10/31/06 - Broth secret to losing Weight?
(Sounds like a perfect New Years Resolution! - JWD) Man eats Broth & Veggies to lose 220 pounds in a year. A Cornwall man has lost 101kg in a year on a diet of Oxo cubes. Stephen Kay, 39, swapped fry-ups, pies, pasties and pints of lager for three bowls of hot broth a day. The dad-of-three, who is 1,89m, weighed 196 kg, reports the Daily Mirror. He devised his own diet made up of Oxo stock cubes, topped up with fruit and vegetables. Within 12 months he had slimmed down to 96kg and lost 60cm off his waist as his belt size shrank from 60 to 36. Stonemason Stephen said: "I'd read all the weight loss magazines and watched all the TV programmes - but I hate salads. "I remember my grandfather eating hot Oxo broth soaked up by wholemeal bread so I went for that." Stephen decided to fight the fat after constant pestering from wife Caroline and children Gary, 21, Claire, 14 and Jack, 11. Caroline makes her husband's filling broths three times a day using two stock cubes, hot water and pepper. She also gives him three slices of wholemeal bread. The 42-year-old part-time cleaner said: "This diet has totally transformed him. He used to get tired easily and spend all his time on the sofa. Now he is out playing badminton." - Ananova.com
The 249% Solution
If you run banner ads, one study for Harris Direct shows that you can increase your brand awareness about 7% after a reasonable buy of banner ads. That’s just fine, though I’m on the record as saying that most banner campaigns are a waste of money. The kicker? In the study, Harris did the banner buy and watched the number of clicks to their contextual ad (you know, the text ads) go up by 249% over the next week. Pow. This means that someone answering the ‘brand awareness’ survey says, “no, I never heard of them,” but then, two days later, is more than twice as likely to click on their text ad. More than twice.
10/31/06 - Growing New Breasts
BREAST cancer sufferers could one day grow new breasts, thanks to stem cell research. A technique being devised by US scientists could see an end to reconstructive surgery for women recovering from breast cancer. Scientists in the US are looking at using stem cells derived from a patient's own fat to regenerate lost breast tissue. An initial three-year program of animal research will see stem cells "seeded" on to scaffold structures. These will provide platforms around which replacement tissue can be grown. "The use of adipose or fat-derived stem cells may represent a better solution for soft tissue reconstruction in breast cancer patients." Exposed to specific chemical conditions, stem cells develop into cells characteristic of fat, bone, cartilage, nerve, muscle and blood vessels. Dr Rubin's team hopes to combine fat-derived stem cells with microscopic beads with regenerative properties. Experts estimate that 454g of fat removed in a "tummy tuck" operation would yield up to 200 million stem cells.
10/31/06 - Robots Test "Embodied Intelligence"
"Here's an interesting article about a robotics experiments designed to test the benefits of coupling visual information to physical movement. This approach, known as embodied cognition, supposes that biological intelligence emerges through interactions between organisms and their environment. Olaf Sporns from Indiana University and Max Lungarella from Tokyo University believe strengthening this connection in robots could make them smarter and more intuitive."
10/31/06 - Asthma turns on light
Scientists used mice to test the effects of ultraviolet light on the development of asthma-type signs such as inflamed airways and lungs. Preliminary results show that if the animals had a 15-30 minute dose of light before being exposed to a common allergen their chance of developing symptoms was "significantly reduced". Research leader Prof Prue Hart said that UV exposure produced a cell type in a mouse that, when transferred into other mice, suppressed the immune reactions and halted symptoms. "We measured the response of the airways and if the mice had been radiated beforehand they had very little responses to those allergens," Prof Hart said. She said the research was the first to prove sunlight was among the environmental and genetic factors that influenced the chronic disease. But Prof Hart cautioned that the theory had yet to be tested on humans. And given that overexposure to sunlight could cause skin cancer, sufferers should not rush out to sunbake.
10/31/06 - Curing Asthma with Hookworms
This is my personal account of curing my asthma and hayfever by deliberately infesting myself with the intestinal parasite hookworm. It isn't for the faint hearted and for some should not be read while eating. It involves a great deal of research, a trip to Cameroon and a lot of barefoot walking in open air latrines in west Africa. If you have asthma, or know someone who has asthma (or for that matter Crohn's disease, IBD or colitis) and are suffering badly you owe it to yourself to consider this approach. Because although it sounds strange and is repellant it is founded on sound science and it has one other virtue. It worked.
10/31/06 - Residual biomass: the new oil
A technology that turns residual biomass -- everything from forest slash to industrial wood waste -- into a renewable oil for heating and power generation. Advanced Biorefinery has designed a transportable pyrolysis system that can go to where the biomass is, for example, out in remote logging country where there's plenty of forest slash to process. Dynamotive prefers to build larger, more permanent plants beside a feedstock supplier, such as a wood-flooring company in West Lorne, Ontario. The end result of their process is "bio oil," a carbon-neutral alternative to conventional fuel oil that can be used for industrial heating and power generation.
10/31/06 - 'Beware global warming lawsuits'
LAWSUITS against governments and companies over their roles in global warming have a good chance of success, academics say. University of Adelaide researchers say scientific evidence shows a `human signature' on global warming as great as that linking cigarette smoking with cancer. Researchers Dr Joseph Smith and Professor David Shearman said they had analysed the basis for potential legal claims against governments and companies over climate change. "The potential grounds of liability are now quite clear," Dr Smith said. "And the scientific evidence is at a point where, in many cases, it would meet the legal requirements for civil standards of proof - that is, the balance of probability being greater than 50 per cent." He cited an ongoing law suit in the US by the state of California against six major car manufacturers seeking monetary damages for alleged contributions to global warming. "Major grounds against companies could include negligence, product liability, nuisance, breach of directors' duties and liability under environmental pollution statutes," Dr Smith said.
10/31/06 - Ethanol boost for gasoline engines
Injecting small quantities of ethanol into car engines at moments of peak demand - such as accelerating sharply or climbing a steep hill - could improve the fuel economy of gasoline engines by 20 percent to 30 percent, a scientist said on Wednesday. Adding the ethanol injection system to a car would cost about $1,000 ($NZ1509) and that cars using the new system could be in mass production by 2011. Hybrid engines can add $3,000 or more to a car's cost - and account for just about 1 percent of new car sales in the United States. The limited supply of ethanol, which is made from plant matter, limits its usefulness as a primary fuel source. There are only 900 pumping stations nationwide that sell E-85. The MIT scientists' plan gets around the ethanol supply issue by using small amounts of it - so little that Cohn estimated the ethanol tank in cars using the technology would need to be refilled every three months or so. A turbocharger is added to produce more power. The ethanol injection system with the turbocharger would give a driver more power than a conventional engine of the same size. The higher pressures and temperatures of a turbocharged engine can lead to a problem known as knock, which occurs when the fuel and air in the engine explode prematurely, hurting performance and potentially damaging the engine. Cohn said his group's technology avoids that problem by injecting ethanol into the engine when knock is likely to occur. The ethanol vaporizes and cools the fuel-air mixture, keeping it from exploding until the engine is ready.
10/31/06 - The first 100 days if Democrats win
We're told the Democrats have an agenda - in the first 100 days, Congress will overturn the accumulated horrors of the Bush regime. (Except for Reagan's funeral. They'll let that stand.) A preview follows. Day 1: Party like it's 1992; citizenship for all Gitmo detainees; a blanket amnesty; and a "Circle of Healing" ceremony held on the Capitol steps. Day 2: The troops in Iraq will leave, walking in reverse, as if someone is playing the tape backwards; special construction brigades will quickly repair all the buildings destroyed since the 2003 invasion; and the last American out will reinstall Saddam. Thereafter, whenever someone criticizes America for invading Iraq, we'll look quizzical and say we don't know what they're talking about. Day 3: Bush tax cuts repealed, so the upper 10 percent in income pay 67 percent of all federal taxes instead of 66 percent. That will make all the difference. Day 4: Peace Corps sent en masse to Middle East to apologize personally to everyone and hand out gas-soaked flags and matchbooks. Burn one on us! Don't you love us now? Day 5: Peace Corps Hostage Negotiation Unit commissioned. Day 6: Gay marriage legalized by congressional voice vote, so no one has to go on record. (This allows gay Democratic congressmen to vote no without being outed.) Days 7-100: Impeachment hearings. Sure, Pelosi has said she's against them. But as she promised: The children will be in charge. They're cranky if they don't get their way.
10/31/06 - Armageddon believers influencing Politicians
The war in Iraq is not a disaster, but the beginning of the fulfilment of biblical prophecies that culminate, possibly very soon, in a mighty struggle between good and evil at Armageddon. Fully one quarter of Americans describe themselves as Evangelical Christians, and their support for the president remains rock solid. Cornerstone Church, a vast squat white temple in San Antonio, is rapidly becoming the movement's epicentre, thanks to the charismatic founder, Pastor John Hagee, the rising star of America's TV evangelists. For these evangelists, the war in Iraq is not a disaster, but the beginning of the fulfilment of biblical prophecies that culminate, possibly very soon, in a mighty struggle between good and evil at Armageddon. This belief lies at the core of the teachings of the bespectacled pastor, who argues that Christians and Jews must make common cause against forces of darkness he identifies as Arabs, Russians and even a future president of the EU. Christians who fail in their duty will be "left behind" when the obedient are summoned to heaven. While mainstream churches across the land struggle to attract congregations, Cornerstone and hundreds more so-called Mega Churches are packed week after week, forming the last remaining bastion of support for the troubled Bush presidency. Hagee set up his church 28 years ago and sits through services on a throne, in suit and tie, facing his son, Mathew, who he has appointed as his deputy. By taking the bible as literal truth, these evangelists argue that Israel can do no wrong because their enemies are, by definition, forces of darkness who can be disposed of. His stance has brought the pastor powerful friends, among them disgraced former House of Congress majority leader Tom Delay and ex-CIA chief James Woolsey. Hagee is rapidly taking the place as top TV preacher from fellow Evangelist Pat Robertson, who has lost support after angering Bush by using one of his sermons to call for the assassination of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. "Pastor Hagee is experienced, charismatic and efficient, and his message is simple," says writer Victoria Clark, who is researching a history of Christian Zionists. "Hagee preaches that if Americans want God to bless America then Americans had better bless the Jews."
10/31/06 - Britons 'could be microchipped like dogs in a decade'
Human beings may be forced to be 'microchipped' like pet dogs, a shocking official report into the rise of the Big Brother state has warned. The microchips - which are implanted under the skin - allow the wearer's movements to be tracked and store personal information about them. They could be used by companies who want to keep tabs on an employee's movements or by Governments who want a foolproof way of identifying their citizens - and storing information about them. In an official report for Britain's Information Commissioner Richard Thomas into the spread of surveillance technology. The report, drawn up by a team of respected academics, claims that Britain is a world-leader in the use of surveillance technology and its citizens the most spied-upon in the free world. It paints a frightening picture of what Britain might be like in ten years time unless steps are taken to regulate the use of CCTV and other spy technologies. Its use in humans has already been trialled in America, where the chips were implanted in 70 mentally-ill elderly people in order to track their movements. There are now 4.2 million CCTV cameras in Britain and the average Briton is caught on camera an astonishing 300 times every day. This huge enthusiasm comes despite official Home Office statistics showing that CCTV cameras have 'little effect on crime levels'. They write: "The surveillance society has come about us without us realising", adding: "Some of it is essential for providing the services we need: health, benefits, education. Some of it is more questionable. Some of it may be unjustified, intrusive and oppressive." "People are being scrutinised and having their lives tracked, and are not even aware of it."
10/31/06 - New technology finds, flags, and kills tumor cells
A growing cadre of researchers are developing next-generation nanotechnology that can both deliver drugs only to cancer cells and allow doctors to monitor the progress of the treatment. The University of Texas system delivers both an anti-cancer drug and a highly effective magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent to allow doctors to see that the drug is being delivered to a tumor. The nanocarriers are made of polymers with an inner core that traps doxorubicin, a common chemotherapy drug, and iron-oxide particles that show up clearly with MRI. Polymer strands on the outside of the nanocarrier bear targeting molecules that are recognized only by tumor blood-vessel cells. The nanocarriers latch on to the vessel cells, and the cells engulf the carriers. The polymer releases the drug once inside the cell, where it is most effective. Tests on cells grown in the lab showed promising results, says Gao. Nanocarriers equipped with the targeting molecule delivered twice the amount of drug and killed twice the number of cells (94 percent) as those without it, he reported online in the journal Nano Letters. Because of the nanoparticles, the tumor blood-vessel cells were visible at a resolution unattainable with current MRI contrasts. "We could detect as few as 50,000 cells," Gao says. Studies in mice are now in progress.
10/30/06 - New ‘Ethanol-boosted’ engine to give better mileage
MIT researchers are developing a half-sized “ethanol-boosted” car turbo engine that performs like its full-sized cousin, and offers fuel efficiency equalling that of today’s hybrid engine system, at a lower cost. The engines which may be launched in the markets in the next five years, will not only cut the cost of fuel enormously, but will offer greater mileage also. Moreover, the little engines will provide high performance without using high-octane gasoline. The researchers believe that the turbo engines will help cut gasoline consumption in the US enormously. The research team used sophisticated computer simulations for injecting ethanol to suppress spontaneous combustion and essentially remove the knock limit that can damage the engine. They found that once ethanol is injected, the engine does not knock even when the pressure inside the cylinder is three times higher than that in a conventional SI engine. Engine tests by collaborators at Ford Motor Company produced results consistent with the model’s predictions. Using well-established computer models, the researchers have determined that small high-compression-ratio engines will provide the same peak power as the full-scale SI version, and will be 20 to 30 percent more fuel-efficient.
10/30/06 - Ocean Powered Hydroelectric Generator Invention
Sea Solar Power International of Baltimore, Maryland, a division of the Abell Foundation, is currently evaluating Portland, Oregon resident, Richard M. Dickson’s U.S. patent pending ocean powered hydroelectric generator invention for possible prototyping and eventual production. The invention is a new type of enclosed hydroelectric dam that works off pressure differentials in sea or deep lake water at great depths. Mr. Dickson refers to his invention as a “hydrosphere”, and claims it can generate up to 500 Megawatts of continuous, non-polluting, renewable energy out of sight in oceans or deep lakes. Mr. Dickson's "hydrosphere" represents breakthrough technology in electrical power generation by opening up ocean and deep lake pressure as a new source of electrical power. Previously, only wave, tidal, thermal, salinity, and ocean current energy were thought to be of practical use in ocean electrical power renewable energy schemes. However, each of these energy sources has limitations on use due to geographical and other factors. On the other hand, Mr. Dickson, claims the "hydrosphere" can be used to generate power in any ocean of the world and deep lakes, except the extreme polar regions; and at various depths. The "hydrosphere" could eventually become a tremendous source of new electrical energy for the world, benefiting all nations with access to oceans or deep lakes.
10/30/06 - Packaging warns of unsafe food
Researchers from Strathclyde University used new technology to create an "intelligent ink" to detect the presence of oxygen in packaged food. If the package seal is broken, either accidentally or by tampering, the ink changes colour. "If the seal is broken, oxygen is getting in, so the food may no longer be safe to eat. "Our technology has the potential to eliminate food poisoning due to bad packaging or tampering." The ink was created with light-sensitive nano-particles, which can detect oxygen when triggered by ultraviolet light.
10/30/06 - Boffin invents simpler way to see inside metal objects
X-ray pictures of metal objects, no nuclear hardware needed. Cesar Moreno, who heads the "Plasma Focus" Physics research group at the University of Buenos Aires showed impressive pictures of metal objects, taken with the x-ray device built at his research lab -the unit is too large to fit on the small exhibition floor. Unlike other approaches to photograph the inside of metal objects which require irradiating the elements to be scanner with radioactive element, this one works just needs electricity to operate. His work started seven years ago, and at this years' fair he was able to show the result of his working machine: x-ray images of a photo camera, a door lock, and a bolt fixated to a metal bar, among others. This machine is able to take photographs passing through any metal type -even lead- up to 25mm thick, and even moving objects. Moreno told the press his team was able to "photograph the inside of an airplane turbine spinning at 6,000 rpm". INQuired by this correspondent at the show floor if the process has any effect on the materials being photographed, he said there's no trace of radiation or even heat generated during the process "There's no radiation or other effect left on the materials, the whole process is measured in a few nanoseconds, it takes even less time than having x-rays taken of your body, and you don't have to hold your breath".
10/30/06 - Western United States, the Mediterranean and Brazil will likely suffer
The world _ especially the Western United States, the Mediterranean region and Brazil _ will likely suffer more extended droughts, heavy rainfalls and longer heat waves over the next century because of global warming, a new study forecasts. But the prediction of a future of nasty extreme weather also includes fewer freezes and a longer growing season. As the world warms, there will be more rain likely in the tropical Pacific Ocean, and that will change the air flow for certain areas, much like El Nino weather oscillations now do, said study co-author Gerald Meehl, a top computer modeler at the research center. Those changes will affect the U.S. West, Australia and Brazil, even though it's on South America's eastern coast. For the Mediterranean, the issue has more to do with rainfall in the tropical Atlantic Ocean changing air currents, he said. "Extreme events are the kinds of things that have the biggest impacts, not only on humans, but on mammals and ecosystems," Meehl said. One of the larger changes in precipitation predicted is in the intensity of rain and snowfall. That means, Tebaldi said, "when it rains, it rains more" even if it doesn't rain as often.
10/30/06 - Giant elastic-powered aircraft fails to take off
A UK artist has dismally, albeit heroically, failed to get off the ground in a 20ft aircraft powered by a giant rubber band, the Daily Telegraph reports. Mark Clews prepares for non-take-off. Photo: University of WestminsterMark Clews attempt to reach 3,000ft in the oversized kids' toy ended with the aircraft travelling just six feet backwards at a "rain swept" Dunsfold Park airfield in Surrey. The power plant consisted of 200 feet of bungee cord, powering a red propeller obtained in the Midlands for £100.
10/30/06 - Rising sea levels - 10 years to Fiji Migration
AUSTRALIA has been warned it may face a flood of environmental refugees within a decade as the Pacific's smallest island states face submersion under rising seas. The alarmist message was issued by Kiribati's leader, Anote Tong, as fellow leaders of endangered nations gathered in Fiji to discuss their worsening plight. Concerns have been raised that nations such as Kiribati, Tuvalu, Niue and the Marshall Islands face an uncertain future due to rising sea levels caused by global warming. Sceptics argue that such claims are far-fetched, but Mr Tong yesterday warned that regional powers such as Australia and New Zealand may have to prepare for an exodus from these tiny nations within 10 years. "If we are talking about island states sinking in 10 years time, we simply have to find somewhere to go," Mr Tong said. "If we become refugees, then so be it. I think the international community has to get used to it."
10/30/06 - Fish to detect toxins
Cities nationwide are using bluegill fish, such as these at a treatment plant in Milbrae, Calif., to detect toxic substances in their water supplies. Unlike man-made sensors that detect only specific contaminants, these fish and other such nature-made sensors respond to a broad range of problems. While they are unable to indicate that, say, there's ammonia in the water like a machine can, they can show that something is very wrong - and in most cases much faster than anything man-made. The bluegill fish and their companion computers are so sensitive that three major cities - New York, Washington, and San Francisco - used them in a pilot program. The cities found them so successful they're making them a permanent part of their water-monitoring defenses. The Army, which developed the fish sensor with a private company, also uses the sensor at some undisclosed locations.
10/30/06 - Look what the cargo ship dragged in
Before setting sail, cargo ships take in vast amounts of water for stabilization, and then discharge the water at their destination. Only nominally filtered on uptake, this water, known as ballast, inevitably contains a host of organisms, ranging from algae to the larvae of various mollusk species to (at least in one case) an entire school of fish. "Considering that there are over 30,000 ships at sea this morning," writes James Carlton, director of the Williams College-Mystic Seaport Maritime Studies Program, in an e-mail, "the total number of organisms and species in this global 'bioflow' on the morning your readers read your piece could be staggering - billions of individuals, and thousands of species." Indeed, scientists have long considered ballast water the primary way invasive aquatic organisms are introduced. Aquatic invasives cost the US $9 billion yearly, according to estimates by David Pimentel, professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. Zebra and quagga mussels (a cousin to the zebra) alone cost the $1 billion annually. Currently, the Coast Guard requires all ships entering US waters to exchange their ballast at least 200 nautical miles from shore where the ocean is at least a mile deep, or face a fine of up to $27,500 per day. Adapted to the lower salinity of coastal waters, organisms found in ballast water theoretically won't survive the higher salinity of the open ocean.
10/30/06 - Epigenetics - Inherited Pollution
It's a discovery that could explain a host of medical mysteries. Contrary to what scientists thought, your diet, the pollution you're exposed to and even your behavior can lead to effects that are inherited by your children, grandchildren, and beyond. We all know pollution can affect our health, but now scientists say the toxins we're exposed to could also affect our children and even our grandchildren. Washington State University researchers found that exposing pregnant rats to certain pesticides caused a big increase in numerous diseases for at least the next four generations. Even behaviors can be passed on this way. Rat pups that are licked and groomed by their mothers handle less stress as adults, and in turn pass on nurturing skills to their young. That might not be too surprising except that it makes no difference whether the mothering is done by the pups' biological mom or a foster mom.
10/29/06 - Wood stoves are big Culprit in Climate Change
Scientists have found that smoke produced by these stoves, which are traditionally used for cooking and heating in developing countries, contains twice as many soot particles as laboratory experiments had previously indicated. When released into the atmosphere, the black, noxious particles - which are darker than those produced by grassland or forest fires - absorb light and increase atmospheric temperatures. "They can absorb energy and keep it in the Earth's system when it would otherwise escape," lead author Tami Bond of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States, told SciDev.Net. The authors estimate that around 400 million wood stoves are used daily by more than 2 billion people worldwide. Bond established that burning firewood produces 800,000 metric tons of soot worldwide a year. By comparison, diesel vehicles generate about 890,000 metric tons of soot a year. Both sources together contribute 10 per cent of the soot emitted annually into the atmosphere.
10/29/06 - Blue Jean Dye Shown to Kill Cancer Cells
Research 1 - Impact LabUK researchers are employing tiny gold "nanoparticles", 1/5000th the thickness of a human hair, to deliver the chemical compound directly into cancer cells, tearing them apart instantly. The common dye found in blue jeans and ballpoint pens is called phthalocyanine and is a light-activated, or photosensitive, agent with cell-destroying properties.
10/29/06 - The Universal Translator Ver.1.0
Imagine mouthing a phrase in English, only for the words to come out in Spanish. That is the promise of a device that will make anyone appear bilingual, by translating unvoiced words into synthetic speech in another language. The device uses electrodes attached to the face and neck to detect and interpret the unique patterns of electrical signals sent to facial muscles and the tongue as the person mouths words. The effect is like the real-life equivalent of watching a television show that has been dubbed into a foreign language, says speech researcher Tanja Schultz of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Existing translation systems based on automatic speech-recognition software require the user to speak the phrase out loud. This makes conversation difficult, as the speaker must speak and then push a button to play the translation. The new system allows for a more natural exchange. "The ultimate goal is to be in a position where you can just have a conversation," says CMU speech researcher Alan Black.
10/29/06 - Grape Seed Extract Halts Colorectal Tumor Cell Cycle
Chemicals found in grape seeds significantly inhibited growth of colorectal tumors in both cell cultures and in mice, according to researchers who have already demonstrated the extract's anti-cancer effects in other tumor types. Their study, published in the October 18 issue of Clinical Cancer Research, documented a 44 percent reduction of advanced colorectal tumors in the animals, and also revealed, for the first time, the molecular mechanism by which grape seed extract works to inhibit cancer growth. The authors found that it increases availability of a critical protein, Cip1/p21, in tumors that effectively freezes the cell cycle, and often pushes a cancer cell to self destruct.
10/29/06 - Russian miracle water can cure cancer and restore youth
Researchers of two well-known Russian institutes have almost simultaneously without contacting each other come up with “live” and “dead” water. The de-ionized, or “dead,” water was first mentioned as a study project back in the 1990’s. At that time the theory of two professors from Science Center of Applied Research (SCAR) - Valentine Samoylov and Oleg Zaymidoroga - were looked at as fairytales. But now no one would dare laughing at the ones who take the foundation for their “live” and “dead” waters from… the kitchen! “At first we were taking it from the ordinary kitchen faucet,” explains Oleg, the owner of a mini-lab in Dubna, “Of course it did not become de-ionized water right away. We had to free it of metal ions, microorganisms, and other junk. Where else on the planet would you be able to find water like this!” “It began with my experiments in Italy in the field of physics. I had to design such water for the research that would contain no radioactive traces and no microorganisms. So we began purifying the regular tap water. We passed it through the filter and then removed the 95% of metal ions. Then next step was to remove the rest of radioactive ions and from the heavy isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen. Finally we got rid of the dead bodies of microorganisms and ended up with super pure de-ionized water that is thousands of times more sterile than any artificial solution. So I thought, what if I try to clean the incrustation inside the tea pot with that water? I took it to my wife and she poured the substance into the old boiling pot that had nearly one kilogram of old scales inside of it. After boiling the purified water in it all the incrustation came off. I realized all of a sudden that one could clean the polluted nuclear reactors this way, as well as the human body vessels. Just imagine how many people could be cured with such miracle water!” Tests showed that the miracle water can cure infections and tumors. “In the case of blood poisoning de-ionized water restores the torn DNA threads and helps the wound to heal faster,” the scientist explains, “As for the cancer, this water has the power to affect the bio-energetic molecule ATF, which is responsible for cell division. So when a cancer patient receives the de-ionized water injection the ATF molecule no longer misses the moment of random cell multiplication. The tumor growth will be stopped.
10/28/06 - Gasoline Components and Efficiency
consumers have been much more attentive to gasoline facts by learning more about the process of refining crude oil and why prices spiked so excessively is a good way to understand the growing concern. Let's take a look at some interesting facts about gasoline and the impact it has in this country. It is estimated that over 20 million barrels of gas is used everyday. That works out to 840 million gallons. oil refineries process this oil by removing impurities and distilling the stuff through a variety of techniques using heat and pressure to modify the mixture into the fuel that is needed. These varieties include diesel and the regular gasoline most of us use in our cars everyday. Most people are already aware of the different grades and octane levels offered at service stations. How this plays into saving gas and money at the pumps really depends on the make and model of your car. Normal consumer gasoline is available in regular, unleaded, and premium grades. The octane levels are directly related to the grade of the fuel. The octane levels are what determine a certain grades anti knock rating. Your car's owner manual will instruct you to the proper type of fuel. Considering the high cost of fuel currently, it would be a wise decision to use the lowest grade gas that is appropriate for your car. Don't worry; the car's engine is designed to use that type of fuel. By doing so you are not damaging the vehicle.
