. Along the way, he has scorched his clothes and garden with a fuel so unstable that in a recent accident it turned a section of the UK's busiest motorway into a blazing inferno. And he has almost broken his neck. But at last he's nearly ready to step outside and take to the air.
10/05/05 - Many prefer living alone for personal growth
Several years ago, the society was inclined to feel pity towards single men and women. It was believed that a woman would risk to remain an old maid if she did not marry in time. And the society liked to warn single men of unhappy old age coming when there will be nobody by their side to take care of them. People say that being single is advantageous indeed. This first of all allows to experience something new, to travel a lot, have much fun and succeed in career. Women often appreciate the advantages too much and will not marry to change the happy life for an unhappy family routine. That is why many women today prefer to stay alone. They are career-focused, successful and happy people. In England, 48 percent of the population are single and feel absolutely happy because of it. At the same time, Japan is really anxious because of the problem: the population is speedily decreasing because Japanese prefer to remain single and have little children. Even married Japanese have sex not more than once a month and may have no children at all. The single way of living is not ultimate for many people. Often, these successful people decide to have families and children by the age of 40 when they have traveled a lot and have wonderful careers. Such marriages are often very stable because spouses are as a rule self-confident and successful people who do not need to prove anything to each other.
Schemes to Control the Weather Clouded by Failure
Scientists agree they can't totally control the weather. But some experts think they can tame it a bit. Schemes are wide-ranging, with proposals to throttle everything from fog to global warming. Results have been mixed and the controversy constant. Nature's most powerful storms, hurricanes, are another matter. Hurricanes rely on warm water for fuel. Experts disavow schemes from ocean plowing (to cool the water and remove the energy source) to dragging icebergs into the path of a storm. One idea floated a few years back was to beam microwave energy from a satellite to disrupt the convection that drives a tornado. Another idea that remains alive after decades of research is cloud-seeding to increase or decrease rain, fog or hail in certain locations.
10/05/05 - Humor a sign of 'good intellect'
U.S. scientist Igor Krishtafovich discovered a formula of laughter. He came to Moscow to spread the formula among his former compatriots. As it turned out, humor is a weapon. Igor Krishtafovich is confident that humor always implies aggression. "It is a bloodless verbal fight aiming to raise your status and strengthen your position. Even a friendly banter is a sort of intellectual clash, a kind of training before serious battles. In fact, we try to figure out who's the boss in the family when we poke fun at our loved ones," says Mr. Krishtafovich. "A sense of humor is a strong male quality. It is a sign of good intellect. Evolution stakes precisely on the intellect since a smart fellow has more chances of survival. That is why a sense of humor can be a much bigger sign of masculinity than the pumped-up muscles. Needless to say, I'm talking about the subconscious level of perception."
10/05/05 - Ronnie Barkers' best
(If you are a fan of Britcoms Arkwright in 'Open All Hours,' you'll know and mourn the loss of Ronnie Barker, here are some of his best gags. - JWD) "The man who invented the zip fastener was today honoured with a lifetime peerage. He will now be known as the Lord of the Flies." "Have you heard the one about the retired general who said he had not had sex since 1956? His friend said, 'That's a long time ago.' 'I don't know,' the general replied. 'It's only 20.27 now." "Next week we'll be investigating rumours that the president of the dairy council has become a Mason, and goes around giving his colleagues the secret milkshake."
10/05/05 - Tissue zaps cold & flu virii to keep them from spreading
A TISSUE that is claimed to kill 99.9 per cent of cold and flu viruses has been developed. Makers Kleenex say that within 15 minutes of a sneeze it zaps nearly all the 15,000 germs held in a hanky - and so stops them spreading. The three-ply tissue is impregnated with citric acid and the common chemical sodium lauryl sulphate. These work together to destroy the “overcoat” of a virus which allows it to exist outside the body for 24 hours.
10/05/05 - Marshmallows for sore throat
The juice of the marshmallow plant could be the latest treatment for dry coughs and sore throats. It's thought the plant works on coughs by encouraging the loosening of mucus and catarrh from the lungs. In the throat, it works by coating tissue and protecting it against any infection. One clinical trial in the early Nineties showed it was more effective than two out of three commonly used cough mixtures. Cooled marshmallow root tea is a popular remedy for inflamed skin or mouth irritations. And the shrub has been used to treat heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome and constipation. Although marshmallow juice is harmless, some studies suggest it can slow the rate at which the body absorbs other drugs. Animal studies suggest it can lower blood sugar levels, which could interfere with treatments for diabetes. "In the throat, it works by coating tissue and protecting it against any infection. The reason why cough medicines tend to be thick and sticky is so that they linger longer in the throat. "The longer it takes to go down, the greater the effect on the lungs. It's basically the same with marshmallow." Berger recommends swallowing capsules whole for stomach problems, but cracking them open and drinking the liquid on its own or added to tea for sore throats and coughs.
10/05/05 - Strategic control, by the book
Jamie Hailer is supplying America's military leaders and intelligence specialists with expertise on dealing with global terrorism from the comfort of his home near downtown St. Petersburg. Hailer's best seller is a 40-year-old work on counterinsurgency written by a French army officer who served in China, Southeast Asia and Algeria. Since starting his company as a sideline in March, Hailer has sold about 2,400 copies of David Galula's Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice to everyone from intel experts to generals-in-training. "It's the only book I'd found which takes strategic-level goals and links them to what soldiers on the ground have to do," Newton said of the book, written in 1964 while Galula was on a fellowship at Harvard. "You read it and scratch your head and say, "He got it right."' Hailer decided to make his first reprint effort the Galula book because a retired CIA officer told ITP's readers to "run - not walk - to the Pentagon library and get in line" for the book, which he considered "a primer for how to win in Iraq."