10/28/06 - Quantum Dot Efficient Solar Cells
researchers at the University of New South Wales, in Sydney, Australia, have completed the preliminary steps in making an all-silicon structure that can, in theory, eke out nearly twice the electricity that traditional silicon solar cells--the industry's mainstay--can. To maximize efficiency, Martin Green, lead researcher on the project and professor of photovoltaic- and renewable-energy engineering, and his team are developing a multilayered silicon system that converts varying wavelengths of sunlight into electricity. Each layer is tuned to collect light at a certain wavelength, says Green. Multilayered systems--commonly used by NASA to power satellites--have been studied for years. Currently, these systems can operate at an efficiency of about 30 percent. By comparison, the best single-layer silicon cells in research labs have an efficiency of 25 percent. The researchers tuned the dots to absorb light at wavelengths from about 1,100 nanometers (infrared light) to roughly 600 nanometers (red light). For the complete solar cell to work, the layers of quantum dots would need to be stacked according to their size. The top layer would contain the smallest dots, which absorb the shortest wavelength. The rest of the light passes through to the layers below, which would contain subsequently larger dots. Green's proposed scheme contains three of these quantum-dot layers.
10/28/06 - Nuclear power will 'worsen drought'
AUSTRALIA'S crippling drought will worsen if the Howard government succeeds in its push for nuclear power, Queensland Premier Peter Beattie has told a conference. Addressing the New Zealand Labour Party conference in Rotorua today, Mr Beattie said an independent study commissioned by the Queensland government showed a nuclear power station would use 25 per cent more water than a coal-fired power station. "At a time when our farming communities are hurting badly, it is a folly for (Prime Minister John) Howard to be entertaining the thought of nuclear power stations in Queensland or anywhere else," he said. "Many towns and shires in our state are struggling to get enough drinking water, let alone enough to satisfy the amount a nuclear station would need to guzzle."
10/28/06 - Oil industry turns big profits as US economy falters
Corporate America is used to vast profits, but the oil industry's earnings dwarf all other industries, including banking, technology, and food and drink. The US' largest energy group, and the world's biggest company, ExxonMobil Corp, posted record third-quarter net profit of US$10.49 billion, or around US$114 million a day, on Thursday. Its earnings soared by 26 percent over the same period a year ago, largely as a result of searing-hot crude oil prices which hit records over US$78 in July and August, although they have since fallen to around US$61 per barrel. Put in perspective, ExxonMobil's quarterly profits at over US$10 billion were bigger than the latest quarterly profits of banking titan Citigroup (US$5.5 billion), Internet search colossus Google (US$773 million) and beverage giant Coca-Cola (US$1.5 billion) combined. "Over US$10 billion in profits during this quarter alone are what Big Oil got in return for writing the energy bill, reaping billions in taxpayer-funded giveaways, winning commercial access to federal lands and rolling back environmental initiatives," Kerry thundered in a statement. "Is it any wonder, then, that Exxon has contributed 89 percent of their campaign contributions to Republicans?" Kerry said. Oil executives bristle at suggestions of unfettered profits, saying their profit margins are lower than those of other industries.
10/28/06 - Bush legalizes martial law -- what Constitution?
On Oct 17, George Bush quietly signed a bill allowing him to declare martial law. The Toward Freedom website summarizes it: "For the current President, "enforcement of the laws to restore public order" means to commandeer guardsmen from any state, over the objections of local governmental, military and local police entities; ship them off to another state; conscript them in a law enforcement mode; and set them loose against "disorderly" citizenry - protesters, possibly, or those who object to forced vaccinations and quarantines in the event of a bio-terror event. The law also facilitates militarized police round-ups and detention of protesters, so called "illegal aliens," "potential terrorists" and other "undesirables" for detention in facilities already contracted for and under construction by Halliburton. That's right. Under the cover of a trumped-up "immigration emergency" and the frenzied militarization of the southern border, detention camps are being constructed right under our noses, camps designed for anyone who resists the foreign and domestic agenda of the Bush administration." / Martial Law - A new law that President Bush signed on Oct. 17. It seems to allow the President to impose martial law on any state or territory, using federal troops and/or the state's own, or other states', National Guard troops. From the article: "In a stealth maneuver, President Bush has signed into law a provision which, according to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), will actually encourage the President to declare federal martial law. It does so by revising the Insurrection Act, a set of laws that limits the President's ability to deploy troops within the United States. The Insurrection Act (10 U.S.C.331 -335) has historically, along with the Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C.1385), helped to enforce strict prohibitions on military involvement in domestic law enforcement. With one cloaked swipe of his pen, Bush is seeking to undo those prohibitions."
10/27/06 - Energy from deserts could supply Europe
Deserts in the Middle East and North Africa could generate vast quantities of electricity to sell to Europe, according to two German research reports. The studies found that concentrated solar power plants, occupying less than 0.3 per cent of the desert area in the region, could provide 15 per cent of Europe's electricity needs by 2050. The high transmission losses of 10-15 per cent per 1,000 kilometres of cable used would be offset by the sheer volume of electricity produced, says the Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Cooperation (TREC), a network that helped conduct the studies. "Every year, each square kilometre of desert receives solar energy equivalent to 1.5 million barrels of oil. Multiplying by the area of deserts worldwide, this is nearly a thousand times the entire current energy consumption of the world," says Franz Trieb, project manager for the two reports at the German Aerospace Center. Solar thermal power plants use mirrors to concentrate solar energy to create steam and generate electricity, creating the cheapest electricity available - costing less than US$0.06 per kilowatt-hour. Excess heat from the plants could be used for water desalination, providing much-needed fresh water in desert regions.
10/27/06 - Suspension of Habeas Corpus Unconstitutional
Perhaps the most important and radical departures from constitutionalism, however, are the limitations on the right of habeas corpus - the ancient writ that allows a person being held captive by a government to be informed what the charges are and to have a judicial resolution of them - and the limitation of judicial review. Supporters of the act note that the denial of habeas corpus rights applies only to noncitizens. But when the U.S. Constitution discusses habeas corpus it makes no such distinction, providing only that "[t]he privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." The commission act's suspension of habeas corpus, then, is probably unconstitutional on its face. It may also be unconstitutional in that the present emergency does not meet the constitutional test of rebellion or invasion (when civilian courts might not be capable of operating). For better or worse, our civilian courts are operating at full throttle and could no doubt handle a few dozen trials of alleged terrorists, so the need for a bill establishing military commissions at all - let alone suspending habeas corpus - is far from evident. Ordinary military courts martial might also have handled the job.
10/27/06 - Stored braking energy saves fuel
Storing braking energy in a hydraulic accumulator, then releasing it to assist acceleration, could improve heavy vehicle fuel economy by up to 35%. The system is called the Regenerative Drive System (RDS). In its basic form, the driveshaft is equipped with a pump/motor. When a vehicle is braking, braking energy is used to pump oil into a hydraulic accumulator, pressurised with nitrogen. When the vehicle subsequently accelerates, the compressed gas in the accumulator pushes oil through the pump/motor to assist the engine by adding energy to the drive train. The control system simultaneously reduces engine output while the stored energy is returned in order to maximise fuel saving. Hydraulic systems intrinsically have higher energy densities than electric systems, especially when these involve batteries. A hybrid hydraulic system with an accumulator is about half the weight of a hybrid electric system - even one using the most advanced batteries - and about four-fifths that of a system based on a super capacitor for energy storage. Because of the relative maturity of hydraulic components, hybrid hydraulic systems with accumulators are less expensive, and have long times between major component replacement, whereas rechargeable batteries have strictly limited working lives. System efficiency is also said to be significantly higher. The environmental footprint of a hydraulic system is less than that of an electric system involving batteries, since these require careful recycling. For safety reasons, the RDS automatically discharges to zero pressure when the vehicle is switched off. Other claimed benefits are: up to 35% improvement in fuel economy depending on drive cycle; reduced carbon dioxide and NOx emissions; a doubling of brake life, reduced braking noise; and improved acceleration.
10/27/06 - Machine turns scraps into electricity, vehicle fuel
Scraps from some of the Bay Area's trendiest restaurants -- Zuni Cafe, Jardiniere, Oliveto and Boulevard, among others -- are being enlisted in the quest for renewable energy. Eight tons a week of everything that comes back on plates or is rejected by the kitchen will be sent to a state-of-the-art digester at UC Davis, where it will be transformed into valuable "biogas" -- methane and hydrogen -- and fertilizer. The digester -- an impressive amalgam of vats, piping, cables, conveyers and hoppers -- was unveiled Tuesday at a site near the campus' wastewater treatment plant. The project is a joint venture between the university and a private Davis firm, Onsite Power Systems Inc. The system employs anaerobic bacteria -- microbes that function in the absence of oxygen -- to break down waste in large tanks, yielding copious volumes of flammable gas. Ultimately, the plant will handle 8 tons of garbage a day, said its designer, Ruihong Zhang, a professor of biological and agricultural engineering at UC Davis. Each ton of slops will produce enough gas to supply 10 homes, but for now, enthusiasts primarily see it as a way to fuel garbage trucks and other commercial vehicles while reducing landfill volume. The digesting process converts between 60 and 90 percent of organic solids to biogas, Zhang said.
10/27/06 - Australia drought sparks suicides
(The Aussie government is targeting about 900 million towards this, they SHOULD be buying the water generating machines which use cooling to condense large quantities of water directly from the air. See archive here. - JWD) Australia's severe drought has led to an alarming rise in the number of suicides among farmers. One farmer takes his life every four days, according to the national mental health body Beyond Blue. With the drought now in its sixth year, Australia's big dry is the worst in over a century. Farmers have been hardest hit, forced to make a living sometimes in dustbowl conditions, raising emaciated cattle. With no prospect of significant rainfall before the New Year, the situation has reached crisis point and hope is as scarce as rainfall. Many farmers are being forced to sell up, leaving land which often their families have worked on for generations. The suicide rate among farmers is already twice the national average. More than 300,000 rural Australians experience depression each year, but only a small number seek help. Australian farmers have long been known for their toughness and resilience, the very qualities which make them more reluctant to acknowledge any psychological problems. Loneliness, family breakdown and alcohol abuse are all common in rural communities.
10/27/06 - Gas Hogs tasked
A municipal council in southwest London is proposing a parking permits scheme that would reward people driving low-CO2 vehicles and, well, punish those who drive gas-guzzling monsters. Costs range from no charge to a 200-per-cent increase over the current rate based on how many grams of CO2 are released by a vehicle per kilometre driven. Smart Cars, Honda Insights and Toyota Priuses would be examples of cars on the low end of the scale, while Porche 911s, Range Rovers and Jaguar X types would be on the high end. The proposal goes before the council on Nov. 6 and the plan could be implemented before year's end. "The proposals, if implemented, will be a national first and are part of the administration's commitment to put sustainability at the heart of everything it does," according to a council news release.
10/27/06 - The Suntracker Skylight
The Suntracker One is an intriguing upgrade on the conventional skylight. Consisting of a 4’X4’ acrylic dome, the Suntracker uses three heliostatic mirrors that track the sun and reflect its light down into the building. A prismatic diffusion lens then spreads out the light through interior spaces. The reflective surfaces within the dome are run by a small solar-powered motor. Every ten minutes, the mirrors move to keep up with the sun as it moves across the sky, maximizing natural light in Winter months when days are shorter and the sun’s path is closer to the horizon. The Suntracker promises a 15%-35% ROI based on reduced energy costs for lighting and HVAC, lighting maintenance, increased personnel performance, and increased sales in retail applications. Nature’s Lighting, its maker, claims that the Suntracker bring in up to nine times more sunlight than a conventional skylight. Individual units are expected to generate the equivalent of 800 watts of fluorescent lighting each.
10/27/06 - Neurochip Acts As A Second Neuro Cortex
Researchers at the University of Washington (UW) are working on an implantable electronic chip that may help establish new nerve connections in the part of the brain that controls movement. Their most recent study, to be published in the Nov. 2, 2006, edition of Nature, showed such a device can induce brain changes in monkeys lasting more than a week. Strengthening of weak connections through this mechanism may have potential in the rehabilitation of patients with brain injuries, stroke, or paralysis. When awake, the brain continuously governs the body's voluntary movements. This is largely done through the activity of nerve cells in the part of the brain called the motor cortex. These nerve cells, or neurons, send signals down to the spinal cord to control the contraction of certain muscles, like those in the arms and legs. The possibility that these neural signals can be recorded directly and used to operate a computer or to control mechanical devices outside of the body has been driving the rapidly expanding field of brain-computer interfaces, often abbreviated BCI. The recent Nature study suggests that the brain's nerve signals can be harnessed to create changes within itself. The researchers tested a miniature, self-contained device with a tiny computer chip. The devices were placed on top of the heads of monkeys who were free to carry out their usual behaviors, including sleep. Called a Neurochip, the brain-computer interface was developed by Mavoori for his doctoral thesis. "The Neurochip records the activity of motor cortex cells," Fetz explained, "It can convert this activity into a stimulus that can be sent back to the brain, spinal cord, or muscle, and thereby set up an artificial connection that operates continuously during normal behavior. This recurrent brain-computer interface creates an artificial motor pathway that the brain may learn to use to compensate for impaired pathways." Jackson found that, when the brain-computer interface continuously connects neighboring sites in the motor cortex, it produces long-lasting changes. Namely, the movements evoked from the recording site changed to resemble those evoked from the stimulation site. The researchers said that a likely explanation for these changes is the strengthening of pathways within the cortex from the recording to the stimulation site. Timing is critical for creating these connections, the researchers said. The conditioning effect occurs only if the delay between the recorded activity and the stimulation is brief enough. The changes are produced in a day of continuous conditioning with the recurrent brain-computer interface, but last for many days after the circuit is turned off.
10/27/06 - U.S. Space Policy will push the world closer to a space arms race
The NSP reads, in part, "The United States considers space capabilities… vital to its national interests. Consistent with this policy, the United States will: preserve its rights, capabilities, and freedom of action in space; dissuade or deter others from either impeding those rights or developing capabilities intended to do so; take those actions necessary to protect its space capabilities; respond to interference; and deny, if necessary, adversaries the use of space capabilities hostile to U.S. national interests; The policy clearly conveys that the United States considers itself accountable to no one for its military actions in space, says Michael Krepon, cofounder of the Henry L. Stimson Center, a nonpartisan Washington think tank that promotes international security. It also rejects nonmilitary initiatives that include some form of arms control, even if such initiatives would improve the safety and security of U.S. satellites. This is not the first time the United States has asserted what it terms an "unhindered" right to act in space. The 1996 NSP, drafted by the Clinton administration, had the same central theme. The difference, according to Theresa Hitchens, an analyst with the Center for Defense Information, is that the new policy not only dismisses the rights of other space-faring powers but is actively hostile to the concept of collective security. It signals that the United States no longer regards space as a cooperative environment, she says, undercutting 40 years of tradition that has kept competition and conflict in space at a minimum.
10/27/06 - Brazil Bus Firm Powers Fleet on Biofuels
A bus company in Sao Paulo is now powering part of its fleet with a new mix of biofuels and diesel in an effort to curb emissions and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. The mix _ a blend of 30 percent biodiesel, 8 percent alcohol and 62 percent petroleum diesel _ will eventually be used by 1,900 buses, about a quarter of Sao Paulo's entire bus fleet, said Paulo Mendes, director of B100, which was created by the Itaim Paulista bus company to research alternative fuels. Brazil has been a leader in the development of biofuels, with ethanol providing about 17 percent of the country's fuel needs. Brazil also will start requiring that biodiesel be added to regular diesel at a rate of 2 percent in 2008. By the year 2013, trucks will have to run on 5 percent biodiesel.
10/27/06 - World's Fastest Text Messager Loses to Voice Recognition
When the cell phone screens cleared, the 18-year-old world's fastest text messenger was handed his first head-to-head defeat Tuesday: a voice recognition computer had bested his record time on a complicated 27-word message by 66 percent. Two Nuance employees also participated: one using a cell phone with a predictive text program that turns partial words into full ones and another with a full QWERTY keyboard on a Blackberry. Neither came close to Cook, who used basic "3-key typing," in which several letters share the same number key on a phone pad. To get the desired character it can take three or more clicks. Each contestant took turns completing a text message in three rounds of increasing difficulty. All spelling, grammar and capitalization had to match the sample text precisely. The first message, "I'm on my way. I'll be there in 30 minutes," took over a minute with the predictive software, 29 seconds with a Blackberry and 16 seconds for the record holder. The voice recognition software finished it in under 8 seconds. The final message was a duplicate of one Cook won the world record for. It read "The razor toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygo centrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human." Cook finished in 48 seconds, worse than his record 42 seconds. But it took the Nuance program just 16 seconds before the 20-foot screens set up on either side of the contestants flashed red to signal the finish. The software comes ready to understand about 500,000 words in English. Thompson could not say how much the service would cost consumers because it will likely vary by carrier. He said it will be available in some new telephones, but existing phones can download software for use as well. Nuance envisions it as a tool for drivers and others on the go who want to send text messages, instead of calling or leaving a voicemail, but do not have the time to sit and type them out.
10/27/06 - Math theory bags lotto jackpot
A syndicate of university professors and tutors in Britain thought it could also be related to the principles of mathematical probability. And their theory was spectacularly vindicated this week when they matched all six numbers and scooped the $13 million lotto jackpot. The syndicate, made up of 17 staff members at Bradford University and College, bagged the big prize by using two boxes, 49 pieces of paper and a large amount of brainpower. Syndicate leader Barry Waterhouse, 41, who works at the design and printing section of the university, explained that the syndicate had been doing the National Lottery for eight years without conspicuous success after it started in 1994 with each member picking his or her own line. "We just weren't winning with the numbers being picked that way, so we thought of a different method which would mean all 49 numbers would be used,' Mr Waterhouse said. The syndicate then set up a computer program to check the numbers every week. It took four years and a total outlay of $8700, but on Saturday, the formula succeeded. Matching the winning numbers and the bonus ball, they hit the jackpot. "We just thought that if all the numbers are in use, we must have a good chance of winning and it has proved so, though you never really think it will happen to you, "Mr Waterhouse said.
10/26/06 - Drought creates water theft - Mad Max where are you?
DROUGHT-ravaged farmers heading into summer are facing a new and previously unknown threat: water bandits. Police at tiny Gundaroo village near Canberra today Wednesday said they were hunting thieves who used crowbars to crack open water tanks and steal the precious contents. In nearby Bungendore, water has been stolen from village dams and tanks, while 50 kilometers away in Yass police have reports of theft from the city's near-dry river. In the past two weeks, the Government has announced more than $900 million in drought relief as farmers face the driest period for a generation and with the hottest summer months still ahead. More than 90 per cent of the most populous state of New South Wales is in drought, with many farmers enduring five continuous years of below average rainfall. Ms Hayman said she and partner Zed Zawalski lost 75,000 litres from their small Gundaroo olive grove and cattle farm while they were out. Nearby, in the village main street, Kerry Wagstaff said thieves emptied two 30,000-litre water tanks, used to provide water for the house and for their vegetable garden.
10/26/06 - Still Miles to Go for the Plug-In Vehicle
Commercially available batteries will not store enough electricity to move a full-size car more than about 60 or 70 miles, enough to meet most drivers’ needs on most days but not a very attractive candidate in the auto showroom. So what about a car with enough battery power for its first few dozen miles, and a gasoline engine to handle the rest? Enter the plug-in hybrid, or rather, the concept of a plug-in hybrid. The idea is to expand on the gasoline-electric hybrids already on the road, which charge the battery from the gasoline engine. With a bigger battery pack, charged from an electric outlet, drivers could go the first few gallons’ worth every day on electricity instead, the theory goes. Comparing total miles driven with the gasoline consumed, advocates say the plug-ins will travel 80 miles or more on a gallon. Hymotion sells a kit that adds a plug-in battery to the Toyota Prius. A crucial problem is that the Prius battery will last well over 100,000 miles, but only because it is babied. It is seldom charged above 60 percent of capacity, or allowed to fall below 40 percent. If it were charged fully and allowed to run down, like a laptop battery, it would, over hundreds of cycles, lose its ability to hold a charge, Toyota says. That suggests a replacement cost in the thousands of dollars.
10/26/06 - Hybridyne to Distribute Hybrid Wind / Solar Power Light
The Kazekamome Remote Hybrid System is an advanced Hybrid (Vertical-Axis wind & PV solar-powered) remotely emplaced lamp standard with optional Wi-Fi security video webcam. Since it is powered totally by renewable energy sources, it can be installed anywhere without expensive trenching and wiring, and consumes no electricity. Panasonic's Kazekamome Remote Hybrid System is a stand-alone power source using the wind and sun to generate energy and store it within the internal batteries for use later. The system is ideal for use as a lighting fixture, for security applications, remote asset monitoring and as an advertising platform.
10/26/06 - Dishing out power with a solar engine
A company is trying to prove that a 19th-century design known as the Stirling engine has a place in the emerging market for clean energy. Infinia, based in Kennewick, Wash., plans to release a dish--which will look like a large satellite TV receiver--that will use the sun's heat to generate electricity. The great majority of solar companies are racing to squeeze as much electricity as possible out of photovoltaic cells built from silicon or other materials. By contrast, Infinia's solar Stirling engine, which concentrates light from the parabolic dish, is a mechanical device, which the company claims can be more cost-effective than traditional solar panels. "This design means that we can make more electricity for about half the relative space as photovoltaics," said Jim Clyde, Infinia's vice president of sales and marketing. "It won't be half the cost when we first get going, but it will be for significantly less capital cost." Standard solar photovoltaic panels are generally 12 percent to 15 percent efficient at converting light to electricity, though some can go up to 22 percent. Infinia's planned 3-kilowatt Stirling engine will operate at 24 percent efficiency, Clyde said. Stirling engines were invented in the 19th century as an alternative to steam engines. A Stirling motor has a closed cylinder that houses a gas, such as hydrogen, and a piston. Applied heat expands the gas to move the piston that, in turn, pumps other mechanisms, such as a crank, to create energy.
10/26/06 - Warning over Crushed Pills
Crushing pills to make them easier to swallow can cause serious side-effects that can sometimes be fatal, experts have warned. The group, including pharmacists and lawyers, says pills often have special coatings that affect how they are released into the body. It is estimated that 60% of older people have trouble swallowing medication. Previous research has shown 80% of nurses in care homes resort to crushing tablets to help residents take medicines.
An estimated 75 million prescriptions a year are associated with adverse drug reactions. Drugs that should not be crushed include the breast cancer drug tamoxifen and morphine. Crushing tamoxifen could result in the person who is breaking up the tablet breathing in medication, which can be particularly dangerous if they are pregnant. Crushing morphine could lead to a fatally fast release of the drug. Nifedipine, the angina and blood pressure drug, can cause dizziness, headaches and an increased risk of stroke or heart attack when crushed up. In addition, special coatings can mean a drug is absorbed over a long period of time, so a patient only has to take a tablet once a day, rather than several times a day. If these medications are crushed, the drug is released a lot quicker than it is designed to be.
10/26/06 - HOWTO turn photos into Lichtensteins
This simple, terrific tutorial explains how to photoshop any photo into a Roy Lichtenstein-style pop-art image. It looks like it would be readily adaptable to free Photoshop alternatives like The Gimp, too.
10/26/06 - Accountants patent tax-dodges
US accountants are filing for patents on tax-dodges: Why would Congress pass a law allowing such a thing? The answer is that it did not. But a U.S. appeals court ruled in 1998 that business methods could be patented, and since then the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued 50 tax- strategy patents, with many more pending.
10/26/06 - Glowing LED light Nalgene bottle
I've been playing with a demo unit of the Firefly, a battery-powered LED lid for a standard nalgene bottle that turns it into a glowing lantern. It's simple and reliable, and if you fill your bottle with water, it casts a soft, peaceful light. I hung it on my balcony and it looks great out there. / Nalgene = But the Nalgene bottle in particular has inspired a fanatical following, with cyber-disciples waxing aquatic about their "Nalge" on the Internet, "Nalgene bottle decorating" workshops at youth centers and kids who take the brand's unbreakable reputation as a dare. The 32-ounce gray widemouth with blue cap is the classic edition, but sizes now range from 16 to 48 ounces and, depending on the model, come in colors like sapphire blue, pretty pink and fire-engine red.
10/26/06 - Laptops, please: US law permits search, seizure at the border
One of the more heated topics under discussion at a meeting of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives this week involves a little-known aspect of US border law. Snip from an article by Joe Sharkey in the New York Times: U.S. customs officials have the authority to scrutinize the contents of travelers' laptops and even confiscate them for a period of time, without giving a reason. Appeals are under way in some confiscation cases, but the law is clear. "They don't need probable cause to perform these searches under the current law," said Tim Kane, a Washington lawyer who is researching the matter for corporate clients. "They can do it without suspicion or without really revealing their motivations." What about encrypted drives and home folders (ie. TrueCrypt or FileVault on Mac). What happens to a citizen if they refuse to give up the password? Can they be arrested or legally barred from entering the U.S.?
10/26/06 - Microwave-oven gun for hacker fun
A directed beam of microwave energy can destroy electronics by inducing high voltages in chips and wires. Such a beam could also burn a person's skin, or even detonate improvised explosive devices by exciting unstable chemicals. A megawatt magnetron is normally needed to make the beam, though, and these are big and expensive beasts that need water cooling. However, two inventors from Albuquerque, New Mexico in the US, reckon there is cheaper way to get the power. Simply gather together a stack of magnetrons ripped out of consumer microwave ovens, and lock their output together so that they combine into one coherent beam. What is more, they say, the trick can be done mechanically. Microwave magnetrons come with a tube-shaped component that controls the output signal. The idea is to arrange a dozen or so side by side and have a small metal plate in front that reflects some of the energy from each tube back into the mouth of adjacent ones. This should make all the magnetrons resonate in synchronisation, the inventors reckon. Three hundred consumer devices, rated at 1 kilowatt each, could combine to generate megawatt pulses from the back of a mobile generator. The only puzzle is why the US government Patent Office has published an application that might explain to anyone, including terrorists, how to build such a weapon. - United States Patent Application 20060208672 - Achenbach; Robert Parker - September 21, 2006 - High-power microwave system employing a phase-locked array of inexpensive commercial magnetrons
10/26/06 - Free Windows Defender - AntiSpyWare
Hot on the heels of Internet Explorer 7 comes the final version of Windows Defender, the anti-spyware tool that's been in beta for nearly two years. Windows Defender, previously known as Windows AntiSpyware, offers real-time protection from spyware threats. The big news about the final release: It's still free, and Microsoft is even offering two free phone-support calls per user.
10/25/06 - DNA executing computer programs
Scientists and Engineers from a private New Zealand research company have scored an international breakthrough by developing the ability to store and execute computer programmes within a microscopic DNA Pharmaceutical crystal. An entirely new form of Data Codon has been produced in this breakthrough which enables an ordinary laptop computer to generate data in a form that can be synthetically encoded into a DNA Tablet and perform high speed computing functions at a molecular~switch level, once digested or inserted into the living biological system. He says a huge advantage of the discovery is that ‘DNA computing’ can be used both with existing computing technology but more particularly open up the scientific frontier for revolutionary new Bio-technology and bio-computing capability, the implications of which are staggering. When the new DNA Tablet’s ability to encode and decode data to a DNA molecule is combined with the molecular potential processing capacity , it produces the ability to store unprecedented libraries of data , as well as process volumes of computing programs within an organic molecule. This company’s technology produces the potential for millions of coding instructions or logic gates to be contained within a DNA crystal only 20 nanometers in size. This would effectively create ‘Bio-computers’ with capacities and processing power exponentially greater than that presently achieved by current silicon technologies.
10/25/06 - Cure Finder
Scientists are building a searchable database that reveals the hidden connections between drugs and diseases with the click of a mouse. It should make the search for cures, even for rare diseases, a much faster process. Scientists at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard hope a new tool called the "Connectivity Map" will make it much faster and simpler to find cures, even for rare diseases, by revealing the hidden connections between drugs and diseases almost instantaneously. A team led by Todd Golub and Justin Lamb created a searchable database of information from DNA chips, which monitor the activity of thousands of genes, revealing what genes are turned on or off by specific diseases and treatments, "thereby identifying a match between a signature of a disease and a signature of a drug," says Golub, director of the Broad Institute's cancer program and investigator at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. "In a similar way," he adds, "one might think about matching fingerprints in a database or doing, for example, a Google search." The team's pilot database included genetic profiles of 164 bioactive compounds, 50 of which were drugs already FDA-approved for human use. To generate the genetic signatures, human cells grown in the lab were individually exposed to the drug substances for a fixed period of time. The genetic material isolated from these exposed cells could then give a snapshot of the compound's effects on the cells' gene expression. To test whether the database would work correctly at all, the researchers created genetic signatures of disease states using the same method, including a form of childhood leukemia and prostate cancer. The map was able to correctly match the diseases with their existing treatments, and also predicted new potential treatments.
10/25/06 - Thanks for the Cheap Gas, Mr. Hitler!
How Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa perfected one of the world's most exciting new fuel sources. The circuitous travels of the Fischer-Tropsch process, a chemical technique to convert natural gas and coal into liquid fuels, provide an object lesson in historical irony. Used by the Nazis to make oil from coal during World War II, it was commercialized by the century's second-most-odious racial supremacist regime in the 1950s through South Africa's state energy company. Now, that privatized company, Sasol, may help liberate Western democracies (and non-Western ones, like India) from the grip of crude oil produced largely by loathsome authoritarian regimes. The process that Sasol uses to turn coal or natural gas into liquid fuels was first developed by two chemists working in Germany in the 1920s: Franz Fischer and Hans Tropsch. The two men died in the 1930s. But their invention was used by the Nazis to fuel the Wehrmacht and the Luftwaffe. After World War II, the vast oil fields of Arabia made it uneconomic for most free nations to pursue the technology. Transportation, which accounts for about 40 percent of the world's energy use, relies overwhelmingly on liquid fuels produced from oil. But oil supplies are (a) controlled by regimes that are politically unstable and frequently hostile to the United States and (b) in danger of depletion. Meanwhile, the world is blessed with vast reserves of natural gas and, particularly, coal, that reside under soil that is more congenial to democracy. The United States, for example, is the Saudi Arabia of coal, with 200-plus years of reserves.
10/25/06 - The power of the Future
Gas turbine technology will further evolve with blade developments in aerodynamic design, cooling, anti-corrosion coatings and thermal barriers. Siemens points to its past record where the non-cooled blades of 1975 output 0.7MW per blade in a gas temperature of 900?C. Today, film-cooled blades output 2MW per blade in a gas temperature of 1400?. With the recent unveiling of Siemen's latest offerings, the future is here now with the development of the world's largest and most efficient gas turbines, the SGT5-8000H, with an output of 340MW; and the combined cycle SCC5-8000H with an output of 530MW. Siemens says this will make a major contribution to the responsible utilisation of increasingly scarce resources. The turbine’s technology increases the efficiency of combined gas and steam generation from 58 to 60 per cent. And Siemens Power Generation has just launched a gas turbine-based system to help destroy volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The innovative technology, called SGT-300 VOC, is based on a gas turbine, which ingests and destroys volatile organic compounds while simultaneously generating electricity and thermal energy for the facility in which it is installed. A heat-recovery steam generator can be used to capture the thermal energy and raise steam for use in the client's process or it can be used in a steam turbine to generate additional electricity.
10/25/06 - Aquatic car drives with 'oooomph'
With its snazzy snout, convertible top, Corvette V8 engine and jet "impeller" -- the stainless-steel cone protruding from the rear that propels it through water -- the Hydra Spyder is poised to become the first, mass-produced amphibious automobile in America. "It's incredibly nimble in the water. The Spyder turns smoothly, docks easily," the 46-year-old inventor boasts. To switch the Hydra Spyder into "marine mode," the driver simply presses a button, which drops the clutch, disengages the road drive, shifts the transmission into aquatic duty, and retracts the wheels. The jet-drive kicks in then, allowing the Hydra Spyder to plane across water like a speedboat at greater than 50 mph. Oooomph does come at a cost: Base price is $155,000 -- to which can be added all kinds of extras, including heated seats ($1,000), a custom entertainment system for in-Spyder cinema ($5,000), Lamborghini door systems ($2,000), and teak interior trim ($1,500).
10/25/06 - Bioneers pioneer alternate energy
Turbines can keep fuel bills down in remote villages hit hard by prices. Martina Dabo, the wind program manager for the Alaska Energy Authority, said the authority is working with communities to get wind turbines pumping in remote, off-the-grid parts of the state. "Wind is the fastest growing source of energy," Dabo said. Its time may have come. Energy costs are soaring and some Bush communities face unpayable fuel bills that threaten the survival of basic public services. Wind turbines could help. And, they don't contribute to global warming, she said. Alaska has a lot of wind, and that's a good start. But the biggest needs are in remote places, which makes construction a challenge. Huge pieces of equipment have to be flown to tiny, roadless villages. Sometimes bears attack and destroy equipment set up in their territory. Several communities already use local wind power systems -- sets of giant windmills that turn wind into electricity -- including Kotzebue, Kasigluk and Toksook Bay. The Alaska Energy Authority is working with other agencies toward establishing a wind farm on Fire Island near Anchorage. Using alternative energy makes people extremely conservative with energy use -- they don't leave lights on unless they're being used. Jessica Miller said her family was always watching the weather because they depended on it for electricity. And when the family system was still in its infancy, she learned to read by kerosene lamp. "Alternative energy is a great idea. I know it can work," she said. "It surprises me that more people don't try it." The costs of getting set up can be steep, but over the years, not having utility bills adds up to savings. A small turbine can cost from $3,000 to $35,000, according to a guide from the U.S. Department of Energy called "Small Wind Electric Systems." The length of time it takes to pay back that investment depends on a lot of factors.
10/25/06 - Fitzpatrick Articles website
(If you have some time, definitely read some of these incredibly interesting files. - JWD) A totally fascinating series of articles written by Daniel Fitzpatrick and based on his Theory of Everything (TOE) according to Ampere's concepts. Ampere showed us how spacetime essentially works. But Ampere wasn't thinking about spacetime because he hadn't any idea way back then that space and time were essentially one thing. It took Minkowsky---one of Einstein's teachers---to realize this after he saw what Einstein had come up with. If we see each different frequency spin/orbit system as having a different spacetime realm then each of these also must have a distinctly different "spacetime interval". Saul Perlmutter's group studied the supernovas and found their expansion seems to be accelerating which has since been proven by others. Even though Saul Perlmutter discovered this acceleration, he also knew it could not be discerned from Einstein's original cosmological constant. Therefore he knew and published that this repulsive force equal and opposite to gravity---first predicted by Einstein---exists between every star, galaxy and supercluster keeping them apart exactly like things in the microcosm are kept apart. What Perlmutter has shown us is that gravity can no longer be seen as a monopole force. Gravity must now be seen as a bipolar force exactly like the other bipolar forces. What scientists presently see as the speed of light is something entirely different. It's something no one except Dr. Milo Wolff has thought of. It is really our spacetime frame rate. It's a scalar resonance rate. It's the movie picture frame rate that the electrons, that you are made of, are rebuilding themselves and you. You can detect transverse waves like light, radio and water waves that travel mainly in one plane but you cannot detect a scalar wave because it is 3D like the multiple skins of an onion. Instead of seeing individual scalar waves, you see the complete 3D onion that they make. Every object you see is a scalar wave entity. / These concepts are not new, for example, see the over 100 year old, highly prescient simplified version at Specific Speed as well as Phase Conjugation and A Practical Usage for Phase Conjugation by our late friend Peter Kelly.
10/25/06 - Small is Useless: Micro generation can’t solve climate change
Renewable micro generation has been grossly overhyped. Those who maintain that our own homes can produce all the renewable electricity and heat they need have harmed the campaign to stop climate chaos, by sowing complacency and misdirecting our efforts. Bill Dunster, who designed the famous BedZed zero-carbon development outside London, published a brochure claiming that “up to half of your annual electric needs can be met by a near silent micro wind turbine.”...To provide the 50% Bill Dunster advertises, you would need a machine 4 metres in diameter. The lateral thrust it exerted would rip your house to bits. Similar constraints affect all micro renewables: a report by a team at Imperial College shows that if 50% of our homes were fitted with solar water heaters, they would produce 0.056 exajoules of heat, or 2.3% of our total demand; while AEA Technology suggests that domestic heat pumps could supply only 0.022 eJ of the UK’s current heat consumption, or under 1%. This doesn’t mean they are not worth installing, just that they can’t solve the problem by themselves. Far from shutting down the national grid, as the Green MEP Caroline Lucas has suggested, we should be greatly expanding it, in order to produce electricity where renewable energy is most abundant. This means, above all, a massive investment in offshore windfarms. A recent government report suggests there is a potential offshore wind resource off the coast of England and Wales of 3,200TWh. High voltage direct current cables, which lose much less electricity in transmission than an AC network, would allow us to make use of a larger area of the continental shelf than before. This means we can generate more electricity more reliably, avoid any visual impact from the land and keep out of the routes taken by migratory birds. Much bigger turbines would realise economies of scale hitherto unavailable.
10/25/06 - Scientists 'too quick' to judge outsiders
Scientists may say they are dispassionate defenders of the unfettered pursuit of truth. But history suggests they are often guilty of being irrational and narrow-minded, says an Australian philosopher. Aberrant science can involve the use of methods or the arrival at conclusions the majority don't agree with and is often shunned as if it was fraudulent, he says. And yet, says Little, some aberrant science is by honest hardworking scientists who produce very important results. While fraud is clearly an undesirable form of aberrant science, Little says those whose only crime is to use unusual methods or reach unusual conclusions should not be treated with the same contempt. Instead, he says, they should be greeted with open-mindedness, a feature that is supposed to be the hallmark of good science.
10/25/06 - Ponds vanish; experts blame permafrost loss
4-YEAR STUDY: Fifty percent of ponds in subarctic boreal regions have disappeared in last 50 years. Global warming is causing permafrost to melt, allowing thousands of ponds to shrink across Alaska, according to a new study. The ponds are typically formed when depressions in the ground are filled with water that isn't able to drain, usually because of permafrost beneath the pond. The shrinking ponds could have several environmental impacts, including lowering the water table for migratory birds, which could affect their reproduction. The dryer landscape also could mean higher levels of carbon dioxide would be released into the atmosphere as the carbon stored in the usually wet Alaska soil decomposes as the soil dries, McGuire said.
10/25/06 - The Fall Elections - Follow the Dollars
All across the political world, commentators and journalists have been remarking on the strong chance Democrats have to reclaim the House of Representatives and perhaps even the Senate from a beleaguered Republican party. For many in the media, a Democratic victory in the fall elections has become almost axiomatic, it would seem, but are Democrats counting their eggs before they've hatched? Barron's has conducted a study which ignores poll statistics, instead focusing on the funds raised by the candidates. Their analysis sees Republicans retaining control of both houses of the legislature, though with diminished majorities. Barron's insists that the method is reliable, even if it puts them at odds with the conventional pollster wisdom, and says that they have used it successfully in the past. Barron's argues that a "cash advantage has spelled victory about 89% of the time since 1996."
10/25/06 - Malicious Code is More Covert, Less Recognisable
Websense Report Shows Malicious Code is More Covert, Less Recognisable and More Targeted Toward Financial Gain. Report reveals increase in malicious sites using code from easy-to-use toolkits designed for criminals with no hacking experience; 100% increase in websites designed to install keyloggers, screen scrapers and other forms of crimeware. Not only has malicious code become more sophisticated, but the infrastructure supporting its creation and spread has also become more complex. Of the sites designed to steal credentials, almost 15% are derived from toolkits, an emerging tactic from the hacker community. These kits, made by professional malicious code writers, are often for sale on the internet and allow non-sophisticated users to launch sophisticated attacks against operating system exploits and vulnerabilities. The criminal motive of attacks has also become more apparent as traditional hacking for fun has been replaced with activities designed to steal confidential data to reap financial rewards. The report notes a 100% increase in sites designed to install keyloggers, screen scrapers and other forms of crimeware. Conversely, Websense has seen more than a 60% drop in websites designed merely to change user preferences, such as browser settings.
10/25/06 - No Penalty Early Retirement?
I heard on WTOP radio the following; "Using Rule 72T for early retirement. Quit your job. Roll your 401K over to an IRA, then ask the IRA for an 'Equal Substantial Distribution' which will result in no penalties." - (I don't know if this is true, but its worth checking out if you want to bale out of work earlier in life. - JWD)
10/25/06 - Daniel Cook 1871 US Patent 119825 - Free Energy?
(Thanks to James Tabor for bringing this to our attention. - JWD) Regarding the 10/24/06 free energy circuit, James Tabor noticed a distinct similarity to an almost identical circuit patented in 1871. In the patent, Cook writes; "Improvement in Induction Coils - My invention relates to the combination of two or more simple or compound helices and iron cores or magnets in such a manner as to produce a constant electric current without the aid of a galvanic battery...The iron core A may be a solid bar or a bundle of iron wire...Helices alone with large quantities of wire will produce similar results...A ribbon spiral may be substituted for the secondary helix, say of three, six, twelve, or twenty-four inches in width and of any convenient length, but always of sufficient length to raise the tension of its terminal current to a degree necessary to reproduce itself by its action on the primary helix...In the use of compound helices it is important that the secondary coil should be wound on in the same direction as the primary coil, and that the secondary poles or wires should connect to the OPPOSITE poles of the primary coil B...The action will then be as follows; The terminal secondary current of the secondary helix C will circulate through the opposite primary coil B while at the same instant a terminal secondary current from the primary helix B will be developed and circulate through the opposite secondary helix C, both currents flowing in the same direction in the opposite helices B C, and produce a combined magnetic action upon the iron bar A in the center; the opposing intial secondary currents of the two helices B C being overpowered do not manifest themselves in the main circuit D of the battery, there being eight distinct currents developed in the action of one entire circuit of two pairs of helices, two terminal and two initial secondary currents to each pair of helices, the four initial secondaries constantly opposing the circulation of the four terminal secondary currents,; but the initial secondaries being of much lower tension and less in quantity than the terminal secondary are consumed or taken up by the terminal, leaving a sufficient surplus terminal to overcome the resistance of the primary wire and charge the bar A to a degree necessary to reproduce itself in an opposite secondary coil. By this means a constant current is kept up in the several helices...The mode of producing or starting the action in the helices consists in the use of a steel or electromagnet, or a helix, around one of the helices, and causing a secondary current in the enclosed helix by means of a battery current in the outer one; the action then in either the simple or compound helices increases in quantity to the maximum capacity of the wires to conduct with the existing tension of the current. If, now, the circuit is broken the current instantly ceases, and can only be restored by the same means that it was first produced; hence to alow the use of the main circuit for common purposes I introduce a rheostat or a resistance of any kind into the circuit, so that a small portion of the current only will flow along the resistance, by which means the action in the helices is feebly maintained when the main circuit is broken, and instantly restored when it is closed to its full force...The alternate changes of the iron cores or magnets may be used for producing electro-magnetic motion, or motion to a wheel of any suitable device..."
10/24/06 - Claim of Free Energy Circuit
Click the above link at zpenergy.com to see an enlarged version of the circuit. As you can see in the small image, there are two circuits which serve as toroidal stepup transformers. It looks like when one transformer is triggered, part of the AC output is rectified, then directed to the input of the second circuit which in turn re-triggers the first circuit ad infinitum to produce a self-sustaining energy source.
10/24/06 - Spidrons produce Swirling Seas, Crystal Balls
Spirals of triangles crinkle into intricate structures. A field of triangles crumples and twists into a wavy crystalline sea. A crystal ball sprouts spiraling, labyrinthine passages. Faceted bricks stack snugly into a tidy, compact structure. Underlying each of these objects is a remarkable geometric shape made up of a sequence of triangles-a spiral polygon that resembles a seahorse's tail. A standard spidron consists of two alternating, adjoining sequences of equilateral and isosceles triangles. Start with an equilateral triangle. Draw lines from the three corners of the triangle to a spot at its center, creating three identical isosceles triangles, each with angles of 30°, 120°, and 30°. Then, draw a reflection of one of these isosceles triangles so that it projects from the side of the original triangle. Next, make a new equilateral triangle, using one of the two short sides of the jutting isosceles triangle as a base. Repeat the procedure again and again, producing a spiraling sequence of ever-smaller triangles. Erase the original equilateral triangle, and join two of these structures along the long side of the largest isosceles triangle to create the s-shape of a spidron. Spidron reliefs could be used as shock absorbers or crumple zones in vehicles, Erdély says. Spidron surfaces could serve as flexible acoustic walls or solar panels. Spidron-based structures could also be used as blocks for builders-or construction toys. Pelletier is excited by the possibilities of what he describes as the "expanding spidron universe." For example, he, van Ballegooijen, Buhler Allen, and Erdély have this year come up with various novel types of tilings, reliefs, and space-filling units, including ones that don't have regularly repeating patterns. They've also used spidrons to construct many innovative three-dimensional forms-rings, nests, linkages, labyrinths, polyhedrons, and more. "We've increased what you can do with these things by an order of magnitude in just a few months," Pelletier says. / Spidron Page worth checking out.
10/24/06 - A Practical Fuel-Cell Power Plant
GE's advance allows for a solid-oxide fuel cell to use coal-based fuels at costs approaching that of conventional power plants. researchers at GE have demonstrated a manufacturing method that assembles layers of ceramic and electrolyte materials cheaply so that the final product can be built for about $800 a kilowatt, which starts to approach the $500-to-$550-per-kilowatt cost of building a conventional gas-fired power plant. GE's six-kilowatt prototype achieves 49 percent efficiency in converting fuel into electricity, which compares favorably with the 35 percent efficiency of conventional coal-burning power plants. "I do believe GE has established a new state of the art," says Wayne Surdoval, technology manager for fuel cells at the National Energy Technology Laboratory, part of the U.S. Department of Energy, which is funding this project and others aimed at producing better solid-oxide fuel cells. "The bottom line," he adds, is that the GE prototype "is a particularly inexpensive fuel cell to make. Basically, you are using simple manufacturing techniques using fairly inexpensive materials in the cell." Surdoval likens the process to making pizza dough. Three sets of materials--representing the two electrodes and one electrolyte that make up each layer of a fuel cell--are mixed and put through two rollers that squeeze them. "You have three different doughs, you flatten each one, then layer them, then flatten them," he explains. "Then basically, you bake it." The process paves the way for mass manufacture, according to Kelley Fletcher, the advanced-technology leader for sustainable-energy programs at GE Global Research, in Niskayuna, NY. "People have made fuel cells that make more power, and people have also made ones that have done this efficiency level," he says. "But to do so in one package, and at the cost estimate that we have done, is the real achievement here." Previous prototypes have cost thousands of dollars per kilowatt to manufacture, he says.
10/24/06 - HIV Prefers Smokers
An article in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections suggests that smokers may be unwittingly modifying their immune systems, making them more vulnerable to infection by the HIV virus. Past studies have found that cigarette smoking is linked to a higher than normal chance of contracting other infections generally, including those that have been sexually transmitted. Out of six studies that assessed the association between cigarette smoking and becoming HIV positive, five found that smokers ran an increased risk of between 60 and 300 percent. The researchers speculate that tobacco smoke may enhance vulnerability to infection by modifying the structure of the lungs and changing an array of immune system responses, including curbs on the production of antibodies and the activity of infection fighting white cells. The authors suggest, perhaps not unsurprisingly, that encouraging people to give up smoking may also contribute to the effectiveness of HIV/AIDS prevention programs.
10/24/06 - Omnidirectional Robots Will Be “Dynamic And Graceful"
A new type of robot - dubbed "Ballbot" - that balances and moves on a single large ball, rather than legs or wheels. Created by Carnegie robotics boffin Ralph Hollis, Ballbot is a self-contained, battery-operated, omnidirectional robot that balances dynamically on a single urethane-coated metal sphere. Ballbot weighs 95 pounds and is the approximate height and width of a person. Because of its long, thin shape and ability to maneuver in tight spaces, Hollis says Ballbot has the potential to function and interact with people much more effectively than other types of robot. Ballbot has an onboard computer that reads balance information from its internal sensors, activating rollers that mobilize the ball on which it moves - something akin to how a mouse-ball moves. Hollis believes Ballbot provides an alternative to not only multi-wheeled robots, but also legged robots, which he says are complex and expensive. Hollis and his team have demonstrated Ballbot moving on carpeted surfaces and future plans include adding a head and a pair of arms. Swinging the arms, said Hollis, would help to rotate and balance the body. "We want to make Ballbot much faster, more dynamic and graceful," he said.
10/24/06 - Two Dimensional Atomic Crystal Computers
The discovery of a type of material that could lead to the development of faster, more powerful, atom-thick computers has earned a Briton one of the country's top physics prizes. The new category of material known as two-dimensional atomic crystals. The award honours physicists who have made a great contribution to science. That work made it possible to create a highly stable, flexible, strong and conductive substance called graphene. Composed of single layer of tightly packed carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb-shaped crystal lattice, graphene is made by splitting graphite into one-atom-thick layers. The high conductivity and the fact that electrons - negatively charged subatomic particles - travel along the sheet in a manner that mimics the speed of light could lead to the development of molecule-sized computer components.
10/24/06 - The Secret of Crystal Units
Eckhard Kantz wrote; "I confirm that I have received and thoroughly investigated best to my knowledge some multiple battery-like devices that deliver a continuous energy output without any energy input which would be visible to my (current) measurement equipment. The devices were provided by Marcus Reid, the developer and manufacturer of those units. I am an engineer for energy devices and had the pleasure to take over the task and responsibility for conducting all kinds of experiments on the received crystal units since August 2005 when I met Marcus Reid the first time." Recently a crystal unit running in continuous mode exceeded 3000 mAh electrical charge that was send through a 910 Ohm resistor. The achieved result outperforms the biggest available NiMH Akkumulator of baby cell size on the market which can deliver up to 2900 mAh.
10/24/06 - Fuel cell 'could slash bills'
Electricity bills could be slashed by up to 40 per cent thanks to a new home generator the size of a CD. The mini domestic power station replaces the pilot light in an everyday boiler and can generate heat and electricity at a fraction of the cost of normal power. The super-green device will also more than double energy savings, its British developer, Ceres Power, claims. The generator can do all this mainly by using cheaper materials at more efficient temperatures. Instead of components put together with expensive platinum, the cells are made largely from stainless steel and ceramics, using fairly standard low-cost manufacturing techniques. Fuel and air create a chemical reaction at an optimum temperature of 550C, generating enough electricity in the average home to make power stations obsolete, the company claims. Conversion of domestic boilers is said to be straight-forward, and cost about GBP2,500 the same as a conventional premium boiler. Although natural gas and oil can be used to power the cells, other fuels, including hydrogen, can be used, producing water rather than carbon dioxide as a by-product.
10/24/06 - Billiard Transistors Blasts Single Electrons Through Circuits
The "Ballistic Deflection Transistor" (BDT) works by bouncing individual electrons off deflectors, something akin to a game of billiards played at the atomic scale at unimaginable speeds. The Ballistic Deflection Transistor differs significantly in this functionality, as it works by bouncing the electrons into their chosen trajectories - using inertia to redirect for "free," instead of wrestling the electrons into place with brute energy. This means the BDT produces far less heat and runs far faster than standard transistors. The BDT resembles a roadway intersection, except in the middle of the intersection sits a triangular block. From the "south" an electron is fired, as it approaches the crossroads, it passes through an electrical field that pushes the electron slightly east or west. When the electron reaches the middle of the intersection, it "bounces" off one side of the triangle block and is deflected straight along either the east or west roads. In this way, if the electron current travels along the east road, it may be counted as a zero, and as a one if it travels down the west road. Diduck says a chip using BDTs would use very little power, create very little heat, be highly resistant to "noise" inherent in electronic systems, and should be easy to manufacture with current technologies. "We're talking about a chip speed measured in terahertz, a thousand times faster than today's desktop transistors" Diduck said. "We have to figure out how to test it because there's no such thing as a terahertz oscilloscope!"
10/24/06 - Battery developer claims hybrid car advance
Technology Research Laboratories Inc. (TRL, Research Triangle Park, N.C.) claims its battery technology can extend the range of hybrid electric vehicles to 75 miles or better per charge. The company claims its battery operates on physical chemistry principles different from conventional lead-acid batteries, and is made almost entirely of carbon and plastic materials. The company said it is initially targeting the "plug-in" hybrid-electric car market which has so far failed to mesh gears due to unreliable and expensive power sources. Battery disposal also remains an issue. TRL claims its testing showed that a four-passenger electric car be powered by less than 1,000 pounds of its batteries and could travel up to 100 miles on a single charge "depending [on] speed and road conditions." Total usable energy is 25 kW/hour, TRL said. Battery life, weight and cost have combined with a lack of battery charging capacity to slow consumer acceptance of electric cars. TRL is claiming a weight power density for its battery technology of up to 80 W per pound with continuous use and up to 200 W per pound at peak use.
10/24/06 - Australians discover male fertility pill
A tablet containing vitamins C and E, folate, zinc, lycopene and garlic oil has been found to help protect a man's sperm from damage caused by smoking and other infections. The study conducted in Australia found that the success of pregnancy doubled in the infertile couples who took the pill. University of Adelaide researcher Dr Kelton Tremellen, who conducted the study, says while infertility has often been seen as a women's issue, men's infertility accounts for more than 50 per cent of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatments.
10/24/06 - Study turns off tap for 'fountain of youth' hormone
The supplement DHEA is touted as a "fountain of youth" but it has no effect on muscle mass or strength, endurance or other markers of aging in elderly people, a new study finds. The body uses DHEA to make sex hormones. Based on limited human studies, DHEA is promoted as an anti-aging supplement, and high levels are linked with long life. Studies on rodents also suggest anti-aging effects, but since the animals make little DHEA they may not be a suitable research model. Nair's new, two-year study involved testing DHEA and testosterone supplements in 87 men and 57 women over the age of 60. Participants, who had low DHEA and testosterone levels when the study began, were randomly assigned to receive the supplements or a placebo. Although the treatments did raise hormone levels, "treatment with neither DHEA nor testosterone had any detectable effect on physical performance, insulin sensitivity, or the physical and mental components of the quality of life," the researchers said.