10/04/05 - Claims of Organically constructed nano-antennas to boost energy
With this dual patch system, nothing enters the body. Unlike many products, there are no chemicals, drugs, or other harmful products entering the body. Testing by 2 national regulatory bodies confirm that nothing enters the body. Clinical and university studies show an average 35-40% increase in energy, performance and stamina. Two of the characteristic effects that consistently are produced in individuals who wear LifeWave patches are an immediate and physically demonstrable increase in energy and stamina that occurs within minutes of placing the patches on the body. Formal double-blind placebo controlled studies were conducted at a large Division One University in June-July 2003 using both Flat Bench Press (225lb.) and Push-Up studies by Coach Richard Shaughnessy as the principal investigator. In the Flat Bench Press study the athletes in the test group who wore the patch had a 43.2% increase in strength performance. In a Push-up study the college athletes averaged up to 54% more push-ups in their third repetition set while wearing the patches.
10/04/05 - Oats Beta-Glucan as key to beating aging process naturally
Beta-glucan is the soluble fiber found in the cell walls of oat kernels. Oat has a long history of safe use in providing fast, temporary relief of itching and pain associated with minor skin irritations, has reported to improve the appearance of smoother skin and has helped wound healing. But it has been long believed that such a large molecule as beta glucan was too big to penetrate the skin. In this paper, Redmond and his co-authors describe using beta glucan-specific tracking dyes to show the skin penetration did take place. "Interestingly, the glucan penetrates in the same way that water penetrates a brick wall--it does not go through the brick, it goes through the concrete binding the bricks together," says Redmond. "As a result of our study, we now know that glucan works through the inter-cellular lipid matrix, or the cells' cement, to enter the lower levels of the skin. Of medical significance is the fact that beta glucan creams promote wound healing and reduction in scaring following surgical procedures." Ceapro has also discovered that beta glucan can be used as a transdermal delivery system to feed drugs and other compounds into the skin. This development may lead to new and better ways of delivering such medicines as antihistamines and pain relievers.
10/04/05 - Noah's Ark for seeds
"The Noah's Ark idea becomes much more critical when we get to threatened flora." In fact, about 300 of the 800 seeds are from rare or threatened species. After being collected across Tasmania in coming years, they will be stored in two "Noah's Ark" sites. Half of the seeds will be kept at a new seed bank at Hobart's Royal Tasmanian Botanic Gardens, the other half at the Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst Place in West Sussex, England. There the seeds will be dried, sealed in packages and stored for potentially hundreds of years in freezers at -20C. Mr Harris says the deal is part of Kew's $70 million global Millennium Seed Bank project, which aims to collect and conserve 24,000 plant species from around the world by 2010. The bank is an insurance against the loss of species in the wild.
10/04/05 - 48 volt Ultracapacitor challenges Batteries for storage
"In addition to meeting or exceeding demanding transportation and industrial application requirements for both watt-hours of energy storage and watts of power delivery per kilogram, these products will perform reliably for more than one million discharge-recharge cycles." Smith said. "The proprietary material science on which they are based also significantly reduces manufacturing cost, positioning Maxwell to achieve our stated goal of pricing large cell ultracapacitors at one cent per farad in multi-million-cell annual volumes." "ISE introduced ultracapacitor-based drive systems to the heavy vehicle market because they deliver longer operational life and higher braking energy recapture efficiency, resulting in lower fuel consumption and emissions compared with battery-based systems," Mazaika said. BOOSTCAP ultracapacitors deliver up to 10 times the power and longevity of batteries, require no maintenance and operate reliably in extreme temperatures. In transportation applications, they efficiently recapture energy from braking for reuse in hybrid drive trains, reducing fuel consumption and emissions.
10/04/05 - Energy Department Kicks Off Conservation Campaign
(And what about finding alternative fuels? Conserving isn't the primary answer in my opinion. - JWD) The department will create radio and T-V public service announcements to remind Americans to conserve and give tips on how to cut back on energy and save money. Samuel Bodman, Energy Secretary: "There are substantial savings that can be made, for example in driving an automobile when one reduces the speed that one is driving from 65 to 55, you can save up to 10 percent on gasoline mileage."
10/04/05 - Time to evacuate the coasts for good?
The idea that much of the coast is dangerous and getting more so is not new. Coastal scientists have been saying for years that global warming will threaten coastal areas with higher seas and more powerful storms, and that a hurricane lull that began in the mid-1960's will eventually give way to the far more dangerous pattern of storms that prevailed in the 1930's, 40's and 50's. Since then, though, development has transformed the nation's shoreline, especially on the east and gulf coasts. By last year, when four hurricanes crossed the state of Florida in a matter of weeks, it was clear the lull had ended. This year, Hurricanes Katrina, Ophelia and Rita drove the hazard lesson home. "Spending hundreds of millions of dollars to rebuild a city that puts it in harm's way once again and relying on technology such as higher dikes and levees seems to me a very dangerous strategy," the more so in an era of global warming. "We are getting these lifetime storms every couple of years," said Riley G. Hoggard, a resource management specialist at the Gulf Islands National Seashore, where the road to Fort Pickens, on Santa Rosa Island here, has been washed out and rebuilt three times in the last year. "Maybe we need to get into a program of orderly retreat."
In recent decades, people have been doing just the opposite. According to the Census Bureau, 87 million people, nearly a third of the nation's population, live on or near the Atlantic or gulf coasts.
10/04/05 - Religion is society's biggest threat
Religious belief can cause damage to a society, contributing towards high murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide, according to research published yesterday. The study says belief in and worship of God are not only unnecessary for a healthy society, but may actually contribute to social problems.
It counters the view of believers that religion is necessary to provide the moral and ethical foundations of a healthy society. Published in the Journal of Religion and Society, a US academic journal, it says: "Many Americans agree that their churchgoing nation is an exceptional, God-blessed, shining city on the hill that stands as an impressive example for an increasingly sceptical world. "In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies. The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so." "The non-religious, pro-evolution democracies contradict the dictum that a society cannot enjoy good conditions unless most citizens ardently believe in a moral creator," he says. "The widely held fear that a godless citizenry must experience societal disaster is therefore refuted."
10/04/05 - Opening a cardboard box could be agreeing to a contract
A recent decision in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reinforced the right of companies, in this case Lexmark International, the printer maker, to legally limit what customers can do with a patented product, given that the company spells out conditions and restrictions on a package label known as a box-top license. Clickable license agreements are common practice in software, where the buyer agrees not to tamper with the code or copy the program. But slapping postsale regulations on patented goods could deny buyers the ability to make modifications or seek repairs on other products as well. Lexmark's packaging for laser cartridges sold under this system (called the Lexmark Cartridge Rebate, or the Prebate program) includes a label on the outside of the box stating: "Opening this package or using the patented cartridge inside confirms your acceptance of the following license agreement." Mr. von Lohmann gave several hypothetical examples of how box-top licenses could be used, including automobile manufacturers who might put a label on a new car stating that by opening the door for the first time, the new owner agreed to use only the manufacturer's replacement parts and to avoid modifying the car. "Owners of patents would love to be able to control what you can do with a product after you buy it," he said. "That's new. The rule for most of a century has been, 'You buy it, you own it.'
10/03/05 - Energy Harvesting Chips
State-of-the-art micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) generators and transducers can be such self-renewing sources, extracting energy from vibrations, thermal gradients, and light.1 The energy extracted from these sources is stored in chip-compatible, rechargeable batteries such as thin-film lithium ion, which powers the loading application (e.g., sensor, etc.) via a regulator circuit.2 Since harvested energy manifests itself in irregular, random, low energy "bursts," a power-efficient, discontinuous, intermittent charger is required to transfer the energy from the sourcing devices to the battery. Energy that is typically lost or dissipated in the environment is therefore recovered and used to power the system, significantly extending the operational lifetime of the device. Energy harvesting is defined as the conversion of ambient energy into usable electrical energy. When compared with the energy stored in common storage elements, like batteries and the like, the environment represents a relatively inexhaustible source of energy. Consequently, energy harvesting (i.e., scavenging) methods must be characterized by their power density, rather than energy density.
10/03/05 - 3 million barrel a day capacity oil refineries still offline
Over 3 million barrels a day in U.S. oil refining capacity remain offline along the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, helping push up crude oil, gasoline, heating oil and natural gas prices, the government's top energy forecasting agency said. Twelve refineries and a large share of offshore oil and natural production are shut down, the Energy Information Administration said in its latest assessment on the storms' impact on the U.S. energy sector released late on Friday. Seven refining facilities are closed due to Rita in the Port Arthur, Texas, and Lakes Charles, Louisiana, areas that normally process 1.7 million barrels of crude oil a day into petroleum products, the EIA said. Rita hit along the Texas/Louisiana border on September 24. The government has warned Americans to get ready for higher heating fuel bills this winter, due in part to the supply disruptions caused by the hurricanes. For consumers who warm their homes with natural gas, the EIA forecast their winter costs would be 52 percent higher nationally from last year. Heating oil expenses are expected to be up 34 percent and electricity bills up 11 percent. For all of 2005, energy expenditures in the United States are expected to be $1.08 trillion, up 24 percent from last year, according to the agency.
10/03/05 - Looking for deals? Try Lost Luggage
Ever wonder where all that unclaimed baggage goes if an airline can't find the passenger who owns it? UnclaimedBaggage.com sells thousands of new and pre-owned lost treasures from around the word. Airlines try to locate the owners of the items, but after 90 days many end up for sale online. You can find everything from watches to sporting goods to designer shoes. There are some good deals because the site prices merchandise anywhere from 20 to 80 percent off the manufacturer's price.
10/03/05 - China poised to become world player in hybrid cars
"We will make 10 fuel-cell propelled car by the end of this year. Then we will run them in the city to test their safety and endurance," said Sun. Fuel-cells are batteries that use fuel sources such as petrol, methanol, hydrogen, or natural gas for power. They convert the energy from that fuel source into electricity that powers the car.
Surmount III will use hydrogen as its fuel source.Hybrids burn less fuel by adding one or more electric motors to a standard petrol or diesel engine. The batteries help power the vehicle and recharge themselves by capturing energy during braking. Experts in the industry said China's status as a newcomer without legacy investments in aging technology could be an advantage, letting it jump straight to a newer generation of technology. "That is possible," said Sun Jian, a consultant with AT Kearney in Shanghai. "It is possible China will leapfrog over the fossil-fuel combustion engine and go straight for fuel-cell cars." "One thing China has going for it is its relatively young automotive industry," said David Chen, vice-president of General Motors China. "China's automotive industry does not need to fully take the fossil fuel path. It is in an ideal position to develop alternative energy." Sun said that China's auto makers can benefit from such leapfrogging and gain a greater share of the international market.
10/03/05 - Pixsy free online image/video search engine
Seattle Times Article It searches for images differently than other search engines, which rely on "spider" programs to "crawl" the Web. Pixsy partners with content providers to reach images that aren't otherwise accessible. The result, Lerz says, is access to 100 million images.