10/23/06 - Hack to automatically sequentially charge EV batteries
The following pages describe using relays with a high-current adjustable 13.5/15V power supply to automatically charge EV batteries one at a time, instead of concurrently in series. It will only work if you are not in a hurry to charge your pack. The advantage is charging with a less expensive power source, in this case an SP-500-13.5 36A supply, which cost about $325 Canadian at the time. There is no reason you couldn't use a less expensive supply - or if you have some way to limit the charging current. The next most expensive piece is the 30A relays, which cost about $4 each. - "It uses a 4020 counter that's pulsed by my dear friend the 555 to activate a series of relay pairs to switch a single charger sequentially between battery cells. A more advanced version could use a microcontroller to monitor the state of each cell to ensure even charging." (via hackaday.com)
10/23/06 - Will Internet evolve to a cross between 1984 and the Matrix?
The futurologist is only a step away from the cocktail-party doom-monger boring on about speed cameras, mobile-phone masts and shopping centres. The most contentious issue was privacy. The Pew researchers asked if greater transparency, aided by developments in surveillance, storage and communications technology, would make the world a better place. Just under half agreed, often with the proviso that privacy safeguards would be more needed than ever, because, as the Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award-winner Seth Finkelstein observed, "The difference between the open society and the police state is political, not technological." The other half had a far bleaker view. "The cost of unlimited transparency will not simply be privacy," wrote Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Centre. "It will be autonomy, freedom and individuality."
Other contentious scenarios imagined by Pew included a world where autonomous machines exert control over humanity, or where virtual reality becomes so compelling for a minority of users that they surrender reality to a perpetual Second Life. Paul Saffo of the Institute for the Future was with 42 per cent of respondents when he expressed the fear that "some time after 2020 our machines will become intelligent, evolve rapidly and end up treating us as pets. We can at least take comfort that there is one worse fate - becoming food - that is mercifully highly unlikely."
10/23/06 - Opening the commercial space frontier with sports
Last week, Taylor Dinerman wrote about space sports and space tourism, but focused entirely on rockets and rocket-based sports (see “Space sports and space power”, October 9, 2006). It left out a huge market in weightless sports that not only would provide a reason for tourists to go to space, but provide a reason for them to go again, as repeat customers. It is extremely important that such endeavors are profitable before going into orbit. The Rocket Racing League, launching later this week at the X Prize Cup in Las Cruces, provides an example of the business model that will make space sports happen. However, team-based weightless sports (versions of football, basketball, volleyball, etc.) may be the genre of entertainment that will carry the torch all the way into orbit. Weightlessness is a new environment, like snow or water, for which many different sports can be created. Since parabolic flights are available in the US, Russia, and Europe, and is anticipated to be available at the new Dubai and Singapore spaceports, dozens of different weightless sports can be invented that can transition to orbit quite easily, can occur at any airport around the world, and can be created with only trivial research and development costs. Once an economic case can be made for weightless sports, the sports-entertainment industry will back it financially.
10/23/06 - Free flyer service
October 2006, Week 3 - vFlyer.com - professional looking sales flyers generated for free. A flyer was created in a few seconds and it looked as good as a car company ad in a glossy magazine. We could have posted this to several online marketplaces with a single click at the vFlyer Web site. But if we wanted to post it to the two major online markets, eBay and Craig's List, we had to copy the HTML code and paste it into those sites. Actually, this turned out to be a simple cut and paste operation, with vFlyer showing us what to do. The flyers can also be e-mailed or printed. If you think people on a particular e-mail list would be interested in what you have to sell or trade, the flyer can be automatically inserted into each message. vFlyer also provides a report on how many "views" your flyer got. Later they're going to offer resume flyers for job seekers.
10/23/06 - Start your Engines / Science News - Sept 23, 2006
An automotive system designed to reduce toxic hydrocarbon emissions has received the checkered flag from mechanical engineers who examined the device. In the first 2 minutes after a car is started, some toxic fuel doesn't burn entirely and gets spit out the exhaust pipe. Up to 95 percent of a vehicle's hydrocarbon emissions occur during this warm-up period. The 'Onboard Distillation System' converts regular fuel into a highly volatile distillate that vaporizeds more easily as the engine warms up. This 'startup fuel' is kept in a separate tank that is accessed only during the first 20 seconds after ignition. Use of the system shows a decrease in the car's hydrocarbon emissions by 81 percent. (only at startup) Car manufacturers haven't produced the inexpensive system because they are focusing on making better catalytic converters instead of adjusting fuel volatility. / Why not install a $20, simple to construct and install device that can reduce emissions and improve mileage by up to 25% or greater? One of the '14 Ways to Save Money on Gas' as detailed in this eBook for $16.95.
10/23/06 - Winds of Change
THE car is filled up with biodiesel, the wind turbine is whizzing on the roof, the recycling boxes are filled to the brim and once you've finished turning the compost heap you're going online to order an organic veg box. Ten years ago, this image of domestic life would have prompted smirks and mutterings about 'sandal-wearing hippies'. How times have changed. Living an eco-friendly life has now become so mainstream that most of us do it without even noticing. In 2005, three-quarters of households said they had recycled one or more items in the past month. Scotland is now recycling or composting 24.4% of its 3.3 million tons of annual municipal waste - a huge jump from the 5.37% recorded in 2002. The Scottish Executive has set recycling targets at 30% by 2008 and 55% by 2020. "The biggest battle is to reduce waste, but it's also crucial to reuse and repair," he says. "The second-hand and charity sectors are more accessible now, which means that stuff that would previously have gone to landfill sites is being reused." Putting last season's fashions in a clothing bank, donating your old sofa to charity and depositing your wine bottles at the local recycling bin have become second nature to many of us, but the success of recycling could potentially be undermined.
10/23/06 - Underground heat gives light
A new kind of power plant could take advantage of widespread low-temperature geothermal sources in the U.S.. The plant, which went on-line this summer, could make geothermal power more common across the U.S. and lead to the use of low-temperature waste heat to produce electricity. Typically, geothermal sources at temperatures greater than 300 °F (177 °C) are used to generate electricity on a large scale, powering whole cities in a few cases, whereas lower-temperature sources provide heat, but not electricity, to single buildings. But the system created by the United Technologies Corp. (UTC) extracts electricity from the 165 °F (74 °C) water at the Chena Hot Springs Resort, 60 miles northeast of Fairbanks. “That’s amazing, because that beats the record for lowest temperature for a geothermal power plant,” says Roger Hill, a geothermal power researcher at Sandia National Laboratories. Hill, who was not involved in the project, says that naturally occurring low-temperature geothermal sources crop up across the U.S., and the new technology will make them accessible for electricity generation. The system also paves the way for using a byproduct from drilling oil and gas wells. “Ninety-five to 98% of what they pump out of the ground in Texas is hot water,” says Bruce Biederman, who leads the UTC project. “They either reinject that hot water or discard it. So, currently there’s a tremendous amount of resource that’s not being used,” amounting to billions of gallons. The power plant is essentially a cooling system that runs in reverse: instead of using energy to cause a temperature difference, like a refrigerator does, it converts that difference into energy. In this case, the refrigerator compressor becomes a turbine that is driven as heat vaporizes a refrigerant.
10/23/06 - What will it take? Iraqi youth want U.S. troops to withdraw
Majorities of Iraqi youth in Arab regions of the country believe security would improve and violence decrease if the U.S.-led forces left immediately, according to a State Department poll that provides a window into the grim warnings provided to policymakers. The survey - unclassified, but marked "For Official Government Use Only" - also finds that Iraqi leaders may face particular difficulty recruiting young Sunni Arabs to join the stumbling security forces. Strong majorities of 15- to 29-year-olds in two Arab Sunni areas - Mosul and Tikrit-Baquba - would oppose joining the Iraqi army or police.
10/23/06 - Chatterblocker to reduce office noise
Introducting ChatterBlocker, the PC software that uses digital audio technology to "neutralize" the sound of speech and other distractions so you can stay focused in any environment. ChatterBlocker does not use noise-cancellation. Instead it masks unwanted chatter using a soothing blend of nature sounds, music and “anti-chatter” voices. It also offers mindfulness meditation tracks intended to increase concentration, reduce distractibility and minimize the stress response to office noise. Use ChatterBlocker to tune out disruptions and increase concentration at the office, airports, cafes, or anywhere. (via slashdot.org)
10/23/06 - Do we own our bodies always?
(Cloning episodes in Star Trek raised this issue years ago. - JWD) Nearly 20 years after the California courts decided Moore v. Regents - a seminal case concerning a patient's interest in the profits derived from patents on a cell line generated from his spleen tissue - U.S. jurisprudence still has no coherent answer to a deceptively simple question: Do we own our own bodies? Why deceptively simple? Because the meaning of "property" is unclear. Because the question must be asked about our relationships both to our bodies and to our excised body tissue. And because it must be asked about those relationships both before and after we die. But simple or not, the question of whether we "own" our bodies must be answered soon: courts now face multiple controversies concerning the use of bits and pieces of bodies - and their derivatives - that are scattered among pathology laboratories, state hygiene laboratories, museums, archives, sperm banks, fertility clinics, and forensic DNA collections.
10/22/06 - New Induction Motor for Hybrid Vehicles
Raser Technologies, Inc. will announce a new 100-kilowatt AC induction based electric motor design called the Symetron(TM) P-100 in a press conference a the 22nd Electric Vehicle Symposium (EVS-22) held October 23-28, 2006 in Yokohama, Japan. The Symetron(TM) P-100 is one in a series of high-horsepower motor designs Raser is developing to meet the demand for more onboard electric horsepower required by the next generation of strong hybrids, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell vehicles. The electric motors used in today's mild hybrid vehicles typically deliver 15-20 kilowatts of power utilizing permanent-magnet synchronous motors (PMSMs) that require expensive rare-earth magnets to operate. Permanent magnet motors generally become even more expensive as the motors get larger. / ...more... - The Raser motor design offers automakers and their suppliers the performance and form factors comparable to PMSM-based systems, but provides the economy and reliability of the AC induction based platform. This cost-effective alternative may help automakers reduce costs and improve reliability to bring next generation hybrids more
within reach of mainstream consumers.
10/22/06 - Raser's Symetron Alternator up to 56% Improvement in Power Output
The Symetron(TM) enhanced alternator demonstrated up to 56% improvement in power output over a state-of-the-art, heavy-duty alternator tested at a customer's facility. The Symetron(TM) alternator showed a consistent improvement in power output over the entire operating range of the alternator with a peak output of 235 amps compared to 164 amps for the stock alternator. The dramatic improvement in performance was achieved without increasing alternator size. The customer's testing followed the industry standard J-56 test protocol to evaluate alternator performance. In addition to higher output under normal operating temperatures, the Raser alternator demonstrated that its advantage over the stock unit was even more significant in high heat operating environments. The Symetron(TM) alternator was tested in elevated heat conditions. Traditionally, alternators are "priced by the amp" for the power they produce. By increasing power output by up to 56%, without increasing size, manufacturers can capture significant value from improved performance or reduced alternator size for heavy-duty trucks and commercial vehicles. / ...more info... - The increased output can be achieved at less than 10% increase in cost. A 4 to 1 leverage in value for the manufacturers and their customers.
10/22/06 - Military-Industrial Complex Speech, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961
Quotes; "Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology -- global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger it poses promises to be of indefinite duration." / "There is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties." / "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist." / "America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect."
10/22/06 - Brain area for tone-deafness found
Can't carry a tune in a bucket? Does all music sound pretty much the same? Blame it on your white matter. Canadian researchers using brain-imaging techniques have identified the structural reason for tone deafness, formally known as congenital amusia. It is a lifelong disability that prevents otherwise normally functioning people from developing basic music skills. For the study, led by Dr. Krista Hyde of the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University and the University of Montreal, the researchers recruited two groups of tone-deaf people and control groups of those with normal musical ability. "The individuals who participated in the study were considered tone deaf on the basis of two main criteria: difficulty recognizing familiar tunes without the assistance of lyrics and the inability to detect when they were singing out of tune," Hyde explained. The results showed one thing in common for all 13 amusic subjects recruited in Montreal and in eight others brought into the study by colleagues at Newcastle University Medical School. "The results were consistent across samples in highlighting a reduction in white-matter concentration in the right inferior frontal gyrus of amusic individuals," said Dr. Isabelle Peretz of the University of Montreal. "The data points to the integrity of white-matter tracts in right frontal brain areas as being key to acquiring normal musical competence." Earlier research already had identified structures in the front of the brain as being key to musical talent, including keeping both rhythm and tone on track. The same structure is also involved in language processing. But researchers using less complex imaging techniques had also found that many other regions of the brain activate when people with normal musical appreciation listen to notes, so the role of frontal gyrus wasn't a sure bet. Knowing that the defect lies in white matter - the vast network of connections that link up various parts of the brain - is significant. Unlike the gray matter of the brain, those connections are now known to form and change from infancy until well into adulthood in many parts of the brain.
10/22/06 - Troops in debt can't go overseas
Thousands of U.S. troops are being barred from overseas duty because they are so deep in debt they are considered security risks, according to an Associated Press review of military records. The number of troops held back has climbed dramatically in the past few years. And while they appear to represent a very small percentage of all U.S. military personnel, the increase is occurring at a time when the armed forces are stretched thin by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. "We are seeing an alarming trend in degrading financial health," said Navy Capt. Mark D. Patton, commanding officer at San Diego's Naval Base Point Loma. The Pentagon contends financial problems can distract personnel from their duties or make them vulnerable to bribery and treason. As a result, those who fall heavily into debt can be stripped of the security clearances they need to go overseas. While the number of revoked clearances has surged since the beginning of the Iraq war, military officials say there is no evidence that service members are deliberately running up debts to stay out of harm's way. Data supplied to the AP by the Navy, Marines and Air Force show that the number of clearances revoked for financial reasons rose every year between 2002 and 2005, climbing ninefold from 284 at the start of the period to 2,654 last year. Partial numbers from this year suggest the trend continues. More than 6,300 troops in the three branches lost their clearances during that four-year period. Roughly 900,000 people are serving in the three branches, though not all need clearances. The figures gathered by the AP represent just a piece of problem, because the Army - which employs an additional 500,000 people and accounts for the vast majority of the 160,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan - rejected repeated requests over the past month to supply its data, saying such information is confidential. Still, Patton said he had never heard of anyone racking up bills to get out of combat. "There are folks who find ways of avoiding being deployed, as there always will be, but I've never seen any do it through finances," he said.
10/22/06 - Indonesia Pushes for Geothermal Renewal
Indonesia, land of earthquakes and volcanos, is literally sitting on top of the solution for its energy needs: Vast reservoirs of hot water deep beneath the earth's crust can be harnessed to generate electricity. Tapping geothermal energy makes sense for a cash-strapped government that still subsidizes fuel for its citizens, who are steadily demanding more power in the face of routine blackouts and brownouts. The sprawling archipelago sits on what is believed to be the world's largest geothermal resource base, with the potential to provide 21,000 megawatts _ enough to supply all the energy needs for its 220 million people. But so far existing plants have a combined capacity of just over 800 megawatts, or 4 percent of Indonesia's potential, putting it behind the United States (2,100 MW), the Philippines (1,775 MW) and Mexico (975 MW). Chevron's largest plant in Salak towers over the lush rainforest _ home to gibbons, ant eaters and eagles _ where massive pipes wind through some 25,000 acres of jungle, transporting steam that turns giant turbines to produce electricity. The water is then returned to the underground reservoir and reheated by magma to temperatures as high as 570 degrees Fahrenheit, completing the renewable energy cycle. Though long-term costs are low, the technology requires an upfront investment of more than $100 million. And because the energy must be used close to its source _ unlike coal or oil, which can be exported _ what a company gets for its electricity is key. At present the cash-strapped government is offering just 4.5 cents kilowatt hours _ around 30 percent less than the going rate in the United States, and as much as 2 cents lower than what the Suharto government had offered.
10/22/06 - QuantumSphere Patents New Zinc-air Battery Cathodes
Two groundbreaking patents cover a composition of matter and a paper-thin electrode device responsible for achieving a 320% increase in power and efficiency for zinc-air battery cathodes. Primary zinc-air batteries offer 3-6 times the energy of equivalent size alkaline and rechargeable batteries. Zinc-air batteries employ oxygen from the air to use in their cathode, and use an anode primarily composed of zinc and an alkaline electrolyte. Zinc-air has a weight and volume advantage over most other battery technologies, because one of its two active reagents, i.e., oxygen, adds no weight or volume within the cell. The energy capacity is dependent only on the amount of zinc present in the anode. Zinc-air disposable batteries are widely used in such applications as hearing aid batteries. Rechargeable zinc-air batteries have eluded significant production due to poor life of the electrodes.
10/22/06 - Glow Hair Gel in time for Halloween
Just like Voltage, iGlow does not rely on UV, neon or black lights to create glow. Instead, it produces its own light! Tiny, microscopic particles in the gel come together in the mixing process to produce a bright colorful glow that can be seen in partial light and in the dark for several hours. While iGlow is classified as a "temporary hair color" it does not actually color the hair cuticle. It "coats" the hair with color. The gel is the delivery medium for the luminescence (glow). As such it is safe for color-treated or bleached hair when used as directed.
10/22/06 - A first in N.J.: Home is powered by sun, hydrogen
The intricate, $500,000 Hopewell Project - Stritzki's home - was almost five years in the making. Stritzki cultivated private and corporate support and cajoled state utilities officials into embracing the idea that renewable energy must be the way of the future, to cut down on pollution. Still, Stritzki encountered critics who thought his idea of using solar electricity to extract hydrogen from water was dangerous. Building code officials, he added, weren't prepared for the technology he championed. 'Things that people don't understand, they're afraid of,' Stritzki said. 'Hydrogen is just another gas, and it's safer than all the fossil fuels we currently know.' Stritzki and many others now believe that hydrogen, a colorless, odorless gas used by NASA for space shuttle fuel, will become more accepted as a home energy source. Researchers also are studying hydrogen as a pollution-free automotive fuel. Stritzki's home has solar panels lining the garage roof. During the summer, those panels generate excess electricity, which is harnessed to extract hydrogen from water. That hydrogen is pumped into 10 tanks on his property and is used to power a fuel cell, which generates electricity to supplement the solar panels in the cooler months. Now he enjoys his big-screen television, his swimming pool, his hot tub, and the other comforts of his home - all powered by hydrogen and the sun. Hughes said the state utilities board provided $250,000 for the project as part of its Clean Energy Program that encourages renewable energy sources to fuel homes and businesses. Stritzki put $100,000 of his own money into the project. Other funding came from loans and private and corporate sponsors.
10/22/06 - Would you Fly on this?
(Courtesy of Jack Veach - JWD) Even though the Aeroscraft dwarfs the largest commercial airliners, it requires less net space on the ground than any plane because it doesn't need a runway. The airship takes off and lands like a helicopter: straight up and down. This is not a Blimp. It's a sort of flying Queen Mary 2 that could change the way you think about air travel. It's the Aeroscraft, and when it's completed, it will ferry pampered passengers across continents and ocean s as they stroll leisurely about the one-acre cabin or relax in their well-appointed staterooms. Unlike its dirigible ancestors, the Aeroscraft is not lighter than air. Its 14 million cubic feet of helium hoist only two-thirds of the craft's weight. The rigid and surprisingly aerodynamic body-driven by huge rearward propellers-generates enough additional lift to keep the behemoth and its 400-ton payload aloft while cruising. During takeoff and landing, six turbofan jet engines push the ship up or ease its descent. This two-football-fields-long concept airship is the brainchild of Igor Pasternak, whose privately funded California firm, Worldwide Aeros Corporation, is in the early stages of developing a prototype and expects to have one completed by 2010. Pasternak says several cruise ship companies have expressed interest in the project, and for good reason: The craft would have a range of several thousand miles and, with an estimated top speed of 174 mph, could traverse the continental U.S. in about 18 hours. During the flight, passengers would peer at national landmarks just 8,000 feet below or, if they weren't captivated by the view, the cavernous interior would easily accommodate such amenities as luxury staterooms, restaurants, even a casino. To minimize noise, the aft-mounted propellers will be electric, powered by a renewable source such as hydrogen fuel cells. A sophisticated buoyancy-management system will serve the same purpose as trim on an airplane, allowing for precise adjustments in flight dynamics to compensate for outside conditions and passenger movement. The automated system will draw outside air into compartments throughout the ship and compress it to manage onboard weight. On a pressurized plane, windows like these would explode outward. The Aeroscraft does not fly high enough to need pressurization. The company envisions a cargo-carrying version that could deliver a store's worth of merchandise from a centralized distribution center straight to a Wal-Mart parking lot or, because the helium-filled craft will float, a year's worth of supplies to an offshore oil rig. "You can land on the snow, you can land on the water," Pasternak says. "It's a new vision of what can be done in the air."
10/22/06 - Wood makes plastic stronger
The process focuses on extracting nanocrystals of cellulose out of woody materials, like trees and willow shrubs, and mixing them with the plastic. The eventual result will be strong, lightweight plastics that would degrade in a landfill, said William Winter, a chemistry professor and director of the college's Cellulose Research Institute, where the process is being developed. "By adding an ounce of crystals to a pound of plastic, you can increase the strength of the plastic by a factor of 3,000," Winter said. "And in the end, in a landfill, it's just carbon dioxide and water, which can be taken up and made into more biomass." In addition their use as strengtheners in plastics, the nanocrystals can be used in ceramics and in biomedical applications such as artificial joints and disposable medical equipment, Winter said. "All plant materials contain a minimum of 25 percent cellulose," Winter said. "Wood from trees is a little higher, between 40 percent and 50 percent." Using cellulosic nanocrystals to strengthen plastics has advantages over the glass that is often used. Glass is heavier, harder on processing machinery and therefore more expensive to work with, and it stays in the ground for centuries. The cellulose nanocrystals will break down in a landfill in less than 90 days, he said. Winter and his team work with a reactor that can process up to 500 grams - about a pound - of material at a time. That is a significant increase over the 5-gram quantities that are typically used in laboratory settings.
10/22/06 - Create patterned sillhouettes with Photoshop
Very slick tutorial on how to alter photos in PhotoShop to produce line art type silhouettes. Shown is a before and after photo. About this tutorial: * Made in/for Photoshop CS, compatibility with earlier versions dependent on availability of a certain filter. * May not be translatable to other software due to the above dependency. * Skill level: intermediate (layer mask, saved selection, filter use) * Usefulness of the tutorial is highly dependent on the source image possessing certain characteristics. * Dialup users should be able to load this tutorial without difficulty. Most images are linked to rather than loaded inline. (via lifehacker.com)
10/22/06 - Gastric Banding to lose massive weight
A study of 600 patients with an average weight of 120kg has found it safe for all patients, including the older and super-obese. The study found all patients lost weight dramatically. After seven years of follow-ups, patients lost an average of 56 per cent of their excess weight. "The study showed gastric banding is working whatever the age of the patient, including in patients over 70 years of age, and the results are similar for males and females," said Dr Lilian Kow from Adelaide's Flinders Medical Centre.
One female patient aged 18 who weighed 180kg and had a body mass index of 55, lost 100kg within two years of having gastric banding. Gastric banding involves having an adjustable collar placed around the upper part of the stomach, creating a very small stomach above it. The tightness of the band can then be adjusted, resulting in a feeling of fullness when small amounts of food are consumed. Dr Kow said adjustable gastric banding was as effective as gastric bypass surgery, was reversible and had lower rates of complications.
10/22/06 - Sophisticated Toy Robot to Get Mind-Altering Software
The $250 Mindstorms kit is about as sophisticated as toys get. It comes with an industrial-strength microprocessor, individually controlled servomotors, Bluetooth wireless, and sensors for light, ultrasound, sound, and touch. It can walk on two legs, dance on four, and strike your fingers with a scorpionlike tail if you get too close. Mindstorm's software is built around NI's LabView software, which is used to create measurement and control systems for laboratories, high-tech industrial equipment, and, of course, robots. Although simplified, the Mindstorm version of LabView [sample] lets children (and adults) do some sophisticated programming without sweating the details, Field said. Users can drop and drag function blocks-turn on a motor, turn right at a wall, sting when touched -onto a control screen. LabView automatically connects the blocks and users determine how each block behaves.
10/22/06 - 9/11 rescue dogs not sick like human workers
They dug in the toxic World Trade Center dust for survivors, and later for the dead. Their feet were burned by white-hot debris. But unlike thousands of others who toiled at Ground Zero after Sept. 11, these rescue workers aren't sick.
Scientists have spent years studying the health of search-and-rescue dogs that nosed through the debris at Ground Zero, and to their surprise, they have found no sign of major illness in the animals. They are trying to figure out why this is so. "They didn't have any airway protection, they didn't have any skin protection. They were sort of in the worst of it," said Cynthia Otto, a veterinarian at the University of Pennsylvania, where researchers launched a study of 97 dogs five years ago. The results have baffled doctors. A study released last month found that 70 percent of the people who worked at Ground Zero suffer severe respiratory problems; scientists thought that the dogs might have similar health problems.
10/22/06 - 3D Laser Lego Digitizer
(Link courtesy of Bob Paddock. - JWD) The 3D LEGO Digitizer is a low-cost scanning device capable of digitally reconstructing the geometry of a three-dimensional object with an accuracy of roughly 1mm for objects 2 ft away - and, its made out of LEGOs! (along with a few other non-LEGO pieces). Many artists enjoy creating digital art, yet often find that working in a physical medium like clay is a much more natural way to make three-dimensional objects. With a 3D digitizer, a sculptor is able to create an object in a familiar medium and then almost-instantly convert this real object into a digital model. The film industry uses this technique extensively to quickly create digitial creatures for feature films with ease. However, the aspiring artist (like myself) typically does not have access to these sophisticated and expensive tools - thus making the process of creating 3D models a tedious and challenging task (usually by using modeling software like 3D Studio Max, which is confined to the two-dimensional format of the computer screen, and has a steep learning curve)... Wouldn't it be great to have a low-cost, yet accurate digitizer constructed from home-made parts that could be used to do digital art without the tedious process of 3D modeling? Using an old low-power HeNe (helium-neon) laser that I aquired in high school, a web cam, and my LEGO collection, it occured to me that this goal was not impossible.. On this web site you will find an accurate, fast-scanning 3D Digitizer made out of LEGOs! - along with an introduction to digitizing thoery, software design and results.
10/22/06 - White Bread Risk
EATING lots of white bread raises the risk of developing kidney cancer, new research has found. Those who eat five slices a day are almost twice as likely to develop the most common form of the disease as people who eat just 1 1/2 slices a day. Scientists put the cause down to refined cereals triggering a surge in blood sugar and insulin levels, thought to fuel the growth of cancer cells. They recommend cutting down on white bread, which causes the biggest rise in blood glucose levels, and opting for wholemeal varieties instead. The study also adds to the mounting evidence of the health benefits of avoiding processed and refined foods, such as white bread, which have a high glycaemic index.
10/21/06 - Audi-R-Zero electric car
If anyone thinks that an electric car is deprived of elegance and dynamism, Audi R-Zéro is a battery-driven vehicle that can fulfill dreams and arouse desires. Batteries - 800 volts. The best batteries for this application are those of the family "Lithium-Ion". 450 watts/kg/ Thus approximately 1200 kg of batteries. 1200 kg of battery + 4 engines of 85 kg more for the car itself, we should be around 2,2 tons. / Torque Audi R-Zéro : For 1 electric in-wheel motor, Maximal torque : 183 Nm or 135 lb-ft @ 12900 rpm ; Requiring speed reducer : 1/4. 75.0 m/kg de couple par roue 735 Nm/542 lb-ft > 1 wheel 300.0 m/kg pour 4 roues 2940 Nm/2168 lb-ft > 4 wheels! Top Speed estimated 286 mph / Comparisons: Bugatti Veyron 127.6 m/kg @ 2200 rpm - 1250 Nm/923 lb-ft / Ferrari Enzo 67.0 m/kg @ 5500 rpm - 657 Nm/485 lb-ft / 1091 hp @ 12900 rpm
10/21/06 - Average Gas Mileage Relatively Flat Between 1980 and 2004
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the average gas mileage for new vehicles sold in the United States has 23.1 miles per gallon (mpg) in 1980 to 24.7 in 2004. This represents a paltry increase of slightly less than 7% over the 25 year period. or the better part of 25 years, the United States has benefited from inexpensive gasoline. Until recently, there really hasn’t been much of a need or urgency to create cars that were more fuel efficient because it wasn’t expensive to fill up. We could be wasteful with gas and still not be wasteful with money. So, with all of the technological and engineering advances over the last 25 years, shouldn’t our gas mileage have gone up more than just 1.6 mpg?
10/21/06 - Afghanistan Marijuana as thermal shield
Canadian troops fighting Taliban militants in Afghanistan have stumbled across an unexpected and potent enemy. Almost impenetrable forests of 10-feet-high marijuana plants. General Rick Hillier, chief of the Canadian defense staff, said on Thursday that Taliban fighters were using the forests as cover. In response, the crew of at least one armored car had camouflaged their vehicle with marijuana. "The challenge is that marijuana plants absorb energy, heat very readily. It's very difficult to penetrate with thermal devices ... and as a result you really have to be careful that the Taliban don't dodge in and out of those marijuana forests," he said in a speech in Ottawa. "We tried burning them with white phosphorous - it didn't work. We tried burning them with diesel - it didn't work. The plants are so full of water right now ... that we simply couldn't burn them," he said. Even successful incineration had its drawbacks.
10/21/06 - MindPixel AI project
Mindpixel is a web-based collaborative artificial intelligence project which aims to create a database of millions of human validated true/false statements, or probabilistic propositions. Participants in the project create one-line statements which will be objectively true or false to 20 other anonymous participants. In order to submit their statement they must first check the true/false validity of 20 such statements submitted by others. Participants whose replies are consistently out of step with the majority have their status downgraded and are eventually excluded. Likewise, participants who make contributions which others cannot agree are objectively true or false have their status downgraded. A validated true/false statement is called a mindpixel. The project enlisted the efforts of thousands of participants and claimed to be "the planet's largest artificial intelligence effort". The project was conceived by the late Chris McKinstry, a computer scientist and former Very Large Telescope operator for the European Southern Observatory in Chile. McKinstry believed that the Mindpixel database could be used in conjunction with a neural net to produce a body of human "common sense" knowledge which would have market value. Participants in the project are awarded shares in any future value according to the number of mindpixels they have successfully created.
10/21/06 - Efficient Rail Robot to run on unused Railroad Tracks
Railroad tracks are often unused. When these rails remain empty, an asset is wasted. Now, Rail Robot, an invention of Edmund Dechant, utilizes this resource. Rail Robot moves cargo 24/7 when trains do not use the tracks. The invention combines existing technologies to accomplish this task. Thousands upon thousands of miles of railroad tracks lie unused each day. The Robot will utilize this resource. Energy Efficient: Freight shipped by rail is four times as fuel efficient and less polluting as large truck transport. No loss of Jobs: As many as 10% of the nation's trucking fleet is idle due to the insufficient numbers of long haul drivers (New York Times, March 1, 2006). To attract new recruits to this occupation higher wages will have to be offered thereby increasing freight costs. As it is, few long haul truck drivers enjoy trips taking 6 or 7 days which keep them away from their home and family. On the other hand, the Robot will deliver the cargo to the local rail yard allowing the trucker to move the freight the last mile to its destination before returning home in the evening.
10/21/06 - DDT ban reversed?
Muller's chemical ``kills the mosquitoes that carry malaria, the flies that carry cholera, the lice that carry typhus, the fleas that carry the plague, the sand flies that carry kalaazar and other tropical disease." The name of this miracle formula? Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane -- better known as DDT. To anyone who grew up in the 1970s or 1980s, the notion that DDT was ever celebrated as a lifesaver might come as a shock. The very initials seem sinister. Ever since Rachel Carson's ``Silent Spring" was published in 1962, DDT has been stigmatized as a terrible environmental poison, more curse than cure. In Carson's telling, DDT caused cancer and genetic damage in humans, and wreaked havoc not only on the insects it was intended to kill but on birds and other animals too. It was a poison that grew in concentration as it passed up the food chain, ultimately contaminating everything from eagles' eggs to mothers' milk. Carson recounted frightful tales of DDT's demonic power. ``A housewife who abhorred spiders" sprayed her basement with DDT in August and September -- and was dead of ``acute leukemia" by October. ``A professional man who had his office in an old building" sprayed with DDT to get rid of cockroaches -- and landed in the hospital, hemorrhaging uncontrollably; eventually he too was dead of leukemia. Such alarming anecdotes were little more than urban legends. `The scientific literature does not contain even one peer-reviewed, independently replicated study linking DDT exposures to any adverse health outcome" in human beings. Yet if Carson's science was shaky, her influence was undeniable. ``Silent Spring" galvanized the emerging environmental movement and fed a rising hysteria about pesticides and other chemicals. Within a decade, DDT had been banned in the United States. Eventually every industrialized nation stopped using it. Under pressure from Western environmentalists and governments, DDT was widely suppressed in the Third World as well. The results were catastrophic. The demonizing of DDT, albeit with the best of motives, ended up causing tens of millions of deaths from malaria. Rarely has the law of unintended consequences operated with such lethality. Now, at long last, that may change. In a historic shift, the WHO last month reversed its 30-year-old ban, and strongly endorsed the indoor use of DDT to control the mosquitoes that spread malaria. The WHO emphasized that DDT presents no health risk when sparingly applied to the inside walls of homes. And it urged environmentalist diehards to abandon their opposition to a proven lifesaver.
10/21/06 - ASCII-O-Matic turns your portrait into text
Fun little Flash app ASCII-O-Matic turns any small JPG image into plain text. Upload your 60 by 50 pixel portrait ("Face photos work best") and the ASCII-O-Matic turns it into a text. ASCII-O-Matic will even provide the HTML to include plain text results on your web site. Click on the LH mascot's ASCII image on the right to get a closer look at the individual characters. (via lifehacker.com)
10/21/06 - Sleeping at work improves performance, say researchers
(Mexico has it right with the siesta, 'most' everything shuts down from 2-4PM for comida (lunch). - JWD) Employers should consider letting tired staff sleep on the job in order to raise their performance, researchers say. Scientists at the Massey University Sleep/Wake Research Centre are studying the effectiveness of short naps in alleviating fatigue. Associate director of the centre Leigh Signal said not getting enough sleep was a common problem, due to the increasing demands of a 24-hour society. Fatigue caused by lack of sleep was a factor in the Chernobyl nuclear explosion, and the Exxon Valdez oil spill. On a smaller scale, tiredness could lead to a drop in work productivity, Dr Signal said. "Feeling sleepy is only one of the symptoms. Slower reaction times, difficulty paying attention, memory problems, poorer physical coordination and a reduced ability to analyse and solve problems are observed following only one night of restricted sleep," she said. The Sleep/Wake researchers believe naps of between 20 and 60 minutes, in the early hours of the morning, could be an effective strategy to reduce fatigue for people working overnight. Although it was possible to reduce the effects of fatigue temporarily with things like caffeine, noise or exercise, the only way to truly overcome sleepiness was to sleep, Dr Signal said.
10/21/06 - Cosmic Lattice - Basic Structures of Matter of the Physical Vacuum
The treatise titled Basic Structures of Matter (BSM), based on a space concept, is closer to the Ether concept but never investigated so far. The analysis of experiments and observations from a new point of view reveals that the “dark matter” is not only in distant galaxies. A model is suggested, according to which, the space may contain an underlying structure, called a Cosmic Lattice (CL), formed by two basic sub-elementary particles of two super-dens material substances, which are involved in the structure of elementary particles, as well. In a classical void space, the basic particles interact by forces inverse proportional to the cube of the distance. CL structure defines the space-time, the Quantum properties and EM fields. The complex of CL space and elementary particles defines the Newtonian gravitation, the inertia, the elementary charge and the Relativistic effects. Among the major CL properties are the Static, Partial and Dynamic pressure. All known physical constants and interactions are expressible by the properties of CL space and the structure of elementary particles. CL space may propagate not only neutral Quantum waves (photons), but charge waves, as well, which are virtual particles corresponding to a Dirac “see” idea. Other major results of BSM are the unveiled atomic nuclear structures of the elements. They define the angular positions and restrictions of the chemical bonds, a feature not explainable by QM models.
10/21/06 - Egg packing machine invention
(This is important because of future labor issues as immigration regulations are tightened. Automated farming is just down the road. - JWD) The “Farmhand” invention was almost 12 months in the making and could cut down labour costs significantly for poultry farmers. “I’ve been in the poultry industry for 20 years and saw a need for a labour saving device,’’ Mr Smith said. "Typically, in most instances, the eggs are delivered to the front of the shed and then hand packed by staff, packed on to trays which are then transported to a central packing area... then downloaded for processing for human consumption.” He said it was difficult to find people to fill jobs in the poultry industry. “A lot of poultry farms are rural based, in isolated areas so it’s hard to find labour,’’ Mr Smith said. “I would have seen criticism 10 years ago but these days it’s a known fact that we don’t have workers.’’ Range Harvester, which is Mr Smith’s Caloundra business, is selling the Farmhand for around $35,000 with prices varying. There are already a few active on the market.
10/21/06 - Smart Car Design Stolen by the Chinese
The Chinese company CMEC plans to start SELLING A COPY of the DaimlerChrysler Smart Car which they're calling the City Smart. Not actually paying for a designer capable of original design and no doubt using semi-slave labor to manufacture it, the car will cost $5,250. The major difference, however, is that the City Smart will be electric.
10/21/06 - Samsung Flash Hybrid Hard Drive
Samsung is preparing to release a new Flash memory-assisted computer hard drive that boasts improved performance, reduced energy consumption, a faster boot time, and better reliability. The new hybrid hard drive will be released around the same time as the upcoming Windows Vista operating system and will be one of the first hardware designed specifically to benefit from it. Samsung's prototype HHDs have a buffer of 128 or 256 MB, much larger than the 8-16 MB of cache in current hard drives. This new buffer differs from the existing cache buffer on hard drives not only in size but also in structure, composition, and qualities. Conventional cache is made out of volatile memory that is erased when the drive is powered down. HHDs add another layer of cache consisting of Flash memory that is non-volatile and can be accessed quickly when the drive is powered on. Adding a large buffer to a hard drive can also reduce the drive's power consumption, thereby increasing the battery life, and reducing the time required for the system to resume its operation after suspension. Indeed, boot or resume time will occur about twice as fast as conventional hard disk drives, saving 8-25 seconds, and laptop batteries will provide 20 - 30 minutes more power. Another added bonus of the HHD is the improved reliability due to less mechanical wear and tear. Samsung and other manufacturers are currently pursuing Solid State Drive (SSD) technology (to be covered in an upcoming TFOT article). Currently Flash prices are too high to allow SSDs to replace standard hard drives of any reasonable size and, although Flash prices are continually falling, it will be several years until such a drive will become affordable to most users.
10/20/06 - Conservation, not Biofuels
Lester Brown is the author of Plan B 2.0 and the president of the Earth Policy Institute. He points out that China now consumes more of most basic resources than the US. China now uses more steel, grain, coal and meat than the US does - it’s only in oil consumption that we outpace China. If China catches up with us in terms of consumption per person - which they may by 2031, when their incomes are predicted to catch up - the planet will not survive. That would imply 1.1 billion cars in China, which would require paving as much land in China as is currently planted in rice. We simply can’t continue at this consumption pace.
10/20/06 - SkyShapers
The rise (and sprawl) of urban America is changing the weather. A pack of raccoons made headlines worldwide for killing at least 10 cats, attacking a small dog and forcing one woman to get rabies shots after she tried to rescue her pet. “It's a new breed,” she told The Associated Press. “They're urban raccoons, and they're not afraid.”
Most likely the residents of Olympia helped bring on their own problems by feeding the raccoons. “Almost all of our problem raccoons or coyotes are precipitated by feeding,” says Bob Sallinger, urban conservation director for the Audubon Society of Portland, Ore. “Someone feels sorry for them and starts putting out dog and cat food. People have this sentimental view of wildlife, and with the best of intentions act in ways that ultimately put themselves, their pets and the animal they want to help at risk.” But the ecological effect of humans on cities extends far beyond wildlife. Lawn fertilizers run into bays and estuaries, where they feed harmful algal blooms. Hot roofs and parking lots alter thunderstorm patterns. Even conservation-oriented programs such as xeriscaping (landscaping with drought-tolerant native vegetation) can backfire and contribute to smog. Scientists (and urban residents) have long known that sun-baked cities form “heat islands” that make hot days hotter and warm nights warmer. But new studies unveiled this spring at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union indicate that urban sprawl can add power to summer thunderstorms in regions as close to San Diego as southern Arizona. Lawn watering in Phoenix is probably also playing a role by adding humidity to the air. Urbanization is a continuing process. Right now, says Dale Quattrochi, of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., the United States has built up or paved over a land mass equivalent to the state of Ohio. As the U.S. population pushes beyond 300 million, that will only increase, and scientists, undoubtedly, will find more ways in which it affects surrounding areas.
10/20/06 - Morgellons Disease: Silicone & Polyethylene on Meats and Vegetables?
It appears, new lab findings using tissue and bone specimens have solved some of the mysteries of Morgellons Disease. Eighteen specimens, taken from a 57-year-old woman reveal bone, synovium and joint tissue having extensive degenerative fragmentation, roughening and bony formation and underlying extensive degeneration of the bone. Chronic inflammation with fibrosis, calcification of the bone and surrounding soft tissue of the joint shows presence of crystalloid fragments consistent with silicone and silica. Further, a private study to determine the chemical and biological composition of fiber specimens taken from a second woman in Florida has shown that the fiber's outer casing is made up of high density polyethylene (HDPE). The fiber material is used commonly in the manufacture of fiber optics. "Morgellons" - a disease in which individuals have the growth of fibers from their skin that burn at 1,700 degrees F and do not melt. (20)(* see below) A private study to determine the chemical and biological composition of these fibers has shown that the fibers' outer casing is made up of high density polyethylene fiber (HDPE). Please call, write, email your Congressman TODAY to issue an order to the FDA to halt the use of these genetically modified viral protein envelope "concoctions" on foods. (via urbansurvival.com)
10/20/06 - Democracy not good at helping poor people
(Absolutely, REPUBLICS are the only way to go as was the INTENT of the USA from day one. - JWD) Researchers examined mortality rates of children in 169 nations between 1970 and 2000, and found the global condition of the poor, measured by mortality rates, improved dramatically. However, the researchers found improvements in democratic states were about the same as improvements in non-democratic states.
"Most cross-national studies overlook non-democratic states with good economic and social records, which creates the false impression that democracies have outperformed non-democracies," said Michael Ross, an associate professor of political science at UCLA. "Once these and other flaws are corrected, (the studies show) democracy has little or no effect on child mortality rates." Ross and his colleagues believe that while democracies generally spend more money on education and health, the improvements seem to benefit middle and upper-income groups, and do not translate to improvements for the poorer-class. / 'I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all... United States Constitution - Article. IV. Section. 4. - The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government...
10/20/06 - Tech-dependence turns humans into pets - prediction
Bad news for believers in the "singularity". Instead of accelerating us into a race of cosmic superbeings, our reliance on technology will turn humans into a species of domesticated pets: docile and anti-social. So says Oliver Curry, a sociobiologist attached to the London School of Economics. A technology-dependent human race of the future will be obese, have weak immune systems, and be incapable of socializing, empathizing or performing team work, suggests Curry. He also predicted that the human race will split into two species, resembling the future inhabitants of earth in HG Wells' Time Machine. There'll be an underclass of ugly, dim-witted goblins (the Morlocks), and a eugenically-pure species of intelligent, 7-foot tall beauties (Wells's Elois).
10/20/06 - Papers please
You may not read Edward Hasbrouck's blog often, but his report this week on the government's plans to require permission to leave the USA for travel is among the most frightening things I've seen in a long time. What's coming he figures is a: "Conversion of the Advance Passenger Information system (API or APIS) for international ship and plane travel into an advance permission system." How would you like to live in a country where government permission is required in advance to visit a foreign country? Well, that's now on the horizon - and starting January 8th of 2007 - two and a half months from now - you will need a US passport to re-enter America if you travel by air - and as Hasbrouck reminds us, permission to exit is the next step.
10/20/06 - Shape-Shifting Rovers
A new generation of robots will be able to take more risks exploring other worlds by changing their shape to suit the terrain. In the photo, an early prototype of the tetrahedral robot (above) was tested at Meteor Crater, in Arizona. A larger, more advanced device made up of 12 tetrahedrons is now going through its final assembly in the lab. Instead of driving, walking, or rolling around like other vehicles designed to traverse distant, rugged landscapes, the new rover changes its shape and topples along, veering a bit from side to side as it moves ahead. "We call it the drunken-sailor walk," says Pamela Clark, one of the designers of the project at Goddard and a professor at Catholic University of America. The minimalist device consists of an adjustable frame joined together at key points called nodes. The thin struts connect to the round nodes to form a tetrahedral shape, with another "payload node" at the center to hold the computer systems and sensors. The robot moves by extending or contracting its struts to change its configuration and shift its center of gravity until it tumbles over, then begins the process again. Depending on the terrain, its overall shape can change from tetrahedral to cubic to nearly spherical or flattened out. Ultimately, it should be able to negotiate its way across deep crevasses and climb steep cliffs by shifting its shape as needed. Tumbling by changing the center of gravity may seem like an awkward and ungainly way of getting around, but Clark says it's efficient and useful for dealing with obstacles, slippery surfaces, and steep slopes. Much of the work has been on the control algorithms. Clark says it's tough to think intuitively about a robot that moves without wheels. "When there are 26 struts, there are little games that you can play to think of clusters of nodes in making it walk," she said. Ultimately, the individual struts would be made interchangeable so they could be easily replaced in the field in the event of damage. Now the main focus will be on developing a variety of "gaits" that the device can use to negotiate different kinds of surfaces, terrains, and slopes. This involves figuring out how far each strut should extend and in what order. Clark has just worked out a control sequence for what she calls an amoeboid gait, which makes the device look as though it's slithering across a surface.
10/20/06 - Warming Up to Hyperthermia
Heat therapy could improve existing cancer treatments. Researchers have puzzled for years over what they call the "Lance Armstrong effect," named after the world's most famous bicycle racer and testicular cancer survivor. Some scientists propose that a single factor-heat-could be responsible for this cancer's relatively easy cure. Testicular cells normally stay a couple of degrees cooler than other cells in the body. The cooler cells can't survive normal body temperatures, and researchers speculate that they retain this vulnerability even when they become cancerous and spread to other parts of the body. "The hypothesis is that slight temperature change is enough to put them on the cliff's edge, so just a slight nudge from chemotherapy or radiation makes them die when they wouldn't die otherwise," says Theodore DeWeese, a radiation oncologist at Johns Hopkins University. By simply ratcheting up a tumor's temperature a few degrees-similar to the tiny temperature difference between the testes and the rest of a man's body-scientists are boosting the power of radiation, chemotherapy, and cancer vaccines. Some researchers suggest that the most convincing explanation for hyperthermia's effects is that the cellular nuclear matrix is damaged by heat. The structure, which stretches like a spider web throughout each cell's nucleus, is pivotal for DNA replication and the first step in translating genetic information into the proteins that a cell needs to function. Although cancerous testicular cells survive higher temperatures than healthy testicular cells can, normal body temperatures damage the nuclear matrices of both types of cells, says DeWeese. The added damage from radiation or chemotherapy kills the cancerous cells.
10/20/06 - Power-Alcohol Plant now in Commercial Production (October, 1936)
America's first power-alcohol plant is producing new fuel for motor cars. Two batches of anhydrous ethyl alcohol made from corn, totaling 2,000 gallons, have poured from the stills of the Chemical Foundation-sponsored plant of the Bailor Manufacturing Company in Atchison, Kansas. Officials expressed themselves as pleased with the performance of the new plant and predicted that in a month the capacity of 10,000 gallons a day would be realized. Alcohol-blended gasoline under the name of agrol will be on sale shortly in seven midwestern states at prices that will compete on a quality basis with straight gasoline fuels. The production of power alcohol from surplus farm products in this plant is being watched by leaders in agriculture, the oil industry, and other fields, including government, because it is a practical demonstration of the Farm Chemurgic Council's thesis that crops from American soil can be utilized for manufacture of industrial materials.
10/20/06 - Messiness Rules: In high dimensions, disorder packs tightest
Should you find yourself with a 60-dimensional suitcase, the best way to pack it may be the easiest: Throw in everything in a jumble. That's the way to fit the most high-dimensional spheres into a fixed space, new research suggests. In high dimensions, it's best to pack spheres in patterns that vary from spot to spot, rather than to repeat an arrangement in an orderly way. "People have intuited this might be the case," says Torquato, "but this provides the first evidence backed up by some solid math." The results may improve the design of computer equipment. Engineers use high-dimensional sphere packings to generate the error-correcting codes that electronic equipment uses for communication.
10/20/06 - The Gravity Express - 45 minutes to anywhere on Earth
About four hundred years ago, sometime in the latter half of the 17th century, Isaac Newton received a letter from the brilliant British scientist and inventor Robert Hooke. In this letter, Hooke outlined the mathematics governing how objects might fall if dropped through hypothetical tunnels drilled through the Earth at varying angles. Though it seems that Hooke was mostly interested in the physics of the thought experiment, an improbable yet intriguing idea fell out of the data: a dizzyingly fast transportation system. Hooke's calculations showed that if the technology could be developed to bore such holes through the Earth, a vehicle with sufficiently reduced friction could use such a tunnel to travel to another point anywhere on the Earth within three quarters of an hour, regardless of distance. Even more amazingly, the vehicle would require negligible fuel. The concept is known as the Gravity Train, and though it seems inconceivably difficult to construct, it has received some serious scientific attention and research in the intervening centuries.
10/20/06 - Scambaiting - How to scam a scammer
To countless west African criminal gang members, Mike is public enemy No 1. He is not only standing up for the little guy - he is hitting back at the bad guys. And hitting them where it hurts - by making them look silly. Part cyber-vigilantism, part karmic justice and part schoolboy prank, scambaiting is the practice of conning a conman. And for righteous-minded geeks, it's the online sport du jour. It starts with one of those annoying emails. Most people delete the message, but scambaiters string the would-be conmen along. "The more time and energy they are wasting on me, the less they are spending trying to con somebody else," says Mike. These emails are big business. There are thought to be more than 250,000 people operating "419 scams", named after the section of Nigeria's criminal code that covers the conduct, and they are stealing nearly $2bn (£1.8bn) a year. When Mike received the email from Prince Joe Eboh, he replied as Father Hector Barnett of the Holy Church of the Order of the Red Breast, which had $18,000 to invest with people of the same faith. Joe immediately expressed his desire to convert. Father Barnett wrote back with a series of outlandish demands. Joe duly complied with a signed certificate promising not to listen to hip-hop or covet his neighbour's ass, and attached a photo of himself with a large red number nine painted on his breast. There followed a correspondence lasting five months, which introduced a whole range of characters - including Father Mike Myers and Father Wayne Sworld - and culminated in a bizarre deal to export snow to Siberia. By the end of it, Joe didn't know if he was scamming or being scammed. / 419eater.com
10/20/06 - Bush issues doctrine for US control of space
George Bush has staked out a bold claim to the final frontier, asserting vigorously America's right to deny access to space to any adversary hostile to US interests, it emerged yesterday. In a muscular overhaul of policy, the US president outlines the importance of space to the national interest, saying its domination is as crucial to America's defences as air or sea power. "The United States will preserve its rights, capabilities, and freedom of action in space; dissuade or deter others from either impeding those rights or developing capabilities intended to do so; take actions necessary to protect its space capabilities; respond to interference; and deny, if necessary, adversaries the use of space capabilities hostile to US national interests," the strategy says.
10/19/06 - Ibuprofen reduces prostate swelling
Men who use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen, daily may reduce their risk of developing the prostate enlargement that often accompanies aging, a new study shows. This increase in prostate size, known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, is not related to cancer, but can cause uncomfortable symptoms including frequent urination and difficulty emptying the bladder completely. About one quarter of men in their 40s have benign prostatic hyperplasia, while 45 percent of men in their 70s do, Dr. Jennifer L. St. Sauver of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and her colleagues note. Benign prostatic hyperplasia was 27 percent less common among men who took an NSAID every day, the researchers found. Men who used an NSAID every day were also about half as likely to develop low urinary flow and increased prostate size. Overall, the researchers found, NSAID use was tied to a 35-percent lower risk of developing any type of urinary symptom. The researchers also found that men who used NSAIDs daily were about 50 percent less likely to develop elevated levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) during the course of the study. A rise in PSA levels can signal prostate cancer and it is also a marker for an increase in prostate size.
10/19/06 - LED lightbulb replacements - long-lived and low-power
Save a bundle on lighting your spaces. ThinkGeek's carrying a line of simple, low-priced LED light-bulb replacements. They last ten years and draw one thirtieth of the power consumed by incandescents. / Two-thirds of U.S. electricity is consumed in commercial and residential buildings. In commercial buildings, 35 percent of electricity goes to lighting (the figure is 20 percent for homes). / Incandescent Bulbs - * An ordinary 60W bulb costs up to £13.14 in electricity bills per year. * The average life span is between 750 and 1000 hours, which gives round five months of use. * An ordinary bulb costs around 50p. * In most houses lighting accounts for approximately 15 per cent of the electricity bill. * If every American home switched their five most-used light fittings to energy-saving bulbs, they would save $6bn (£3.2bn) and reduce greenhouse gases by nearly half a million tons. * 90 per cent of the energy goes into generating heat.
10/19/06 - Up to 90% Efficient Insulation paint similar to fish scales
Qinetiq, the privatised wing of the UK's Ministry of Defence, is developing a paint that keeps buildings cool in the summer and warm in the winter, as if wrapped in a giant sheet of aluminium. A micrometre-thick layer of indium tin oxide is deposited on a sacrificial sheet of polythene and then scuffed off to create flakes. These are then strengthened by coating with clear acrylic varnish. The coated flakes can then be mixed into ordinary paint and should align - like the scales of a fish - when the paint is applied to the walls of a room. The indium tin oxide is so thin that it is transparent. The flakes, with a diameter of around 40 micrometers each, are just large enough to stop and reflect infrared radiation but small enough to avoid any visible effect in the paint. The treated paint should reflect around 90% of all infrared, limiting heat transfer through the wall.