10/03/05 - $50,000 prize in hunt for new energy
The Sacramento Area Regional Technology Alliance plans to start a business-plan competition with $50,000 in prizes for early-stage clean-energy companies. The study, called "Clean Energy in the Capitol Corridor: Making the Region a Green Powerhouse," concluded that a business-plan competition would attract attention and funding, motivate entrepreneurs and build a network of supporters, volunteers and donors. Most are early-stage, and some are little more than twinkle in an inventor's eye. They include companies working on fuel cells, solar energy, energy-efficient air conditioning, computer technologies for managing the flow of electricity, and new methods of converting agricultural waste to energy. The global market for clean energy totals about $100 billion annually, according to the study. The competition will accept companies within a 75-mile radius of Sacramento. Simon said they need to have a fairly complete business plan, a management team and product ideas.
10/03/05 - Duct tape Band-Aid
Machismo never allows the admission of pain. You ain’t got no place for no pussy Band-Aids. Hell, you get cut, you get cut. If it bleeds, it bleeds. You got nails to hammer, two by fours to cut and cement to pour. There’s just no way you’re going to be seen wearing a Band-Aid. Unless it’s a Duct Tape Band-Aid. The plasters are designed to look like duct tape, presumably so that the wearer doesn’t feel embarrassed about wearing them. They also come in longer lengths for larger fingers, while the packaging is designed to fit easily in a toolbox.
10/03/05 - Warming affecting Seattle warming, expected to worsen
Earlier this year, Seattle water managers wrung their hands over the dismal snowpack in the mountains. While late-spring rains helped pull Seattle from the brink this year, the city could expect droughts to come more frequently in the future, the scientists predicted. Today's "average" snow year would happen only about once every four years by 2040. And it would be more difficult for salmon in the Cedar River, where the city gets much of its water. The impact probably would be the equivalent of another 170,000 people moving to the city and using its water, the scientists found. With higher temperatures, winter precipitation is more likely to come as rain that immediately washes into rivers feeding Seattle's water system, Wiley said, and not all of that can be stored for future use. Snow accumulates and then gradually melts in the warmer months, providing a more steady supply of water that can be metered out from dams on city reservoirs.
10/03/05 - Creative uses for AOL free disks
If you can't stand getting all those "free" AOL discs in the mail, simply cross out your name and write "Delivery refused -- Return to sender" and put it back into the mailbox. Maybe after AOL's mail room is buried in its own trash, they'll stop sending those stinking things out. And if you really want to get back at them, put the entire package in the microwave and nuke it for four seconds and then send it back. Over the years, I've received enough of those lousy discs to put coasters under every glass at all the bars you've been in.
10/03/05 - New Look at Shale for Oil
A reserve estimated at nearly 1 trillion barrels of oil buried deep in rock formations stretching from western Colorado into northeastern Utah and southwestern Wyoming may be a way to ease U.S. dependence on shrinking foreign oil supplies. The newly enacted energy bill was written to help open the way for research programs and commercial leasing of federal land containing oil shale. Yet shale isn't a quick panacea to the nation's energy woes. This is oil that is locked up in rock, not deposits of liquid crude that are relatively easy to tap. The West's love-hate affair with oil shale has been waxing and waning for centuries. Legends are told of American Indians and pioneers who used the rock to light campfires, and a visitor information site in Parachute showcases the tale of a homesteader who built a fireplace out of shale only to burn down his house when he lit a fire for a housewarming party. Shale oil is easy to see, appearing in dark, gray stripes within the brown rock. Most domestic resources are in the Green River formation under Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, and there were booms just after World War II and again in the 1960s. There are two basic retrieval methods used in several countries including the United States, Estonia, Australia, Brazil and China. One involves mining the rock and heating it to a high temperature in an above-ground facility called a retort. It leaves a lot of leftover shale for disposal and requires huge amounts of water for processing. The other is an underground process in which the rock is heated beneath the surface. Although it would not require as much water, pollution of underground water supplies and the air remain possibilities. Shell Exploration & Production Co. has been testing this method with buried heaters in a remote stretch of Colorado, about an hour's drive north of here.
10/03/05 - China as the new space power?
Australian astronaut Andy Thomas says China could beat other space powers in the return to explore the moon. Big crowds have greeted the crew, of whom the star attraction is Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi. Dr Thomas says the success of the mission means NASA can now look to other projects, such as a return to the moon. But Dr Thomas believes a new space race may be developing, with China showing it is serious about exploration. "The Chinese will start to do things that perhaps we in our timidity have not stepped up to doing," he said. "It's quite possible that the next footprints on the moon will be Chinese." Dr Thomas says a return to the moon would be a step towards other exploration missions, including to Mars.
10/03/05 - Brain Abnormalities Found In Pathological Liars
A University of Southern California study has found the first proof of structural brain abnormalities in people who habitually lie, cheat and manipulate others. "Pathological liars can't always tell truth from falsehood and contradict themselves in an interview. They are manipulative and they admit they prey on people. They are very brazen in terms of their manner, but very cool when talking about this." Aside from having histories of conning others or using aliases, the habitual liars also admitted to malingering, or telling falsehoods to obtain sickness benefits, Raine said. The liars had significantly more "white matter" and slightly less "gray matter" than those they were measured against, Raine said. Specifically, liars had a 25.7 percent increase in prefrontal white matter compared to the antisocial controls and a 22 percent increase compared to the normal controls. Liars had a 14.2 percent decrease in prefrontal gray matter compared to normal controls. More white matter - the wiring in the brain - may provide liars with the tools necessary to master the complex art of deceit, Raine said.