10/19/06 - Astro Etiquette
Clean up the toilet after using it, don't be a window hog, and avoid looking directly at the sun. From New Scientist: The space veterans also offered practical advice to save time and frustration in orbit. They suggested women with long hair might cut it if they are planning to be in space for more than a couple of days. On shuttle flights, some women with lengthy manes spend about one hour every three days carefully shampooing their hair, then dabbing it dry. This is time that could be spent looking out the window at Earth. They also said duct tape proves useful for capturing dental floss or fingernail clippings that might otherwise float around the cabin and become a nuisance to other passengers. (via boingboing.net)
10/19/06 - The Claim: Microwave Ovens Kill Nutrients in Food
People have suspected that the radiation they emit can destroy nutrients in food and vegetables. Every cooking method can destroy vitamins and other nutrients in food. The factors that determine the extent are how long the food is cooked, how much liquid is used and the cooking temperature. Since microwave ovens often use less heat than conventional methods and involve shorter cooking times, they generally have the least destructive effects. The most heat-sensitive nutrients are water-soluble vitamins, like folic acid and vitamins B and C, which are common in vegetables. Broccoli cooked by microwave - and immersed in water - loses about 74 percent to 97 percent of its antioxidants. When steamed or cooked without water, the broccoli retained most of its nutrients. / So steam your veggies to retain the most benefit.
10/19/06 - Customer agreements website
10/19/06 - Another right lost
The writ of habeas corpus can be suspended for individuals who are designated "enemy combatants" against the U.S. (Designated by whom? That question remains unanswered.) The law also "establishes military tribunals that would allow some use of evidence obtained by coercion [that is, torture], but would give defendants access to classified evidence being used to convict them." The provisions of Bush's new torture law mean that Americans have lost the key, constitutional right on which Anglo-American criminal law (and criminal-law procedures in true democracies in general) is founded; that's the basic right of an individual to know why he or she is being apprehended and detained.
10/19/06 - Robot Swarm Shifts Heavy Objects
"A swarm of robots has been demonstrated that can get together to transport an object too heavy for a single bot. Each robot is loaded with the same simple set of behaviors but more complex intelligence emerges from a group interacting. Two videos show the robots in action, and using a more complex behavior necessary when they're set to short sighted mode and can't see the target location from the starting point."
10/19/06 - Missouri reports statewide average Gas prices below $2/gallon
According to Gasbuddy.com, Missouri is the first state to report a statewide average gas price below $2 per gallon in well over five months. The national average gas price is now down to $2.23 per gallon, the lowest average price since early February. Since hitting its record high of $3.06 on August 5, the average price of gasoline has been in a bit of a freefall, losing over 25% of its value. Much of the price drop can be attributed to the just as dramatic fall in the price of crude oil, which is down a little less than 25% since hitting its record high of 78.40 on July 14. Another reason for the decrease in price of gasoline is the switch from “summer blend” fuel to “winter blend” fuel. Summer blend gas tends to cost between $.10 and $.15 more per gallon because of extra additives that help to cut down on emissions and smog. Whatever the main reason behind this dramatic decrease in the price of gasoline, it’s pretty amazing that in the span of ten weeks we’ve gone from talking about the very real possibility of $5 gas to actually seeing gas prices drop below $2 in many locations across the country.
10/19/06 - On Becoming Illegal
(Thanks to Ross Hines, this is TOO GOOD not to post. - JWD)
The Honorable Paul S. Sarbanes
Dear Senator Sarbanes,
As a native Marylander and excellent customer of the Internal Revenue Service, I am writing to ask for your assistance. I have contacted the Department of Homeland Security in an effort to
determine the process for becoming an illegal alien and they referred me to you.
My primary reason for wishing to change my status from U.S. Citizen to illegal alien stem from the bill which was recently passed by the Senate and for which you voted. If my understanding
of this bill's provisions is accurate, as an illegal alien who has been in the United States for five years, all I need to do to become a citizen is to pay a $2,000 fine and income taxes for three of the last five years. I know a good deal when I see one and I am anxious to get the process started before everyone figures it out.
Simply put, those of us who have been here legally have had to pay taxes every year, so I'm excited about the prospect of avoiding two years of taxes in return for paying a $2,000 fine. Is there any way that I can apply to be illegal retroactively? This would yield an excellent result for me and my family because we paid heavy taxes in 2004 and 2005.
Additionally, as an illegal alien I could begin using the local emergency room as my primary health care provider. Once I have stopped paying premiums for medical insurance, my accountant
figures I could save almost $10,000 a year.
Another benefit in gaining illegal status would be that my daughter would receive preferential treatment relative to her law school applications, as well as "in-state" tuition rates for many
colleges throughout the United States for my son.
Lastly, I understand that illegal status would relieve me of the burden of renewing my driver's license and making those burdensome car insurance premiums. This is very important to me given that I still have college age children driving my car.
If you would provide me with an outline of the process to become illegal (retroactively if possible) and copies of the necessary forms, I would be most appreciative. Thank you for your assistance.
Your Loyal Constituent,
Senate Office Building
Washington DC, 20510
(Get your Forms (NOW)!!
Call your Internal Revenue Service - 1-800-289-1040.)
10/19/06 - Canadian law pays customers 8Xs grid rate for solar generated power
Canada passes law requiring utility companies to pay hippies connected to the grid for the solar power they generate at a rate eight times above what conventional power costs. Ontario has passed a law requiring utilities to pay customers for solar, wind, and hydroelectric energy they generate, it was reported Monday. Beginning next month, Ontario utilities will pay 42 cents per kilowatt hour for solar energy, the report said. Wind, hydro- and bioelectric power will net customers 11 cents per kilowatt hour, according to the report. "In addition to getting paid for making electricity, homeowners and businesses slash their own electricity draw from the grid, where power sells at an average of about 5.8 cents a kilowatt hour across the province. Advocates say it reduces the burden on the electric transmission lines, encourages conservation and may save the cost of a new plant," the report said. The laws have spurred the creation of several renewable energy co-operatives. "One woman said (watching her electricity meter run backwards as she added power to the grid) was better than watching TV," Ron McKay, the leader of one of the co-operatives, told the newspaper. (via fark.com)
10/19/06 - US companies average 305 pending lawsuits
That number balloons for U.S. companies with $1 billion or more in gross annual revenue to 556 cases, with an average of 50 new disputes filed for nearly half of them, international law firm Fulbright and Jaworski said. 422 corporate attorneys worldwide report: - Responding U.S. companies reported spending 71 percent of their overall estimated legal budgets on disputes. - Nearly 40 percent of U.S. respondents said they had at least one $20 million suit filed against them during the past year. - More than a third (36 percent) of the energy companies surveyed said they expect their case load to increase next year.
Brewery Growing 'Monster Cane'
It is three meters tall and productive even in poor soil, it holds up in droughts and typhoons, and it yields twice as many stems as most sugarcane. No wonder they call it "Monster Cane". Researchers at major Japanese beer maker Asahi Breweries Ltd. are hoping that someday farmers across Okinawa will be growing Monster Cane not only for sugar but also to fuel cars, raise cattle and fertilize farmland. Formally known as "high-biomass sugarcane", Monster Cane is Japan's first variety designed to produce ethanol without sacrificing sugar output. It was jointly developed by Asahi and the National Agricultural Research Center for Kyushu Okinawa Region, an administrative agency. Asahi says the new cane variety can produce three times as much ethanol as other strains, and slightly more sugar. It also yields more bagasse, or crushed sugarcane refuse, which is burned to generate the energy to run a sugar-ethanol plant. Asahi estimates the yield of the new sugarcane at 37.4 tonnes per hectare excluding moisture, which can be processed into 7.1 tons of sugar, 4.3 kiloliters of ethanol and 24 tons of bagasse. This compares with the yield of a conventional cane type at 17.4 tons per hectare, sugar output at 6.9 tons, ethanol production at 1.4 kiloliters and bagasse volume at 7.8 tonnes, which is too small to produce sufficient energy for a processing plant. The volume of bagasse from high-biomass sugarcane is more than enough to generate energy for the Asahi plant. Surplus bagasse is used as bedding for premium beef cattle on Ie Island, and as fertilizer after being mixed with animal excrement.
10/18/06 - Pump-Up Packaging
The internet is great for shopping but fragile packages still have to be sent through the post, so suppliers often need a warehouse full of padded bags. Sealed Air Corporation, based in the US, says it can save space and cut costs by stockpiling flat bags and then inflating them just before mail-out. The only tricky part is automating package inflation. The company's bags contain a network of inflatable bubbles and tubes, all connected to a common channel along one edge of the bag. When the bag is manufactured, the network is pre-dosed with a little air, but this is spread widely throughout the bag so that it remains almost flat for storage. Just before being mailed, the bag is passed through a device like a mangle, which squeezes the trapped air into the common channel. The same machine then pierces the puffed channel with a needle and quickly inflates the whole package. Once fully pumped, the puncture is quickly heat sealed. Consumers should also be able dispose of the bags by simply piercing the package again.
10/18/06 - $499 Cellphone GPS locator for theft of attached equipment
With a billion dollars worth of equipment stolen from construction sites around the country each year, Dan Wolfe of Highland saw a need. From a pencil box-shaped black plastic container it has evolved into a sleek, hand-sized model called MobileLock. Though the device was designed to prevent theft and vandalism at construction sites, it can be used for a variety of other purposes, Wolfe said. The MobileLock is a box that contains a GPS unit, cell phone and several infrared sensors to detect motion. It can be programmed from a cell phone or computer with definite times and sensors to recognize an intrusion. The device's GPS locating ability works even in most indoor spaces, and the alarm can contact up to three people by phone or e-mail, according to a statement on www.DeWALT.com. The device also has built-in sensors for vibration and temperature and is weatherproof, impact resistant and heat resistant. "When it is activated no one can approach it without a call going to the owner. It is so small it hides well. You can put it under the seat of a Bobcat for instance or in a toolbox or other equipment," Wolfe said. A field product manager for DeWALT recently left the device in a briefcase in his truck in San Francisco and when he came out discovered the window smashed and his briefcase and other belongings stolen, Wolfe said. The MobileLock was tracked to a location two blocks away. When police said they could not enter without a warrant, the siren capability was engaged and they actually found many of the stolen articles in a garbage can near the residence. Once DeWALT bought the idea, Wolfe said he was contractually obligated to keep silent about his invention until now because it has gone on the market. "That was two years ago and now it is part of the DeWALT product line. It costs $499 and can be purchased on the Internet from DeWALT.com. It can keep a $25,000 Bobcat form being stolen so it's a good investment."
10/18/06 - BikeBoard to get around quickly
The BikeBoard Company has taken common sense, creativity and technology to create one of the most unique experiences on wheels. With the birth and rapid growth of the Action sports industry and its immense popularity, The BikeBoard Company is poised to provide the world with a taste of these new adrenaline sports. With a wide array of products and styles, BikeBoard appeals to adults and young children as well as sports enthusiasts and riders of all ages.
10/18/06 - 2050 and the Future of Transportation
Throughout history we have learned that the two principle driving forces of humanity are freedom and control. While current automotive technology gives us the freedom to drive as fast or slow as our vehicle will take us, and control over our timing and direction, we are still restricted to driving on the ground and we have a hornet's nest of laws to contend with regarding speed, flow, and operation. We are destined to break through these leashes as new transportation technologies inch their way towards the launch pad. By 2010 personal transportation devices will be all the rage with electric shoes with built-in roller-skates gaining much of the attention. After nine years of heavy media coverage, the Segway Human Transporter will begin to gain serious market share. Around 2030 we will see the commercialization of the first friction-free no-moving-parts flying vehicles. Much like the transition from analog to digital in the world of information technology, the study of traditional mechanics and traditional aerodynamics will be replaced with a new physics governing vehicular movement. The flying car era will really begin with flying drones. Flying drones will be used by FedEx and UPS to deliver packages, Pizza Hut to deliver pizzas, and Kroger and Safeway to deliver groceries. But beyond that, drones will enable homes to be taken off the grid with delivery of water and electricity (changing out batteries for the home), trash and sewage pickup, and much more. These too will begin as air-powered vehicles and later convert to frictionless drones. Six key technological breakthroughs will be needed for the first generation of flying cars to become viable - the fully automated navigation systems, directional layering of airspace, low-impact vertical take-off, convenient fly-drive capability, silent engines, and specialized safety systems.
10/18/06 - Brain-damaged man helped by electric pulses
A team of neuroscientists reported that they had restored some movement and speech to a severely brain-damaged man by stimulating his brain with pulses of electric current. The 38-year-old man, who had been barely conscious for six years, gradually regained the use of his left arm and began to utter coherent words for the first time since his injury in an assault, the doctors said. Before surgery to implant two wire electrodes deep in his brain, he could respond to questions and commands occasionally, by moving his thumb or nodding, but was otherwise virtually mute and unable to move. The doctors threaded two wires through the man's skull and into a subcortical area called the thalamus, which acts as a switching center for circuits that support arousal, attention and emotion, among other functions. The wires were connected to a pacemakerlike unit, implanted under the man's collarbone. Soon after the operation, and after the device was turned on to adjust the stimulation dose, the patient began to speak words, identifying pictures in a battery of tests, and became gradually more attentive.
10/18/06 - Portable, Life-Saving Seat Belt Created Following Tragic Crash
A lightweight, portable seat belt that could save many of the hundreds of lives lost each year by Americans traveling abroad, has been created by a group of engineering undergraduates at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The inspiration for the portable seat belts was the tragic death of an American student traveling abroad ten years ago.
10/18/06 - Printing Fuel Cells
A technique based on an inexpensive process used to print electronic circuit boards has been developed for constructing complex three-dimensional devices, such as a micro-reformer for fuel cells. The new method could be a versatile way to more cheaply and easily create microscale devices, making it practical to fabricate fuel cells for recharging two-way radios. The process works by building up hundreds of layers of specially formulated inks containing various materials, such as polymers, metals, and ceramics, to form a three-dimensional structure, complete with hollow passages and chambers sealed inside, says Arthur Chait, CEO of EoPlex Technologies, in Redwood City, CA, the startup company that developed the new technique. For each layer, the technology prints both the materials that will make up components of the final device and space-holder materials that will help support the next printed layer. Each layer is cured by a flash of ultraviolet light before the next layer is printed, and once all of the layers have been printed, the whole assembly is fired at high temperatures, about 850 degrees Celsius , depending on the materials used. These materials have to be carefully selected so that they shrink at the same rate during the firing, and so that the space-holding materials can diffuse through the other materials, leaving behind empty spaces. One of the company's first devices, a fuel-cell "reformer" for stripping hydrogen from methanol, will supply enough hydrogen for micro fuel cells that recharge 20-watt two-way radios used in emergency areas, where grid power isn't reliably available. The 300-layer device shows the complexity possible with the printing technique, Chait says. The layers form a total of 33 discrete components, such as heating coils, catalyst beds, "chambers, passageways, a diffuser section, a reformer section, and a combustion section," he says. Methanol is fed into the device, and the combination of steam and catalysts free the hydrogen. The entire reformer is the size of two dominoes.
10/18/06 - Patent Office Reports on Invention Secrecy
Under the Invention Secrecy Act of 1951, the government may impose a secrecy order on patent applications submitted to the Patent Office whenever the disclosure of the inventions described in such applications "might be detrimental to the national security." At the end of Fiscal Year 2006, there were 4,942 secrecy orders in effect, a slight increase from the previous year's total of 4,915, according to data provided to Secrecy News by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office under the Freedom of Information Act (and very promptly, too). During 2006 itself, 108 new invention secrecy orders were imposed, while 81 were rescinded.
10/18/06 - Cellulose Makes Plastic 3,000 Times Stronger
The key is pulling nanocrystals of cellulose out of natural materials, ranging from trees and willow shrubs to orange pulp and the pomace left behind after apple cider production, and mixing them with plastics. “By adding an ounce of crystals to a pound of plastic, you can increase the strength of the plastic by a factor of 3,000,” said Dr. William T. Winter, a chemistry professor and director of the Cellulose Research Institute at ESF. “And in the end, in a landfill, it’s just carbon dioxide and water, which can be taken up and made into more biomass.” The process provides another use for the one billion tons of biomass that can be produced annually in the United State, according to an estimate from the U.S. departments of energy and agriculture. The term “biomass” refers to any biologically derived material. “All plant materials contain a minimum of 25 percent cellulose,” Winter said. “Wood from trees is a little higher, between 40 percent and 50 percent.” In addition to being used as strengtheners in plastics, the nanocrystals can be used in ceramics and in biomedical applications such as artificial joints and disposable medical equipment. Using cellulosic nanocrystals to strengthen plastics has advantages over the glass that is often used: Glass is heavier, harder on processing machinery and therefore more expensive to work with, and it stays in the ground for centuries. The cellulose nanocrystals will break down quickly in a landfill.
“Anything which is made in nature can be destroyed in nature,” Winter said. “And these cellulose particles have a lifetime in a landfill of less than 90 days, at which time, they go back into carbon dioxide and water. It can be reabsorbed by other plants that use it to make more cellulose.”
10/18/06 - X Prize Rejects Gravity Control Rocket Group
The X Prize Foundation notified Gravity Control Technologies (GCT) of Budapest, Hungary that its application to become an X Prize team had not been accepted. GCT was founded in 1999 and is a privately held aerospace research firm delving into superconductivity and Zero Point Energy Field physics in the hopes of achieving one-hundred percent propellant-less propulsion technology for flight. The X Prize is a $10 million prize to jumpstart the space tourism industry through competition between entrepreneurs and rocket experts around the world. The purse is to be awarded to the first team that privately finances, builds and launches a spaceship able to carry three people to 62.5 miles (100 kilometers) altitude, then returns safely to Earth, repeating the launch with the same ship within two weeks. By utilizing a zero point field energy/superconductor-based propulsion system, GCT contends the door to space travel can truly be opened. "In light of the novel and untried technology you propose, the Committee has a concern of the credibility of this technology. The X Prize Foundation strongly encourages the use of all technologies for the X Prize competition. However, over the past years, weve been besieged by a variety of groups making technological claims that werent real," explains Ken Davidian, Director of Operations for the St. Louis, Missouri-based X Prize Foundation, in the letter to GCT. "We will be happy to reconsider your application when provided with evidence of the feasibility of your proposed technology. We strongly encourage GCT to continue with its research and keep us posted as developments warrant our attention," the letter states. Victor Rozsnyay, GCT's Founder and Chief Executive Officer, told SPACE.com he's not surprised by the X Prize Foundation decision and return of the $1,000 X Prize application fee. "Since Gravity Control Technologies is working on developing propulsion systems capable of controlling gravity for flight -- a 180 degree departure from what is currently accepted as feasible -- it was likely that our application would not be approved. All other X Prize teams are developing variations of rocket technology, including some ingenious designs," Rozsnyay said.
10/18/06 - Radar Helps Locate Meteorite in Kansas
Scientists were excited when they pulled a 154-pound meteorite from deep below a Kansas wheat field, but what got them most electrified was the way they unearthed it. The team Monday uncovered the find 4 feet under a meteorite-strewn field using new ground-penetrating radar technology that someday might be used on Mars. It was that technology which pinpointed the site and proved for the first time that it could be used to find objects buried deep in the ground and to make an accurate three-dimensional image of them. Such GPR systems had been used in the past to locate smaller meteorites in Antarctica where ice allows easier penetration of the sonar. But until the Kansas dig, the technology had not been successfully used for ground detection in heavy soils - like on Mars - to find meteorites or water there. Sophisticated metal detectors at the site initially detected what had been thought to be the largest pallasite meteorite ever discovered. But ground-penetrating radar showed that the object was only a steel cable. This week's find will end up as part of a new exhibit on comets, meteors and asteroids at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. The museum will pay about $50,000 for it, Sumners said. It is valued at more than $100,000, she said.
10/17/06 - Trees: The Anti-Desert
Tree planting has led to the re-greening of as much as 3 million hectares of land in Niger, enabling some 250,000 hectares to be farmed again. The land became barren in the 1970s and early 1980s through poor management and felling of trees for firewood, but since the mid-1980s farmers in parts of Niger have been protecting them instead of chopping them down. According to one researcher quoted by New Scientist: "The results have been staggering." This success stems from what the magazine calls a "virtuous circle of benefits" between trees and their surrounding landscapes. "Leaves and fruits provide food, fodder and organic matter to fortify the soil," for instance. "More livestock means more manure, which further enriches the soil enabling crops to be grown, and spreads tree seeds so new trees grow. The trees also provide shelter for crops and help prevent soil erosion. In times of drought, firewood can be sold and food purchased to tide families over." Further, pro-tree land use policies - including better rainwater management practices - "are helping communities in Niger re-establish control over their fate, simultaneously halting the march of the desert and helping to prevent famines like the one that hit Niger in July 2005."
10/17/06 - Wind Shaped Pavilion
Fusing art, architecture, and renewable energy, California-based Michael Jantzen’s Wind Shaped Pavilion is literally head-turning. The pavilion is a proposal for a large fabric structure that rotates in segments around a central support frame, generating enough electricity as it moves to light the pavilion at night. Just think of the opportunities available in building the pavilion large enough that every level becomes an apartment or a commercial space, and the view from inside changes at the whims of the weather! (via boingboing.com)
10/17/06 - Apologies to Al Fin
for neglecting to reference your blogsite in the (10/12/06) Ammonia Motor post with a permalink! Thought I got it from the originating site. Yours was a great post by the way, far more interesting than the reference! If you are a frequent visitor here, you'll see that the majority of the time I do provide links back to the originating site and had found yours through another link, thought it well written. My bad, sorry. I corrected it.
10/17/06 - Alcohol in Milk will Prevent Food Allergies in Babies
Milk containing alcohol can prevent food allergies in babies. Scientists say that ingredients in the fermented drink kefir may block immune responses which cause allergic reactions. Boffins in Taiwan tested the drink on mice. After three weeks, the amount of Ovalbumin - a protein found in egg whites which causes most allergic reactions in tots - reduced threefold. The study also found that the drink raised levels of “friendly” bacteria. Dr Ji-Ruei Liu, writing in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, said: “Maybe we can screen out certain components from kefir and utilise them in medicine.”
10/17/06 - Ethanol has worrisome side effects
Major concerns include the emissions of ethanol plants that run on fossil fuels and the soil erosion that large-scale corn growing can cause. Scientists and environmentalists are seeking ways to solve the industry's harmful side effects. "We love this revolution," said Rich Leopold, the council's executive director. "We think it's a great thing that this is happening. We just want to do it in the right way." Leopold said the state already has lost on average about half its rich, fertile topsoil because of farming during the last 50 or 60 years. As the ethanol industry expands, farmers will place more burden on farmland to produce more corn, he said. "It's not like we're against corn, you know," Leopold said. "We want to maximize the environmental benefits, and corn might not be the best way to do that in the long term." Ethanol makers defend their practices and say they are continually improving what they do.
10/17/06 - Imagining a Copyright for 'protected physical space'
At a Fresno Fair, a "Copyright-protected area" sign by a stall where a busker was selling the chance to have your picture taken with a bird. The idea was to use copyright law to stop you from taking your own pictures instead of buying them. One of the side-effects of the entertainment industry's war on copying is that it's created a kind of folk-mythology about copyright being a kind of magic word you can invoke to put a fence around anything that you want to police. There's no such thing as a copyright-protected area -- it might be reasonable, if you're in the taking-pictures-of-kids-with-animals business, to take some steps to shut out the competition, but appropriating the extraordinary "author's monopoly" that is copyright is both lazy and dishonest. Any businessperson has to contend with the realities of the world. Blacksmiths don't get to demand that we abandon the railroad and go back to riding horses they can shoe. Maybe it was once possible to take a studio photography business (where you could control who came in and hence set the rules about taking your own pictures) on the road with a county fair. But if your business depends on ensuring that your photons only enter the lens of your camera, then putting those photons in a public place is a bad idea. You've either got to take the losses you get from amateur photographers, use norms ("Please don't take your own pictures without asking, I do this for a living") instead of threats, or get into another line of work. Inventing magical copyright protection for the patch of dirt where you pitched your tent is the wrong answer.
10/17/06 - Listening To The Sound Of Skin Cancer
Researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia can now detect the spread of skin cancer cells through the blood by literally listening to their sound. The unprecedented, minimally invasive technique causes melanoma cells to emit noise, and could let oncologists spot early signs of metastases -- as few as 10 cancer cells in a blood sample -- before they even settle in other organs. The team's method, called photoacoustic detection, combines laser techniques from optics and ultrasound techniques from acoustics, using a laser to make cells vibrate and then picking up the characteristic sound of melanoma cells. In a clinical test, doctors would take a patient's blood sample and separate the red blood cells and the plasma. In a healthy person, the remaining cells would be white blood cells, but in a melanoma patient the sample may contain cancer cells. To find out, doctors would put the sample in saline solution and expose it to rapid-fire sequences of brief but intense blue-laser pulses, each lasting just five billionths of a second. In lab tests, the Missouri-Columbia team was able to detect melanoma cells obtained from actual patients, showing that the method can spot as few as 10 cells in saline solution. The dark, microscopic granules of melanin contained in the cancer cells absorb the energy bursts from the blue-laser light, going through rapid cycles of expanding as they heat up and shrinking as they cool down. These sudden changes generate loud cracks -- relative to the granules' size -- which propagate in the solution like tiny tsunamis. The sound waves produced by melanin are high-frequency ultrasounds, meaning that they cannot be heard by the human ear, even if amplified. However, researchers can pick them up with special microphones and analyze them with a computer. Other human cells do not contain pigments with the same color as melanin, so the melanin signature is easy to tell apart from other noises, said John Viator, a biomedical engineer at Missouri-Columbia and a coauthor of the Optics Letters paper. And the presence of melanin granules in the blood is an unmistakable sign. "The only reason there could be melanin in the human blood is that there would be melanoma cells," he said.
10/17/06 - Hide files in JPEG images
The Tech Tray weblog has posted a tutorial for hiding secret files inside JPEG images using the popular Windows archiver, WinRAR, and a little command line magic. Basically, you create a .rar archive of your to-be-hidden file, then run a copy command from the Windows command line (with the /b binary switch) to embed your secret file in your image. After you complete the process, you can open and view the JPEG like any other image - the only thing that might tip off that the image has got a secret is a potentially bloated file size. To grab the secret file, you just use WinRAR to extract the file from the image. (via lifehacker.com)
10/17/06 - The True Cost of Standby Power
"How much do all of our computers and electronic devices sitting in standby mode cost us? The author of the article concludes that he could save $24.44 per year by switching out wasteful power supplies. The article also touches on a global initiative to cut down on standby power, called '1-Watt': 'The idea has been promoted by the IEA, which first developed an international 1-Watt plan back in 1999. Countries like Australia and Korea have signed on officially, while countries like the US require 1-Watt in government procurement, which will have ripple effects throughout the economy. The goal of the program is to have standby power usage fall below 1W in all products by 2010.'" It's estimated that in industrialized countries, devices on standby consume on average 4% of the power used.
10/17/06 - Wristwatch Fertility Monitor
The OV-Watch is a $99 wristworn sensor that measures the salts in the wearer's sweat to identify when she's most fertile. From the product page: Researchers in the late 50s and early 60s noted that numerous salts (chloride, sodium, potassium) in a woman's sweat fluctuated in relation to the menstrual cycle. Chloride levels are low at the start of the menstrual cycle and peak three times during the cycle (see graph below). Using a patented biosensor, OV-Watch detects a baseline chloride ion level for each woman and then accurately predicts ovulation based on the timing of the first peak. The OV-Watch detects the chloride surge 3 days prior to the estrogen surge, 4 days prior to the LH surge and 5 days prior to ovulation, making it an earlier predictor of ovulation than any other chemical surge during the month. During the clinical trials for FDA approval with Dr. Arthur Haney at Duke University, approximately 3 out of 4 women received the full 5 day notice of ovulation while only 1 in 6 women were given more than 12 to 24 hours notice with urine tests or LH kits. (via boingboing.net)
10/17/06 - Is the Botnet Battle Already Lost?
"Researchers are finding it practically futile to keep up with evolving botnet attacks. 'We've known about [the threat from] botnets for a few years, but we're only now figuring out how they really work, and I'm afraid we might be two to three years behind in terms of response mechanisms,' said Marcus Sachs, a deputy director in the Computer Science Laboratory of SRI International, in Arlington, Va. There is a general feeling of hopelessness as botnet hunters discover that, after years of mitigating command and controls, the effort has largely gone to waste. 'We've managed to hold back the tide, but, for the most part, it's been useless,' said Gadi Evron, a security evangelist at Beyond Security, in Netanya, Israel, and a leader in the botnet-hunting community. 'When we disable a command-and-control server, the botnet is immediately re-created on another host. We're not hurting them anymore.' There is an interesting image gallery of a botnet in action as discovered by security researcher Sunbelt Software."
10/17/06 - $20 program for Two Screen ability
Windows only: Happiness is a second monitor. Unhappiness is realizing your video card doesn't support a second monitor or you simply don't have the spare cash to buy one. Enter MaxiVista, a slick utility that turns any spare notebook or tablet (or even a monitor-equipped desktop) into a second screen. Just install the utility on both machines and presto: You've got two monitors' worth of screen estate. MaxiVista used to sell for a steep $50, but the latest version runs just $20.96. Great way to get some use out of an old, unused machine. (via lifehacker.com)
10/17/06 - Double Standards driven by Fear?
IT is smaller than a 10 pence piece and all but invisible to people standing just inches away. Yet Nadia Eweida's tiny white gold cross is at the centre of a huge legal row that has engulfed Britain's biggest airline and infuriated religious groups. Check-in worker Nadia, 55, was forced to take unpaid leave by British Airways after refusing to remove the Christian emblem. But she claims it is a clear display of double standards as Muslims can wear head scarves and Sikh males their turbans. "It seems that only Christians are forbidden to express their faith," she told the Mirror. "I am not ashamed to be Christian and shouldn't be made to feel that way. The case echoes that of Fiona Bruce, the newsreader who has not worn her cross necklace on television since BBC governors debated whether it would cause offence to other religions. And it bears striking similarities to the Muslim teacher Aishah Azmi, from Dewsbury, Yorkshire, who is taking legal action after being suspended for wearing a veil in lessons. Nadia believes that, instead of constantly trying not to offend a minority faith, employers should demonstrate equal consideration towards people of all faiths.
10/17/06 - Officials fear a second nuclear age with spread of technology accelerates
The declaration last Monday by North Korea that it had conducted a successful atomic test brought to nine the number of nations believed to have nuclear arms. But atomic officials estimate that as many as 40 more countries have the technical skill, and in some cases the required material, to build a bomb. That ability, coupled with new nuclear threats in Asia and the Middle East, risks a second nuclear age, officials and arms control specialists say, in which nations are more likely to abandon the old restraints against atomic weapons. The spread of nuclear technology is expected to accelerate as nations redouble their reliance on atomic power. That will give more countries the ability to make reactor fuel, or, with the same equipment and a little more effort, bomb fuel - the hardest part of the arms equation. The International Atomic Energy Agency summoned hundreds of government officials and experts from around the world to Vienna in September to discuss tightening restrictions on who can produce nuclear fuel. "These dangers are urgent," Sam Nunn, an expert on nuclear proliferation and a former U.S. Democratic senator, told the group. "We are in a race between cooperation and catastrophe and, at this moment, the outcome is unclear." Mohamed ElBaradei, the director general of the I.A.E.A., has estimated that up to 49 nations now know how to make nuclear arms, and he has warned that global tensions could push some over the line. "We are relying," he said, "primarily on the continued good intentions of these countries - intentions which are in turn based on their sense of security or insecurity, and could therefore be subject to rapid change."
10/16/06 - The Battery-Powered Battery Charger
The P970 is essentially a 1700mAh rechargeable battery with a USB port on top. It weighs just 79g and measures 7.4 x 5.1 x 2.4cm. Motorola is pitching the product as an accessory for its own phones and accessories, but we'd bet it will prove handy for other gadgets that can recharge through their mini USB ports, such as phones, PDA and MP3 players. The idea's simple: you charge up the P970 at home or work. It's then ready to be hooked up to your phone when the handset's battery runs down. Motorola said the P970 is an ideal alternative to switching batteries or carrying an AC adaptor with you.
10/16/06 - Treatment to 'neutralize all flu'
In preliminary tests, it was found to protect animals against various strains of the virus - and may also protect against future pandemic strains. University of Warwick researchers used a flu virus naturally stripped of some genetic material to compete with other invading flu viruses. This slowed the rate of infection so much the body could fight it off. In effect, the invading virus became its own vaccine by triggering an immune response sufficiently powerful to neutralise it before it could gain a strong enough foothold.
10/16/06 - Earth Surface Machine to study Pedestrian movement
Meet PAMELA, the London-based Pedestrian Accessibility and Movement Environment Laboratory. A kind of local, robotic substitute for the earth's surface, PAMELA is actually an elevated platform, or "reconfigurable laboratory," upon which pedestrian behavior can be studied. PAMELA comes complete with interchangeable walking surfaces and cool lighting effects. There is even a state-of-the-art audio system, which "helps to make the experiments more realistic." All of this allows "'open space' accessibility issues to be examined rigorously under controlled conditions," as researchers test simulated versions of "existing and proposed pedestrian environments" for their public safety. Ultimately, as Spacing Wire reports, PAMELA "will enable cities to design better pedestrian infrastructure."
10/16/06 - Kids cured of cancer may face health woes later
Survivors of childhood cancer are highly likely to face chronic health problems later in life, researchers report. Doctors need to monitor these patients more closely for medical complications, experts warn. An analysis of more than 10,000 survivors of childhood cancer, who were treated in the 1970s and 1980s, reveals that 62% of them have suffered at least one chronic health problem as adults. A quarter of survivors reported three or more of chronic health issues.
10/16/06 - Tennessee stills fire up for new home brew
Inside a cinderblock shed, in a room with dusty Mason jars lining the shelves and a bag of potting soil on the floor, Mark Hanson brews his future in 55-gallon drums. In one of the drums next to the wall, corn mash ferments for Hanson's new ethanol still, which he bought earlier this year and set up beneath an overhang outside the door. He's begun making experimental batches of ethanol, and hopes that by next year, he'll be using it to fuel his rototiller , his lawnmower, his chainsaw, and his jeep. The nation's energy woes have brought new attention to an old power source, attracting fervent advocates like Hanson who see limitless possibility in ethanol, which can be blended with gasoline for fuel. A small Tennessee company has tapped into that thirst for alternative fuel, selling kits and blueprints for home ethanol stills to people like Hanson, 44, who worry about the nation's dependence on foreign oil, fuel efficiency, and the environment. The stills made by Dogwood Energy, which make between 2 1/2 and 5 gallons of ethanol an hour, are essentially the same as the moonshine stills that were once common throughout the Southeast. Dogwood's offices, ironically, are just a few miles down the road from the Jack Daniel's distillery in Lynchburg. To make fuel ethanol, still owners must get a federal permit and agree to make the ethanol undrinkable by putting in additives. The number of home ethanol producers is growing quickly. The federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which grants permits for fuel ethanol production, gave out just 34 permits nationwide for small-scale ethanol production in 2003. Last year, the agency issued 202 permits, and so far this year, 470 have been granted -- more than 10 times the number just three years ago, according to bureau spokesman Art Resnick. / Methanol is one of the chapters in "14 Ways to Save Money on Gas" which is an eBook download for only $16.95 from Vanguard Sciences.
10/16/06 - More crops for Africa as trees reclaim the desert
Farmers are turning the barren wastelands of the Sahel region on the Sahara's southern edge into green, productive farmland. For once there is some good news from Africa. Farmers are reclaiming the desert, turning the barren wastelands of the Sahel region on the Sahara's southern edge into green, productive farmland. Satellite images taken this year and 20 years ago show that the desert is in retreat thanks to a resurgence of trees. They are mainly ana trees (Faidherbia albida), a type of acacia. Wherever the trees grow, farming can resume. Tree planting has led to the re-greening of as much as 3 million hectares of land in Niger, enabling some 250,000 hectares to be farmed again. The land became barren in the 1970s and early 1980s through poor management and felling of trees for firewood, but since the mid-1980s farmers in parts of Niger have been protecting them instead of chopping them down. The results have been staggering, says Chris Reij of the Free University Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
10/16/06 - U.S. wasted chance to improve the world: Gorbachev
(Ain't it the truth! - JWD) Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, who played a key role in ending the Cold War, said the United States had squandered an opportunity to improve global politics after the Cold War, a paper said on Friday. In comments that were among the harshest he has made about the United States, Gorbachev compared U.S. foreign policy to one of the deadliest diseases on the planet -- AIDS. Washington will in future have to act less on its own and get used to a position of diminished importance, he said. "The Americans will have to understand that in future they will have to cooperate and make decisions jointly, instead of just always wanting to give orders," Gorbachev said. He said the United States and other Western countries had missed an opportunity to make the world a better place after the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 ushered in the end of communism.
10/16/06 - Australia 'to fill China energy needs'
Australian Minister Senator Ian Campbell is in China this week to open a $300 million wind farm built by Australian company Roaring Forties. "The challenge is to see massive increases in energy in China with massively reduced greenhouse gas emissions and the Australian renewable energy industry can play an incredibly transformational role in delivering that outcome," Senator Campbell told ABC radio.
Labor has long criticised the Government for failing to take drastic action in Australia to encourage renewable energy. Roaring Forties cancelled two wind farms in South Australia and Tasmania earlier this year over an alleged lack of Government support for renewable energy initiatives. "It's very clear that one reason why renewable energy is expanding in China is that they have a 15 per cent renewable energy target compared with our pathetic 2 per cent target," Mr Albanese told ABC radio.
10/16/06 - $200 Million Floating Nuclear Power Plant
10/16/06 - More body mass index, lower IQ?
In 'A Floating Chernobyl?,' Popular Science reports that two Russian companies plan to build the world's first floating nuclear power plant to deliver cheap electricity to northern territories. The construction should start next year for a deployment in 2010. The huge barge will be home for two 60-megawatt nuclear reactors which will work until 2050... if everything works fine. It looks like a frightening idea, don't you think? But read more for additional details and pictures of this floating nuclear power plant."
"French scientists have linked obesity to lower IQ reports the Telegraph. In a new five-year study of more than 2,200 adults, people with a low body mass index (BMI) could recall 30% more words in a vocabulary test than those who were obese. The fatter subjects also showed a higher rate of cognitive decline when they were retested five years later. In the United States, 30% of the population is obese according to OECD. That's the highest rate of obesity anywhere. Do these high obesity rates affect the average IQ of the population?"
10/15/06 - Viruses remain as guests, hotel study finds
Hotel guests leave behind more than just socks and old paperbacks: A new study found viruses on TV remotes, light switches and even hotel pens after cold sufferers checked out. The germ testing was done before the rooms were cleaned, so it likely overstates the risks that most travelers would face. Nevertheless, it shows the potential hazards if a hotel's turnaround amounts to little more than changing the sheets and wiping out the tub. Besides hotel hazards, the findings point out things that people may not think to clean in their homes when someone has a cold. "We know that viruses can survive on surfaces for a long time - more than four days," said Dr. Birgit Winther, an ear, nose and throat specialist who led the study. Researchers had 15 people with lab-confirmed rhinovirus colds spend a night in individual rooms at a nearby hotel and, after they checked out, tested 10 items they said they had touched. About one-third of the objects were contaminated with rhinovirus. We were surprised to find so many," Winther said. Virus was found on seven out of 14 door handles and six of 14 pens. Six out of 15 light switches, TV remotes and faucets tested positive, as did five of 15 phones. Shower curtains, coffee makers and alarm clocks also harbored viruses. Surprisingly, virus turned up on only one of the 10 toilet handles tested. Some in the hotel industry say they have strict policies on how to disinfect rooms. "We do wipe everything down, from the remote control to the telephone," said Michelle Pike, corporate director of housekeeping for Hilton brand hotels. Most of the hotels are independently operated, but the chain does have rules for disinfection, she said.
10/15/06 - Monism as the cause of Hate
(I stumbled on this page which needs some cleanup work but has some interesting ideas. - JWD) Our assessment of Earth Millennium III's year 2001 is that hate reigns on our planet. Not love! Hate! Hate reigns in both 'religious' and 'scientific' (and other) organizations! Why? Our answer is very simple: Either/Or classical monism. Most of us on Earth see reality as logical. A logical reality allows/forces its sentients to assess all of reality and its constituents as either/or: right/wrong, good/bad, correct/incorrect, "for us"/"against us", etc.. But guess what? Is reality classically logical? No! Emphatically no! Reality is quantum paralogical/pragmalogical! In quantum reality there are not perfect, ideal, classical either/or dichotomies! And when we think classically either/or, that thinking places us in disharmony with quantum reality! Some of us have been proselytized via religious scriptures, "Thou shalt not judge," and "Judge not lest ye be judged." Quantum reality says it even more firmly: "It is impossible for anyone to judge anything absolutely." Quantum uncertainty reigns in reality! Classical dichotomous certainty is a grand illusion! In Quantonics, we call that grand illusion, "SOM." We claim, along with our mentors, that SOM reality is a deign to feign. It is a grand Earth-chauvinistic self-delusion. We claim SOM, and its latest creation CR, are mindsets of hate born of either/or thinking! This captures the essence of what Quantonics is about. Quantonics wants to show all of our community how hate is spawned of classical either/or thinking.
10/15/06 - Invention Rewires Brain
A London firm may be offering relief within a year to sufferers of Parkinson's disease and other neurological ills. Medtrode Inc. has won an international prize for its "deep brain stimulation" technology. It makes an electrode that can be implanted in a patient's brain, sending out electrical impulses. The device may be used to treat tremors, slowness of movement and rigidity and also may aid sufferers of Tourette's syndrome, depression, epilepsy and eating disorders. "The electrodes deliver electrical stimulation to the brain and rewire the brain by restoring contacts between neurons," she added. In development for two years and now at the animal trial stage, it may be on the market by the end of 2007.
10/15/06 - Damien's Machine
Intriguing title, isn't it? You know where it comes from, right? If not let me refresh your memory; in the book/movie The Omen 3, Damien Thorn (the Antichrist) develops a new source of free energy which is assumed to be for the purpose of leading the uneducated and morally bankrupt masses of the world into damnation. Not really a ringing endorsement of alternative energy is it? But what about the Thorn Industries device itself? I don't think that the movie really went into describing how it was supposed to work but I do remember what it looked like. It was a low, factory type building which was situated right along the seashore. It had a large, metal ball above it which was supported by a cylindrical tower, sort of like a huge Van De Graff generator. It didn't mean anything to me at the time and still is only a fictional product of the writer's or filmmaker's imagination but the image stuck with me. Electrolysis cells require a certain minimum voltage to operate, depending on the electrolyte used (usually 2 volts or less) and until this minimum voltage build up on the wire the cell will act like a capacitor itself. Once sufficient charge builds up the cell will act as a conductor and drain away the excess charge. An engineer might make many beneficial modifications to such a system. Such modifications might include using the antenna wire as a high voltage source and pulsing the DC charge by installing an oscillator or some such electronic component and then use a transformer to convert the high voltage low current of the antenna to low voltage high current on it's secondary as the current level not the voltage is what determines how much H2 is produced in an electrolysis cell. That is probably the simplest free hydrogen system that I can show you and it is a working embodiment of the Damien device from the movie. Cool, ain't it?
10/15/06 - Space tourism on China's agenda?
China may one day offer trips into space for tourists, a senior official said Thursday, outlining the country's plans to launch more rockets, explore the moon and even help farmers by using satellite transmissions. Sending up tourists, like Iranian-American telecommunications billionaire Anousheh Ansari, who paid $20 million for a stay on the International Space Station, is another option China could go for, Sun said. "Once our technology is more mature, more reliable, there is this possibility. Not only male tourists, but female too," he said. Sun defended the billions of dollars China--a developing country where millions still struggle to clothe and feed themselves--earmarks for space exploration. China will next year spend only a tenth of the $17 billion NASA has budgeted for the same time frame, he said. The first stage of China's lunar-exploration plan will cost just slightly more than 1 billion yuan ($126.4 million). Money well spent, Sun said. "We think that China's space program can solve many economic and social problems that we are now facing," he said.
10/15/06 - The Energy Consumption Of Western Society
Are we so reliant on various electrical appliances that they control us?! If not, you could easily manage to save considerable quantities of cash as well as do a good deed for the environment. For the corporations it is a simple matter of economy - energy conservation can push up the yearly revenue by a great deal. Your typical consumer on the other hand use up considerable amounts of power, mostly electricity, for no good reason whatsoever. No? Shaking your head in disbelief at the above statement? Well, when was the last time you didn't turn off your computer "due to the fact that it takes so long to start back up", how much is your television turned on without you genuinely watching, do you keep indoor temperatures at a level where you could walk around in your undies all day even in the winter, etc.? Or maybe you are one among those "sporty car owners" who can't even make it across a parking lot without flooring it? A majority of folks would probably answer yes to several of the questions above, and that implies they are using way more energy than they in fact need to. For a fact, a majority of consumers are spending hundreds on electricity they don't even realize they are using. As an illustration, leaving you television set in stand-by mode (when the little red light is on and you can turn it on with the remote) will at all times draw energy and can cost you more than 100 dollars during the course of an entire year. And by adopting a more relaxed driving style with your machine - not the same as driving as a snail, mind you - you can save not simply on fuel, but on tires and the rest of the machine as well. If the entire population of a large country like the US could manage to actually turn off their television every night, instead of leaving it in standby mode, that would quickly be equivalent of the power from an entire nuclear power plant. Why do we make things more difficult than they are?
10/14/06 - A New Energy Pathway
This is a compilation of a group of new energy FE/OU thesis found on New Energy Movement.Org website transcribed with their permission for re-posting here. The text lays out a pathway for pioneer inventors and physics innovators of the new energy sources to follow in presenting and facililtating their work through industrial, political, cultural and social ways. The field of emerging technologies broadly termed 'New Energy' is distinguished from conventional alternative methods of energy generation. This new class of innovative energy machines spans several disciplines, from chemistry and physics, to electrical, electronic and mechanical engineering. What sets these advanced designs apart is their superior ability to access the primal forces of the cosmos. Their performance forces us to see Space itself as the repository of near-infinite energy. 'New Energy' connotes a range of technology that shows clear evidence of being an evolutionary leap in the understanding of Nature. The New Energy Movement is devoted to bringing expert attention to what is a budding field of technology development. We also seek to widen public inquiry into the potential for positive social change this movement heralds. If we want to see a fundamental shift in the power structure of this world, New Energy clearly presents an unparalleled solution. It is as if the blinders have come off, and no one can pull the wool over our eyes any longer. Energy is not a private commodity of a few industrialists, but the cosmic birthright of all who share breath. Social policy must reflect this essential wisdom, and government must uphold it or be forced by the common people to accept a more equitable compact.
10/14/06 - Experts say US should hike gasoline taxes
The United States should hike taxes on gasoline and improve energy efficiency to curb oil demand in a bid to formulate better foreign policy, a report from the Council on Foreign Relations said on Thursday. The report did not spell out how high the gasoline tax should be, but estimated a gasoline tax of US$1.00 per gallon would reduce demand by 3 to 6 percent over the first several years and would encourage use of more fuel-efficient vehicles over a course of 10 years. The United States, which consumes and imports more oil than any other country, has 4.6 percent of the world's population, but uses 25 percent of the world's oil. Its dependence on imported oil, currently at 60 percent, puts the country in increasing competition with other importers, like the rapidly growing economies of China and India.
10/14/06 - What would happen if all humans disappeared from the Earth?
Treehugger has a timeline that shows how long it would take for traces of human-made things and systems to vanish if we all suddenly went away. Reader comment: This article in NewScientist describes in detail what the image you posted is showing. It's a fascinating read, but somewhat dissapointing: It's as if all the things we might want to leave behind will vanish into nature, and all the unitentional and harmful byproducts of our society will remain for ages.
10/14/06 - This little Honda is a natural gas
The cleanest car on the road. It's a Honda Civic that burns compressed natural gas. The cars rather, the car, because only one is allocated to a dealer in the Syracuse area will carry the natural gas equivalent of eight gallons of gas and go up to 200 miles on one tank. The Honda will sell for $24,590. It will look like any other Civic sedan. Of course, there's a hitch: There has to be a natural gas supply to fuel the car. Honda has that covered. Carr said a home natural gas delivery system that hooks into a house's natural gas supply will be available. It will sell for $3,555.
State and federal tax credits for driving a clean vehicle will be available for the car and the gas delivery system. Carr said the tax credits on the price of the car are about $8,000. When all is said and done, the home delivery system will cost about $775. "At-home fueling will work out to about $1.20 a gallon," he said. The natural gas Civic delivers about 29 miles per gallon in the city and 39 on the highway, he said. A person who buys a natural gas Civic but doesn't want to install a home fuel system can open an account to refuel at the state Department of Transportation site on Airport Road, North Syracuse, or at the Centro natural gas delivery station, which is open 24 hours a day. Carr answered safety concerns by pointing out that public buses run on natural gas. He said the car's gas tank will be built to withstand an impact. "Natural gas is safer than gasoline, which is one of the most volatile liquids we know," he said.
10/14/06 - Protect your Cellphone from Theft
(Thanks to Tom Sumner for this info. - JWD) Have you ever wondered why phone companies don't seem interested in trying to prevent the theft of mobile phones? If you have ever lost, or had one stolen, and if you are on a plan, you still have to pay the plan approximately up to 24 months, and you have to buy another handset and enter into another contract. This is more revenue for the phone company. There is a simple way of making lost or stolen mobiles useless to thieves and the phone companies know about it, but keep it quiet. To check your mobile phone's serial number, key in the following on your phone: star-hash-zero-six-hash ( * # 0 6 # ) and a fifteen digit code will appear on the screen. This is unique to your handset. Write it down and keep it safe. Should your mobile phone get stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them this code. They will then be able to block your handset, so even if the thief changes the sim card, your phone will be totally useless. You probably won't get your phone back, but at least you know that whoever stole it can't use/sell it either. If everybody did this, there would be no point in stealing mobile phones. You may want to send this to as many people with mobiles as possible. THIS NEXT PART IS FOR HOME PHONES, BUSINESS PHONES AND CELL PHONES - No charge for directory assistance
Phone companies are charging us $1.00 or more for 411 - information calls. When you need to use the 411 / information option! Simply dial 1-800-FREE-411 or 1 800 373 3411 without incurring a charge. This is information people don't mind receiving - Pass it on. Works on home phones and cellphones.
10/13/06 - HoloDeck is almost here - Pyramidal Holographic Projector
The future is here: holographic ads are ready to hit us in the eyes. What can be the next step in advertising? Maybe show us ads when we sleep and dream? Cheoptics360 is a new medium that provides hitherto undreamt of opportunities for narrating in 3D. The medium will move the boundaries for visual communications in public places, and will change how people in the film and advertising worlds and architects work. You are standing in Times Square in New York. Imagine a building with a large glass pyramid on top. Inside a hologram of a full-size true-to-life Madonna is performing. Objects and symbols float around her, reinforcing the musical impression of the living images - like a music video on an MTV broadcast virtually in true life. It may sound like a scene from the future, but with Cheoptics360 it is already possible. The fact is that Cheoptics360 provides entirely new opportunities for showing films and presentations in inspiring and exciting ways. Observers see floating video images, which can be viewed from all angles, 360 degrees around: a spacious 3D experience never previously encountered. The Cheoptics360 technology works by using a four-sided pyramid manufactured of transparent material so the audience can see through it from every side. Inside the pyramid chamber the audience can see objects that seem to be freely floating video images and computer graphics. This is done through surface mirroring and reflections. The pyramid itself is used as a kind of prism that assembles light from four video projections into a solid image. “We simply use physical space to create a three dimensional feeling of reality as though the object was actually present in the space. In future, using this technique physical space itself will create 3D depth,” says Peter Simonsen. Major opportunities This technique is excellent for making products and major complex projects tangible. It will also be ideal for shows and sporting events and for entertainments centres. They hung an invisible screen up in a clothing store in a pedestrian shopping precinct on which they showed a film. Passers-by saw what they thought was a girl standing in front of a mirror trying on clothes. The only thing was - she wasn’t there; she was just a digital video image. It was a success. So many people gathered in front of the shop that the police had to come to disperse the crowd. “In a way, we have taken the situation with the girl and placed it in a different space. In this way we are able to blend two universes and achieve a completely different third effect. We borrow the veracity of the physical world by setting our video pixels up in an actual space, which is the secret behind the attention that we attract when we show pictures in Free Format,” says Peter Simonsen.
10/13/06 - Gas from Animal waste runs Generator
Raising 25 pigs would ensure sufficient fuel for a household while the benefits would be much higher for a large farm. Mai Thanh Xuan, a customer from Da Nang City, said he saved VND1.5 million a month on power by using the generator. Its inventor, Bui Hoang Lang, said he had produced the first generator a few months ago and sold them at just VND6-16 million (US$375-1,000) hoping that more farmers would use new technology. He was yet to "think of making a profit", he said. "The machines come in different capacities - from 5 to 10kW - and are easy to operate and maintain," the 32-year-old Lang, a native of An Giang province’s Chau Thanh District, said claiming users could recoup their investment in just a year. He had first experimented on machines used to grind corn and rice, and it had proved successful. He had then rolled up his sleeves to develop a biogas-fuelled generator from a mini-generator he had taken apart and assembled several times, changing some of its components to suit the new fuel. After several unsuccessful attempts he had finally succeeded. Lang, who graduated from the HCM City University of Technology’s Engineering Department, said he could also convert petrol-run generators to run on biogas. The inventor can be reached at (08) 2606424 or 0903315159.