10/03/05 - Melting away fat during your lunchbreak
Plastic surgeons have invented a machine that can "melt away" body fat in a patient's lunchbreak. The controversial device gets rid of unwanted bulges and, unlike liposuction, does not require surgery. Plastic surgeon Chris Inglefield is one of the first in Britain to offer the treatment which takes one to two hours and costs £800. The machine works by firing high-frequency ultrasound waves at specific parts of the body. The waves break down fat cells without damaging nearby blood vessels, skin, muscle, bone or nerves.
The broken-down cells are absorbed by the patient's white blood cells and burned up by the body. Co-inventor Ami Glicksman, of Sheba Medical Centre in Tel Aviv, Israel said: "It is totally a non-invasive procedure, no operating room will be needed. "It is an office treatment. You walk in, you get it and you walk out."
10/02/05 - America's Energy Solution Is Right Under Us...Literally
Right now, America has billions of tons of coal that could be quickly and cleanly converted into fuel - fuel that burns far more cleanly than any used today. The process used to convert the coal, called Fischer-Tropsch, has been around since the 1920s, and has been used by countries who (for various political/economic reasons) can't import oil. The reason why Fischer-Tropsch hasn't been used more widely over the years is because it is only profitable when crude oil prices go above about $35 a barrel. But now, with oil above $60, few think it will ever go back down below the Fischer-Tropsch profit point. That means America has a golden (but as-yet-untapped) opportunity to use its own resources to both improve the environment with a cleaner fuel, and get us off foreign oil. Additionally, the process produces hydrogen that can be stored as fuel for a future hydrogen economy when that technology develops, and it creates electricity as a byproduct. In Montana alone, the state and federal government own 115 billion tons of recoverable coal. That amount of coal could produce almost 200 billion barrels of fuel, and a big chunk of the revenues from that fuel would be the taxpayers' - money that could address America's pressing health care, education and homeland security challenges.
10/02/05 - The Search for Alternatives
When Adolf Hitler sparked World War II, the German war machine faced a daunting challenge: It had almost no petroleum. Despite the shortage - which some considered fatal - a powerful Nazi blitzkrieg quickly rolled back the armies of Poland, France, the Low Countries, and Britain, and it thrust far into the Soviet Union. Hundreds of German bombers pounded Britain, and swarms of German fighter planes fought off Allied attackers. How did Hitler do it? With coal. Operating 25 synthetic fuel plants, Germans converted their country's brown coal into high-quality diesel fuel and gasoline. Coal provided over 92 percent of Germany's aviation fuel and half of all its petroleum needs. Even more ambitious projects are under way in Canada, where private firms such as Royal Dutch Shell are mining and refining tar sands into synfuel that competes directly with conventional oil. Shell plans to more than triple its output from Canadian tar sands to 500,000 barrels a day by 2015, Malcolm Brinded, the company's executive director for exploration and production, said this month. Among the top candidates to replace conventional oil are: Tar Sands, Oil Shale, Extra Heavy Oil, Coal. All these alternative hydrocarbons also have a problem with excessive carbon content. Considerable federal research is under way to keep the carbon, which becomes CO2 after it is burned, from reaching the atmosphere. One way is to inject it into the ground, either into oil wells, which increases output of petroleum, or into huge underground formations where it can be stored indefinitely and not damage the environment.
10/02/05 - Mining Mars
A new company, 4Frontiers, plans to mine Mars for building materials and energy sources, and export the planet's mineral wealth to forthcoming space stations on the moon and elsewhere.The company also wants to build the first permanent human settlement on Mars, using strictly Martian materials, as early as 2025. "Carbon, nitrogen and hydrogen are all scarce on the moon, but readily available on Mars," said Joseph Palaia, 4Frontiers' other co-founder and vice president of operations and research and development. And while oxygen is available in both locations, "it is easier to extract on Mars," he said. "What makes this group so unique is that it is all about getting on the surface of Mars and making the settlement," said Marino. "We are ready to set up shop as soon as we can get on the surface."
10/02/05 - Booming Uranium prices inciting mining claim rush
Would-be uranium miners are dusting off their Geiger counters. A worldwide shortage of uranium is pumping up prices and has led to a rush for mining claims in the western United States. More than 15,000 new claims have been filed in uranium-rich states in the last year, up from just a few the year before. Wyoming, which has some of the biggest uranium deposits in the United States, hadn't seen more than 100 new mining claims over the last 10 years combined. But now claim offices are jumping across the region. Utah and Colorado, two big players in the market, have gone from virtually no new claims for years, according to the BLM, to a combined 8,500 and rising in uranium-rich counties in 2005. The U.S. uranium industry was all but dead in early 2001 when the price of yellowcake tumbled to a low of $7.25 a pound. In the past four years, the price of uranium has more than quadrupled, now hovering at around $30 a pound. Mining companies are starting to see dollar signs. "Our position is, we've still got thousands of abandoned uranium mines that still haven't been reclaimed. Let's resolve the cleanup problems first," before creating new mines, he said.
10/02/05 - You don't have to deal with insurance companies
Interesting comments on a radio talk show (Tom Martino - WROW talk radio) about how to deal with ripoff artists. A woman was hit by another person who was fully responsible. His insurance company gave a low ball price as proferred compensation for the totalled truck. The woman called in complaining of the low price and had information showing her truck was worth a lot more and the lowball price wouldn't begin to replace her truck. Martino said he NEVER deals with insurance companies. Instead his lawyer writes the person a letter with a stated price, saying this is what we will accept, if we don't get it, we will sue YOU. At that point its up to the person to deal with their insurance company to come up with the replacement cost. Wish I had known this when the guy totalled my 1992 Bronco and I settled for $5,000 from the insurance company though the guy was totally at fault for ramming me at 50mph and admitted it.
10/02/05 - Space Station - Finish it or shut it down
Do you see a triumph of modern engineering, an orbiting laboratory that will also serve as a waystation to the solar system? Do you instead imagine a half-completed project beset by years of delays, budget overruns, and complications caused by international cooperation? Or, perhaps, an effort threatened with irrelevance as NASA changes its focus to the exploration of the Moon and beyond? Not surprisingly, some think that NASA is simply not set up to handle a project like this. “We have the wrong people working the wrong system doing the wrong job the wrong way and for the wrong reason,” Tumlinson said. “That’s why space stations are hard.” One proposal that has been floated off and on over the years has been to privatize the station in some manner, handing it over from the government to the private sector. The fact is, however, that we have at least a partially complete space station, and NASA, even as it refocuses its energies on a manned return to the Moon, will try to make the best of what it can with the ISS, as some believe the agency already has. “The space station forced NASA to operate 24/7,” said Jones.
10/02/05 - Biofuels for Transport
Biofuels are currently derived from crops such as corn and wheat for ethanol, and soy and rape for biodiesel. In Brazil, the main source of ethanol is sugar cane. These alternative fuels are not only largely compatible with current vehicles, they are blendable with existing fuels. In fact, low percentage ethanol blends, such as E10 (which contains 10% ethanol by volume) are already dispensed in many service stations worldwide and used in regular gasoline vehicles. To go beyond 10% blends, minor engine and fuel system modifications are needed, which are inexpensive. Still, in Brazil, an increasing number of new cars are compatible with virtually any combination of gasoline and ethanol. While biofuel production costs are fairly easy to measure, the benefits are difficult to quantify. Biofuels can be expensive, at up to three times the price of petrol, though the gap has narrowed with recent sharp oil price rises. The high cost of biofuels has traditionally kept their usage down in IEA countries, though with oil prices rising and technical improvements, they are rapidly becoming more attractive. Also, with increasing production scale and experience, biofuel prices will likely drop. On the benefit side, increasing the use of biofuels can improve energy security, greatly reduce greenhouse gases and many pollutant emissions, and improve vehicle performance. Their production can also enhance rural economic development.
10/02/05 - Concrete's new future
"Some people view the 20th century as the atomic age, the space age, the computer age - but an argument can be made that it was the concrete age," says Hendrik van Oss, a cement specialist with the United States Geological Survey. "It's a miracle material." Indeed, more than a ton of concrete is produced each year for every man, woman, and child on Earth. Dr. Li has created a concrete suffused by synthetic fibers that make it stronger, more durable, and able to bend like a metal. Li's creation does not require reinforcement, a property shared by other concretes that use chemical additives called plasticizers to reduce the amount of water in their composition. Using less water makes concrete stronger, but until the development of plasticizers, it also made concrete sticky, dry, and hard to handle, says Christian Meyer, a civil engineering professor at Columbia University. Another modification to the built environment is the carbon fiber-reinforced concrete of Deborah Chung, a materials scientist at the State University of New York at Buffalo. By running an electrical current through concrete, Dr. Chung says, tiny deformations caused by minute pressures can be detected. "You can monitor room occupancy in real-time, controlling lighting, ventilation, and cooling in relation to how many people are there," says Chung. Pollution abating Concretes & Paints
10/02/05 - The solution to crime & violence is on your plate
The vending machines have been replaced by water coolers. The lunchroom took hamburgers and French fries off the menu, making room for fresh vegetables and fruits, whole-grain bread and a salad bar. Is that all? Yes, that’s all. Principal LuAnn Coenen is still surprised when she speaks of the “astonishing” changes at the school since she decided to drastically alter the offering of food and drinks eight years ago. “I don’t have the vandalism. I don’t have the litter. I don’t have the need for high security.” Stephen Schoenthaler, a criminal-justice professor at California State University in Stanislaus, has been researching the relationship between food and behaviour for more than 20 years. He has proven that reducing the sugar and fat intake in our daily diets leads to higher IQs and better grades in school. When Schoenthaler supervised a change in meals served at 803 schools in low-income neighbourhoods in New York City, the number of students passing final exams rose from 11 percent below the national average to five percent above. He is best known for his work in youth detention centers. One of his studies showed that the number of violations of house rules fell by 37 percent when vending machines were removed and canned food in the cafeteria was replaced by fresh alternatives. He summarizes his findings this way: “Having a bad diet right now is a better predictor of future violence than past violent behaviour.”
10/02/05 - Bicycle sales BOOM amid rising gas prices
Not since the oil crisis of 1973 have bicycles sold in such big numbers, according to Tim Blumenthal, executive director of Bikes Belong, an industry association. "Bicycle sales are near an all-time high with 19 million sold last year -- close to the 20 million sold during the oil embargo in the early 1970s," said Blumenthal, whose association is based in Boulder in the western state of Colorado. The US Chamber of Commerce says more bicycles have been sold than cars over the past 12 months. "I bought my first bike six months ago to go to college. I could not do without it. It's faster in traffic and less expensive," said Erik Lubell, a student at George Washington University wearing a multi-colored helmet. Near the affluent district of Georgetown, Stella Hardwood said she had a different motivation. "I don't want to put on weight and my bike forces me to exercise," Hardwood said.
10/01/05 - Hybrids don't add up financially...yet..
Sure, hybrids save gas but they won't save you money. There are smarter ways to go. Toyota is now measuring "time on the lot" for the Toyota Prius in hours, not days. The average Prius goes unsold for only about 20 hours after it hits a Toyota dealer's lot, according to a recent report. They may make a social statement you're interested in, but if you want to save money because of rising gas prices, you're heading down the wrong road, at least for now. The recently passed energy bill includes a tax credit that would range from $500 up to $3,400, depending on the fuel efficiency of the car, for vehicles purchased after Jan 1., 2006. The credit could be enough to create some real savings. For example, Ford estimates the tax credit on a Ford Escape hybrid to be $2,600. The new rules are extremely confusing, though, said David Mellem of Ashwaubenon Tax Professionals in Wisconsin, and the IRS hasn't yet published an official list of what vehicles will qualify for what sort of tax credit. Certainly, though, most car buyers who are considering a hybrid will be far better off waiting until 2006 to make that purchase, said Mellem. In the meantime, there are other ways to save gas that won't cost you any extra money.
10/01/05 - California puts up $3 Billion for Stem Cell Research
Californians suffering from a wide array of diseases already are lobbying for a share of $3 billion the state has earmarked for stem-cell research, even though scientists only this weekend will begin hashing out how to spend the money. Stem cells are the building blocks for every tissue in the body and can be programmed like a blank computer chip to perform a variety of tasks. Many experts say the cells one day could be used for everything from growing new hearts and kidneys to restoring a blind person's sight by regenerating damaged retinas. Proposition 71, which created the stem-cell program, directs the board to spend $300 million a year on research over the next 10 years. Its passage in November was seen as a potential life saver for hundreds of thousands of people, especially since the federal government has limited studies into embryonic stem cells, believed to have particular promise. Arnold Kriegstein, director of the Institute for Stem Cell and Tissue Biology at UC-San Francisco, also cautioned that because research tends to be slow and unpredictable, ``I would hope the public doesn't lose patience.'' That may be asking a lot of the thousands of Californians looking to the stem-cell program to cure them and their loved ones, said Joan Samuelson, a board member with Parkinson's disease. ``There is such a sense of urgency,'' she said. ``People are suffering in homes all over the state, every day, right this minute, and many are dying. We need to try to rescue them.''
10/01/05 - Mitsubishi auto - Electric Lancer
Engine, transmission, fuel tank and other mechanical parts are gone. Instead, four independent electric motors, each developing 50kW, drive each wheel. The in-wheel motors are powered by a pack of 24 lithium-ion batteries housed in the floor of the car. The new motor uses a hollow donut construction, which locates the rotor outside the stator instead of inside as in conventional electric motors. Mitsubishi says it still achieves a speed of 180kph (111mph) and, in normal town and highway running, the vehicle has a range of 250km (155 miles).
10/01/05 - Fast-growing elephant grass a powerful rival to coal and oil
Trials have shown that the plant flourishes on most arable land, requires no fertiliser, suffers no pests or diseases and produces huge volumes of material that can be harvested using existing technology and burned in power stations. New trials of Miscanthus giganteus in Illinois show that giving over just 10 per cent of the arable land to the grass-like plants could produce more than 60 tons of dry matter per hectare - enough to provide half of the state's electricity, including the city of Chicago. The plant is a perennial and, once established, shoots up to 14feet or more, crowned by a feathery silver-coloured foliage. The version tested is a hybrid of two species, which means that it is both vigorous and sterile. The crop should prove profitable for farmers, with a one-hectare field able to produce enough energy to replace 36 barrels of oil - at current prices, a yield would be worth $US2160 ($2818) per hectare.The advantage of biomass crops is that they do not add to carbon dioxide emissions. As they grow, they absorb carbon dioxide, and when they are burned, they release it again, so they are "carbon-neutral".
10/01/05 - New Malware Redirects Google, MSN, And Yahoo Traffic
PremiumSearch installs a fake "Google" toolbar and sets the victim's browser home page to the PremiumSearch search engine. The goal is to collect traffic-dependent advertising income. PremiumSearch installs a malicious BHO (Browser Helper Object) on the victim's computer. It also installs a fake "Google" toolbar and sets the victim's browser home page to the PremiumSearch search engine, regardless of the setting displayed in the browser. Finally, it conducts what amounts to local DNS poisoning-it rewrites the HOSTS file on the victim's computer. This maps domain names that include Google.com, MSN.com, and Yahoo.com to an IP address hosting spoofed versions of those search engines. The infection originates from visiting a particular Web page after being redirected from other pages that contain pirated software or porn. The page installs the following malware: PremiumSearch, WorldAntiSpy (adware that poses as spyware-detection software and offers to remove found threats for a fee), and Smitfraud (adware that displays popup ads).
10/01/05 - Meteorologist claims Russian military specialists behind Hurricane Katrina
Following death and destruction caused by Katrina, The Americans promptly unearthed the controversial interview by Vladimir Zhirinovsky in which he threatened to unleash floods all over the United States when "our scientists slightly change the earth's gravitational field." Nobody got scared watching the drunken boss of the Liberal Democratic Party promise doom's day for the United States. But once Katrina struck and the southern part of the U.S. got drowned, the improbable rumors about Russia's meteorological weapon came to light again. "There are only three facilities like this in the world, one is in Alaska, the very HAARP, one in Norway, and one in Russia," said Nikolai Snegirev, director of the above institute. The facility was commissioned in 1981. "Using this unique facility, researchers achieved extremely interesting results regarding the ionosphere behavior. They discovered the effect of generation of low-frequency emission at the modulation of ionosphere current.
10/01/05 - Dark chocolate helps diarrhea - Study confirms ancient myth
A new study conducted by researchers at Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland is the first to discover that a chemical in cocoa beans can limit the development of fluids that cause diarrhea. History shows that the use of cocoa to treat diarrhea dates back to the 16th century by ancient South American and European cultures. Until now, no one knew exactly why the cocoa bean appeared to be a remedy. "Our research successfully proves that this ancient myth is really based on scientific principals," said Dr. Illek. For more than a year, scientists tested cocoa extract and flavonoids in cell cultures that mimic the lining of the intestine. All of the cultures reported lower fluid levels. Consequently, the tests confirmed that cocoa flavonoids are a possible remedy for diarrhea.
10/01/05 - U.S. Insists on Keeping Control of Web
"We will not agree to the U.N. taking over the management of the Internet," said Ambassador David Gross, the U.S. coordinator for international communications and information policy at the State Department. "Some countries want that. We think that's unacceptable." Many countries, particularly developing ones, have become increasingly concerned about the U.S. control, which stems from the country's role in creating the Internet as a Pentagon project and funding much of its early development. Some negotiators from other countries said there was a growing sense that a compromise had to be reached and that no single country ought to be the ultimate authority over such a vital part of the global economy. Some countries have been frustrated that the United States and European countries that got on the Internet first gobbled up most of the available addresses required for computers to connect, leaving developing nations with a limited supply to share. They also want greater assurance that as they come to rely on the Internet more for governmental and other services, their plans won't get derailed by some future U.S. policy.
10/01/05 - Mice self-regeneration possibly an ability transferable to humans
Scientists created a miracle mouse that can regenerate amputated or badly damaged parts of its body. The new ability can keep a mouse alive after sustaining a deadly wound. It can look unreal to you yet a mouse can regenerate not only its tail or a damaged joint, it can also restore its heart. Brain is the only organ the mouse can not regenerate. As it turns out, any rodent will be able to regenerate its body parts once it is given an injection of cells from the miracle mouse. Researchers pierced the mouse's ears for a start. The ears healed quickly, no scars. Then researchers cut off the limbs of the mouse, its tail. Everything grew back. The mouse can regenerate its heart and liver as well. The damaged cells of the heart tissue are replaced with the new ones pretty fast. The new cells function well and look exactly like the original healthy one in two months' time. "We found out that the cells of the MRL-mouse divide at a faster pace," says Eber-Katz. "The cells live a shorter life, they are replaced with the new ones quicker than others. These factors seem to relate to their regenerating ability," adds Eber-Katz. Researchers who made the miracle mouse have a suspicion that the mouse could live a lot longer than its ordinary neighbors. It is still a suspicion because 1.8 years was the maximum age the MRL-mice were allowed to live to. Researchers are going to prove their assertion by running a series of experiments.
10/01/05 - Deep sleep short-circuits brain’s grid of connectivity
(This is intriguing because it might yield clues to sleepwalking and how in normal sleep, only autonomic functions remain active. - JWD) Tononi and his team observed the disconnect when brief, magnetically generated pulses of electricity were directed to specific regions of the brain. The pulses stimulated an electrochemical response from the targeted cells, which, when the subject was awake, rippled across the brain, traveling along networks of nerve fibers to different cerebral destinations. But when the subject was in deep sleep, the same response was quickly extinguished and did not travel beyond the stimulated cells. When consciousness fades, according to Tononi, "the brain breaks down into little islands that can't talk to one another." The paddle-like device is placed over the head of a subject and generates a magnetic field. The magnetic field, in turn, produces pulses of electricity lasting less than a millisecond and that are capable of penetrating the skull to stimulate brain cells. "Essentially, we activate an area," Tononi says. "We can do this anywhere in the brain. Once an area is activated, it responds by sending signals, waves that travel through the axons (nerve fibers) to other regions of the brain. At the same time, we can record how the rest of the brain is responding."
10/01/05 - Request for Assistance
I received this interesting email and am hoping someone has more details. If so, could you email that to me so I can pass it on? Thanks! Here is the post.) - About two years ago Art Bell had an inventor call in. He was a retired aircraft engineer and said he built a device that spun two 1 lb. lead balls inside a cylinder at 5.600 rpm. He claimed it could lift a 180 lb. man and could travel at 65 mph. You steered it by body tilt and would go forward & backwards by leaning in those directions. It was powered by a gasoline engine. The unit was in a back pack form. He said that he first tested it in his 2nd floor apartment mounted on a concrete block and it shook the whole building. The neighbors complained and he had to test it elsewhere. He claimed it did not work on normal Aerodynamic principles, high psig v's low psig. like helicopter blades, but instead worked on something else entirely. As the lead balls were enclosed inside a sealed metal tube and only for the operators safety as a dislodged 1 lb. lead ball moving at 6.500rpm is very dangerous. He was looking for additional funding & help..Art Bell told him to keep him informed.. I e-mailed art bell but got no answer. (This sounds very much like an inertial drive mechanism! - JWD)
10/01/05 - TB spit scam to get disability grants
SOUTH African health authorities may have uncovered a "spit scam" in which tuberculosis sufferers sell spit samples to healthy South Africans trying to qualify for disability grants. Samples of TB spit were selling for anything between 10 rand and 30 rand ($7) in villages in the Eastern Cape, said provincial health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo. "There were people from different villages who were selling their spit to people that are not suffering from TB because they wanted to apply for the disability grant," Mr Kupelo said. The government gives disability grants to those who do not recover from the illness despite taking medicine, in most cases because they are suffering from AIDS. Apart from it being nonsensical, it also posed a health risk, Mr Kupelo said. "This thing (TB) spreads fast through the air, if you walk around carrying the spit then it's a danger."
$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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