10/13/06 - Candy Rockets
Website showing experiments using # Pixy Stix propellant # Oreo Creme and Potassium Nitrate # Snickers Bar and Potassium Nitrate # Pixy Stix propellant # High-Power flight test using recrystallized propellant made from Pixy Stix and potassium nitrate (KNO3) # High-Power static Test using Pixy Stix and KNO3 # High Power Flight test - the Sugar Rush hits the mile mark... with Pixy Stix! Sugar Shot to Space - a group of dedicated amateurs will soon attempt to reach space with a sugar-powered rocket.
10/13/06 - Quantum Flux Engine for Artificial Intelligence Apps
You don't have to be a science fiction fan to appreciate the magnitude of excitement that was felt when the first team of scientists learned to grow neurons on a silicon chip. One of the challenges faced when designing the interface was stimulating brain neurons without damaging them. By concurrently shining a laser on a neuron that's grown on a silicon wafer while applying a voltage difference across it, the current passes only through the illuminated area of least resistance, firing the cell specifically and non-invasively. the Virtual Intelligence Matrix, an AI project which models how neurons process information. The VIM began where many great ideas are born: in a bar at three in the morning, when the idea for the Quantum Flux Engine -- a true random number generator based on quantum events -- was born, said inventor Dr. Michael A. Colicos. The QFE plays a critical role in the VIM, signifying the importance of randomness in Colicos's model of mental function, especially for simulating creativity. "Randomness is definitely important, without a doubt," he said. "But the true nature of randomness is something that I can't say that I understand. The randomness in the computer program really only lasts for a split second at the start of a process." "As the system instantly starts to form, the system itself starts to perturb the randomness and that is what makes it lose randomness. It's the loss of randomness that becomes the detection of information, that becomes meaningful." The latest Quantum Flux program, VIWonder, is an internet based system that manipulates language-based intelligence. "It takes a look at language and the order of words--how they appear in sentences," said Colicos. "It looks for and extracts patterns and associations, assimilating them into a relational matrix of ideas." On a very superficial level, the program is like a webspider, he explained. The user enters a topic that they want to discuss and the information for the dialogue is then pulled from the net, carrying a train of thought. This information is presented as a conversation between two women pacing about in virtual reality. Colicos plans to eventually fuse his work with the VIM with his work on the neuro-silicon interface.
10/13/06 - Honey Remedy Could Save Limbs
(Thanks to Bert Pool for this headsup! - JWD) Honey, a treatment once used by ancient Sumerian physicians, touted in the Talmud and praised by Hippocrates. Jennifer Eddy dressed the wounds in honey-soaked gauze. In just two weeks, her patient's ulcers started to heal. Pink flesh replaced black. A year later, he could walk again. Eddy is one of many doctors to recently rediscover honey as medicine. Abandoned with the advent of antibiotics in the 1940s and subsequently disregarded as folk quackery, a growing set of clinical literature and dozens of glowing anecdotes now recommend it. Most tantalizingly, honey seems capable of combating the growing scourge of drug-resistant wound infections, especially methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, the infamous flesh-eating strain. These have become alarmingly more common in recent years, with MRSA alone responsible for half of all skin infections treated in U.S. emergency rooms. So-called superbugs cause thousands of deaths and disfigurements every year, and public health officials are alarmed. Some of the most promising results come from Germany's Bonn University Children's Hospital, where doctors have used honey to treat wounds in 50 children whose normal healing processes were weakened by chemotherapy. The children, said pediatric oncologist Arne Simon, fared consistently better than those with the usual applications of iodine, antibiotics and silver-coated dressings. The only adverse effects were pain in 2 percent of the children and one incidence of eczema. These risks, he said, compare favorably to iodine's possible thyroid effects and the unknowns of silver -- and honey is also cheaper. "In some, antibiotics won't work at all," he said. "People are dying from these infections."
10/13/06 - Bee venom successfully treats men’s most precious organ
Bee venom for treatment of a number of medical conditions is widely available. From 5,000 to 10,000 patients receive bee venom treatment in the U.S. each year. Bee venom is a complex mix (50 different components) of a variety of peptides and proteins, not to mention phosphor, calcium, magnesium, copper, formic and hydrochloric acids, fats and amino acids, glucose and fructose, acytilcholine and histamine. In terms of therapy, the most abundant component of bee venom is melittin, which has a powerful anti-inflammatory action. Adolapine is a more powerful analgesic than a combination of opium and aspirin. Apamine has an invigorating effect on the nervous system, and cardiopeptide acts as a stabilizer for the cardiovascular system. Bee venom is often administered to those who suffer from arthritis and rheumatic pains. You had enough of that back pain or osteochondritis? Put a bee on the problem part. Bee venom is also claimed to be of use in upset stomach, neuralgias, sciatica, asthma, hypertension, atherosclerosis, and migraine. Bee venom is used for treating the most precious organ of a male body i.e. a prostate gland. Female patients use it for “stinging” uncomplicated cases of varicose veins and swollen joints. Apitherapists make a lot of effort in order to lessen the negative effects associated with a procedure. An apitherapist’s office normally has lots of plants and a soft tune playing at the background. A patient is positioned comfortably. A bee is held with tweezers and placed onto a problem part provided that the problem is “close to the surface.” Bee venom therapy is used in combination with acupuncture for treating other ailments lying deeper under the skin. The sting remains in the wound for 10-15 minutes so that it may infuse every bit of the venom into the skin. Apitherapists make a lot of effort in order to lessen the negative effects associated with a procedure. An apitherapist’s office normally has lots of plants and a soft tune playing at the background. A patient is positioned comfortably. A bee is held with tweezers and placed onto a problem part provided that the problem is “close to the surface.” Bee venom therapy is used in combination with acupuncture for treating other ailments lying deeper under the skin. The sting remains in the wound for 10-15 minutes so that it may infuse every bit of the venom into the skin. A bee sting is painful and the action of venom can last for several days. A bee is disposable in terms of therapy: it dies shortly after leaving a jagged sting in the wound. More than 100 stings at a time is a lethal dosage for man. Bee venom therapy cannot be used by patients with diseases of liver, kidney, spleen. Those with diabetes, cancer, tuberculosis and heart failure cannot use bee venom either. The same applies to patients diagnosed with infectious diseases, heart failure and depletion.
10/13/06 - A Tinkerer's Delight
Buy some gallium
and cast it into whatever shape you want, then give it to somebody and watch it melt in their hand. The site shows you how to make dozens of gadgets, and with each one you learn something along the way. For instance, you can make a high-voltage alarm in five minutes using a couple of Coke cans and some aluminum foil.
10/13/06 - 155mph 'Superbus' looks like Limo
Researchers at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands are developing a "superbus" that goes 155 MILES PER HOUR and runs on electricity. The aerodynamic bus is low -- too low for passengers inside to stand up -- so every passenger has his own door. The 30-seat bus is the same length and width of a standard city bus, but it's only as high as an SUV. To catch the bus, passengers text-message the dispatcher, and are picked up anywhere they want along special speedways constructed for the bus system. The researchers plan to build a fully functional prototype for the Beijing Olympics in two years.
10/13/06 - Cat toxoplasma causes boy births in Humans
A common cat parasite that can easily infect humans causes women to give birth to more boys than girls. Researchers at Prague's Charles University correlated data on nearly 2,000 babies with their mothers' levels of antibodies to toxoplasma, the parasite that infects humans through contact with cat shit and also some uncooked pork and beef. From The Guardian: They discovered that women whose antibody count was high - suggesting a substantial infection - had a much higher chance of having baby boys. In most populations the birth rate is around 51% boys, but women infected with toxoplasma had up to a 72% chance of a boy. Toxoplasma causes congenital defects in newborns and can trigger miscarriages, but a link with the gender of newborns has never been identified before... In most cases the parasite is harmless in humans but it is still unclear what the infection does to people in the long term. Researchers at Oxford University have proposed that the parasite could explain altered personality and changes in IQ levels after their research on rats showed that infection can persuade rats into a suicidal attraction to cats.
10/13/06 - 10 reasons why you shouldn’t go for psychic readings
Almost everybody, once in a lifetime, is tempted to go for psychic readings. Either for matters of love, or for matters of money, the attraction to take a look into the future is irresistible. Yet, this does not bring in the expected happiness, so here there are the 10 reasons why you should refrain from going for psychic readings...
10/13/06 - 41% of Drivers Didn’t Change Habits When Gas Was $3
Nearly 41% of people polled stated that they didn’t change their habits in the first place, even when gas prices were at their all-time record highs. With 48% of people stating they were still trying to get the best gas mileage possible, I was taken back by how close the vote actually was, especially considering the built in bias of who regularly visits this site. After all, this is a site about ways to save gas. Granted, I know this was a very unscientific poll, many of the voters were probably biased and the sample size (just under 100 people) probably wasn’t indicative of the general population, but at the same time, those stats certainly weren’t what most people would have expected. Considering the huge outcry this summer when gas hit a record high of $3.06 per gallon, I assumed that more people would have tried to get better gas mileage out of their cars, whether it was through better driving habits or by driving less.
10/13/06 - 14 Ways to Save Money on Fuel Costs
This eBook is the result of years of research into various methods to increase mileage, reduce pollution and most importantly, reduce overall fuel costs. It starts out with the simplest methods and offers progressively more detailed technologies that have been shown to reduce fuel costs. As a bonus to readers, I have salted the pages with free interesting BONUS items that correlate to the relevant page.
Just filling up with one tank of gas using this or other methods explained here will pay for this eBook. Of course, many more methods are out there but I provided only the ones which I think are practical and can be studied by the average person who is looking for a way to immediately reduce their fuel costs. I am currently using two of the easier methods in my own vehicle which normally gets 18-22 mpg and now gets between 28 and 32 mpg depending on driving conditions. A tank of gas for my 1996 Ford Ranger costs about $45.00 here so I am saving around $15-$20 PER TANK, without hurting my engine and with 'greener' emissions due to a cleaner burn!
The techniques provided in this ebook begin with simple things you can do NOW to improve your mileage and lower your gas costs.
10/13/06 - Israeli doctors arrested over illegal human experiment
Four senior Israeli doctors suspected of illegally experimenting on humans were arrested on Monday, local daily Ha'aretz reported. Israel's national fraud squad has launched an investigation into the affair and a court will decide whether to remand the four on Monday evening, said Ha'aretz. The State Comptroller's Office slammed the hospitals over their illegal experiments in a report in May 2005, the daily said. According to the report, the hospitals in Gedera and Rehovot conducted illegal and unethical testing on thousands of elderly patients for years. During one of the incidents described, twelve patients died either during or shortly after the experiments, but these incidents were not reported to the Health Ministry or investigated, as is required by law. The ministry's investigation revealed that some of the patients were included in the experiments without providing their consent, while some of them suffered from severe mental damage, which prevented them from being legally capable of providing consent. According to the State Comptroller's report, some of the tests did not even yield any medically or scientifically beneficial results. Furthermore, some of the experiments were conducted despite top doctors' warnings that they were illegal or unethical.
10/12/06 - Vitreous Carbon Lead Acid Battery
Alternative energy company Power Technology, Inc., Houston, TX, (OTCBB: PWTC.OB) announced that it has begun the manufacturing of its patented current collectors in its new pilot plant. The plant has successfully manufactured reticulated vitreous carbon onto which a custom designed plating system applies a lead tin alloy to create patented current collectors for use in the company’s advanced batteries. They had previously received formal written notice from the United States Patent and Trademark Office of the Allowability of a Patent for its core battery technology. Joey Jung, Chief Technology Officer of Power Technology, is an inventor and developer of the technology. Power_currentcollectorcomparisonThe Power Technology invention is a battery comprised of electrical current collectors constructed of reticulated vitreous carbon covered with a thin layer of a lead tin alloy. The current collectors create up to four times higher surface area for electrochemical reactions to take place compared to those in a typical lead acid battery, which results in a battery with higher efficiency and higher capacity meaning more electricity is generated. A comparison of their current collector and a typical lead-acid battery collector grid is shown in the picture.
10/12/06 - Tidal Power for San Francisco
According to a San Francisco Chronicle article turbines submerged in waters below the Golden Gate Bridge could generate enough alternative energy to provide power to nearly 40,000 San Francisco homes. City officials hope that these turbines will capture tidal energy and generate as much as 38 megawatts of power. The tides at the Golden Gate offer one of the best locations on the western coast of North America to generate that power, according to a study conducted by the Electric Power Research Institute. Further studies need to be done, however, to answer questions about where the turbines would actually be located, how big they would be, and the potential environmental impacts they would have on the bay and marine life.
10/12/06 - Nanofiber Gel Halts Bleeding
Composed of peptides, the liquid self-assembles into a protective nanofiber gel when applied to a wound. Researchers conducted a series of experiments on various mammals, including rodents and pigs, applying the clear liquid agent to the brain, skin, liver, spinal cord, and femoral artery to test its ability to halt bleeding and seal wounds. "It worked every single time," said Ellis-Behnke. They found that it stopped the bleeding in less than 15 seconds, and even worked on animals given blood-thinning medications.
The wound must still be stitched up after the procedure; but unlike other agents designed to stop bleeding, it does not have to be removed from the wound site. The liquid's only byproduct is amino acids: tissue building blocks that can be used to actually repair the site of the injury, according to the researchers. It is also nontoxic, causes no immune response in the patient, and can be used in a wet environment, according to Ellis-Behnke.
10/12/06 - Waste Heat recovery system produces Electricity
The Kohkala technology recovers waste heat (or uses solar heat) and produces electricity as well as hot water and space heating from low temperature heat that is usually wasted. Kokhala's solution uses a unique heat-to-electricity closed loop power cycle solution optimized to generate electricity from external heat sources above 120F. The heart of the EnergyCell® are two proprietary, oil-free variable speed positive displacement expander engines, optimized to efficiently convert the external heat into mechanical rotary power, and then into electricity. The modular components are designed to function in a compound thermal relationship such that a high temperature power cycle is optimized with working fluid circulates between 600F and 250F and a low temperature power cycle is optimized with a different working fluid circulates between 250F and 120F. Since the heat transfer and expansion occurs in a biphase mode, cycle efficiency are optimized and the heat exchangers are minimized. Each expander turns an efficient permanent magnet DC generator with a high turned down ratio. The residual heat from the low power temperature cycle is provide to heat domestic hot water and provide comfort heating for the facility. Based on principles of organic Rankine thermodynamics, the EnergyCell®. exhibit excellent efficiency, low acoustical and electrical noise, no polluting emissions, high reliability and long life.
10/12/06 - Silver-zinc batteries could replace lithium ion in Electronics
Silver-zinc batteries can store about 25 percent more energy in the same space, a result of both the chemistry and a more space-efficient flat shape, compared with cylindrical lithium-ion cells inside laptop battery packs. Silver-zinc batteries use a safer chemistry than most lithium-ion batteries, manufacturers could use larger batteries packs in laptops. Silver-zinc rechargeable batteries are not new--for example, they've been used by the Navy in submarines for years. But they've been plagued by high costs due to the use of silver, and by a short lifespan because they can be charged and discharged for only a relatively few cycles, and so have to be replaced more frequently than other types of batteries. Dueber says the company plans to keep down the costs with a recycling program that will allow it to reuse the silver and zinc. And it has extended the charging cycle-life to hundreds of cycles--similar to many lithium-ion batteries. One of the reasons for the previously low cycle-life is that, as the batteries charge and recharge, zinc in the cell undergoes physical changes that lead to decreasing cell capacities. The company addressed this problem by embedding zinc granules within a conductive polymer. The safety of the batteries in part results from the use of a nonflammable electrolyte. "
10/12/06 - Iowa Company Turns to Ammonia to Solve the Hydrogen Storage Problem
Hydrogen Engine Center, Inc. announced today that HEC and Sawtelle & Rosprim, Inc. (“Sawtelle”) will work together to design and build the world’s first Ammonia Fueled Irrigation Pump System for the purpose of meeting California’s new emissions requirements scheduled to go into effect in 2010. Plans include integrating HEC’s ammonia-powered engines with Sawtelle’s pump technologies and expertise to complete a prototype system for testing and evaluation. The prototype system is being designed to run 24 hours a day and is expected to be tested in California during the 2007 irrigation season. HEC intends to begin selling the finalized system into California during 2008. Ammonia (NH3), also known as anhydrous ammonia, which the agricultural industry has relied on as a fertilizer for many years, contains no carbon, stores like propane and is the second most prevalent chemical in the world. Ammonia contains more hydrogen per cubic foot than liquid H2. Hollinger considers ammonia the “other hydrogen.” An infrastructure for ammonia is already in place, as transporting and storing the fuel is much like that of propane. Usage and safety regulations for ammonia are already in place, therefore, the process of obtaining a permit to use ammonia is usually relatively simple. Ammonia pipelines can be found in many areas of the United States , including Iowa , and distribution of the fuel is already established. (via Al Fin, check it out!)
10/12/06 - Sega Develops Camcorder for Kids (Great for Hackers)
Kids have it so lucky these days. Sega's Toy Movie Carrier, is a digital video camera designed especially for kids. Measuring 86mm in length, 40mm in width and 68mm in height, it's the perfect size for little directors wanting to film cutting-edge fly-on-the-wall docusoaps about the troubles of bath night. All for the measly price of $115. Toy movie cameras have been around for decades -- little plastic fake cameras so kids can pretend they're filming -- but Sega's new toy camera is an ACTUAL DIGITAL VIDEO CAMERA. Called "Movie Carrier," the camera costs only $115. Sporting a CMOS sensor, 4x zoom, 1.5-inch flipout monitor, SD slot, TV outputs, and a kid-friendly pink / blue enclosure, Sega's toyish camcorder records 320 x 240 resolution video and even still pictures in the form of AVI / JPEG onto the included 32MB SD card. While the image quality here is likely to be just marginally above pitiful, you're sure to acquire a few priceless (albeit pixelated) home videos letting this loose in the hands of a youngster.
10/12/06 - Pumpkin power for phone networks in Africa
Palm and pumpkin seed oil could soon be generating electricity to help power mobile phone networks across Africa under a plan to replace fossil fuels with sustainable biofuels made from crops grown by local farmers. Starting in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, fuel will be processed from palm, groundnut, pumpkin seeds and jatropha. The crops to generate the biofuel will be cultivated close to the base stations, helping local farmers, cutting dependency on fossil fuels and reducing fuel transportation needs. The cost of fuel, including security to protect transport and storage, can be 80 percent of the cost of a rural phone network. Ericsson estimates around 0.5 square kilometres of palm oil crops are needed to generate the fuel for 20 base stations, the equivalent of 83 football fields. The crops will be processed into fuel at local facilities. Ericsson will control farming methods, making sure crops are not genetically manipulated, are grown sustainably and do not require fresh clearing of land by cutting forests. Solar and wind energy are also being investigated as alternative power sources for remote base stations.
10/11/06 - Inventor discovers how to Boil an Egg without Water
Simon Rhymes' Bulbed Egg Maker uses high-powered light bulbs to cook the egg and then chops the top off at just the right height for dipping toast into the yolk. The 23-year-old egghead came up with the idea while at university and has hatched a plan to make the BEM an indispensable kitchen item. "I thought that boiling an egg was rather labour-intensive for the rewards you get," said Rhymes, who has now graduated from his product design course. "I read that light bulbs gave off so much heat it might be more energy-efficient to leave lights on in the house to heat it rather than using central heating. "I started to experiment and cooked an egg under a table lamp and that took about half an hour. "Then I came across the halogen lights and adapted them to put in the BEM. I experimented with about 600 eggs. I got sick of testing them but now I can produce the perfect boiled egg every time." Eggs are lowered into the 12-inch (30-centimetre) high device, which uses four halogen bulbs. It takes six minutes to create the "perfect" egg, but the timer can be changed to alter the runniness of the yolk. Once cooked, the top of the egg is lopped off at a circumference of 1.5 inches (40 millimetres), just wide enough for dunking in toast. Rhymes has patented the gadget and has formed his own company to court manufacturers and investors.
10/11/06 - 70% Efficiency Fuel Cell in the works
Energie Baden-Württemberg AG (EnBW) and Siemens Power Generation (PG) are joining forces to build a highly efficient fuel cell hybrid power plant. Plans call for the construction of a megawatt-class demonstration plant. The goal of this research project is to convert up to 70% of the fuel energy into electricity. The efficiency of this hybrid process is significantly greater than that of modern gas and steam turbine power plants, which can reach an efficiency approroaching 60 percent. This hybrid power plant combines a high-temperature fuel cell with a gas turbine in order to make more efficient use of the fuel and minimize emissions. In solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC), an electrochemical reaction, directly and very efficiently, converts fuel energy into electricity and heat. In this hybrid power plant, the hot exhaust gases exiting the fuel cell are fed into the gas turbine, thereby reducing or totally eliminating the fuel consumption of the turbine. The gas turbine makes it possible to operate the fuel cell at increased gas pressure, which makes it more efficient.
10/11/06 - Why are We so Surprised When a Different Culture is so DIFFERENT?
12 postulates about arabs from Rants and Raves blog, based on his experience teaching in Saudi Arabia: 1) They don't think the same way we do. 2) When you meet them in ... the right circumstances they are likable. 3) Their values are fundamentally different from ours . . . 4) They can neither build nor maintain a modern infrastructure 5) They do not think of obligations as running both ways 6) In warfare, we think they are sneaky cowards . . . 7) They don't mean their rhetoric to be taken seriously 8) The abstract concept of "truth" means something different to them . . . 9) Cause and effect means something different to them . . . 10). . . They see themselves as a civilization on the skids . . . 11) We think everybody has a right to their own point of view--arabs think that's ridiculous 12) Arabs understand that western secular civilization cannot share the same world with muslim/arab civilization. One or the other must dominate, and arabs mean their culture/civilization to dominate by whatever means necessary. / Obsession movie - This award-winning film is now available online. Get the film here.
10/11/06 - More on a Mitsubishi MIEV Electric Car
In the article, Zero Emissions, Autoweek reports that Mitsubishi has plans to sell a small electric car in the U.S. The car will be powered by lithium-ion batteries, has four doors, all-wheel drive and a 1.1-liter gasoline engine. Each wheel has an electric motor built into the wheel assembly, a MIEV--Mitsubishi In-wheel Electric Vehicle. The four electric motors provide awd without a traditional transmission and its additional weight. With electric motors powering the wheels, it is always driven by the electric motors, the engine being only used to recharge the batteries. This is very similar to the car described in a previous post. Whether the car can be plugged in for recharging was not stated. Reasons for producing the car include: * Electric cars have zero emissions * Fuel cell technology is still off in the future * Diesels are big in Europe but not in Japan and the U.S. A Dec. 2005 article in the Chicago Tribune stated that the estimated recharging time for the lithium-ion batteries would be only 10 minutes, not stating where the electricity was coming from and the car would be available in 2009. The car is only zero emissions while running -- which does not count the emissions created while making the electricity for charging, which is advantage when driving the car in an urban environment and since central power lants can run more efficdintly than on-vehicle electrical production. The small ICE allows for charging of the vehicle fairly efficiently, in case the batteries are discharged unexpectedly, assuming the batteries are normally charged by connecting them to the grid. This would reduce the fear of being stranded, while not having the complexity and cost of a plug-in hybrid. Cars using motors built into the wheels are becoming a popular concept.
10/11/06 - Disney exec: Piracy is just a business model
(Here in Mexico, you can get pirata movie SVCDs for between $1.50 and $2.00 and DVDs with menu for $4.00. Often new movies are available only a couple of days after US release. - JWD) The co-chair of Disney's board has recognized piracy as a "business model" to be competed with, instead of a war to be fought on Disney's customers: "We understand now that piracy is a business model," said Sweeney, twice voted Hollywood's most powerful woman by the Hollywood Reporter. "It exists to serve a need in the market for consumers who want TV content on demand. Pirates compete the same way we do - through quality, price and availability. We don't like the model but we realise it's competitive enough to make it a major competitor going forward." Pretty clever, though she also said this: Sweeney outlined Disney's strategy as: being primarily about content because it drives everything else... Content isn't king. If I sent you to a desert island and gave you the choice of taking your friends or your movies, you'd choose your friends -- if you chose the movies, we'd call you a sociopath. Conversation is king. Content is just something to talk about.
10/11/06 - Brit medical journal says Iraq war has killed 600,000 people
The Financial Times reports that The Lancet, a British medical journal, claims over 600,000 people have died in the Iraq war, with the overwhelming majority dying from gunfire. Conflict in Iraq has killed more than 600,000 people since the US-led invasion in March 2003, according to a controversial study published online on Wednesday by the Lancet, a leading medical journal. The researchers said their figure, far higher than any previous estimate, was more accurate than the death tolls produced by official Iraqi sources. Gilbert Burnham of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, carried out the survey with doctors from Al Mustansiriya University in Baghdad, using a technique based on interviewing a random sample of households throughout Iraq. They concluded that there were 655,000 “excess deaths” as a result of the war, equivalent to 2.5 per cent of the population; 601,000 died through violence, usually gunfire.
10/11/06 - US population hits 300 million, but is it sustainable?
The USA as an economic model for the rest of the world to follow - in particular the rapidly developing economies of China and India - it is unsustainable. On a global scale the average US citizen uses far more than his or her fair share of the planet's resources - consuming more than four times the worldwide average of energy, almost three times as much water and producing more than twice the average amount of rubbish and five times the amount of carbon dioxide, a major contributor to global warming. The US - with five per cent of the world's population - uses 23 per cent of its energy, 15 per cent of its meat and 28 per cent of its paper. Additional population will mean more people seeking a share of those often-limited resources. Population growth is the ever-expanding denominator that gives each person a shrinking share of the resource pie. It contributes to water shortages, cropland conversion to non-farm uses, traffic congestion, more garbage, overfishing, crowding in national parks, a growing dependence on imported oil and other conditions that diminish the quality of our daily lives.
10/11/06 - Protein Gel Quickly Stops Bleeding
"An international team of scientists has discovered a substance to heal bleeding wounds within seconds. They're using a solution of protein molecules that self-organizes into a biodegradable gel. Until now they've only tested it on animals, but the tests were highly successful. From the article: 'Some surgeons are already excited about the material. "I see great potential in the eye field, the gastro-intestinal field, and in neurosurgery," says Dimitri Azar, head of ophthalmology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, US. "In the eye, even a drop of blood will blur your vision for a long time," Azar adds. "A material that would stop the bleeding could lead to a paradigm shift in how we practice surgery in the eye."'"
10/10/06 - Extreme Pulsed Power Cited as Possible Tool in Fighting Cancer
(Thanks to Bob Paddock for this headsup! - JWD) A recent article in the IEEE Spectrum Magazine reports that powerful, ultrashort pulses of power, in the range of 4000A at 40kV for a few billionths of a second, can harmlessly slip by a living cell's exterior to shock the vital structures within them. Researchers have found that using this procedure on living tissue, like mice, can completely wipe out malignant tumors. The new field of research, called bioelectrics, is emerging to study these effects as the naturally occurring electric fields in biological systems. This field of research relies on a curious pairing of high voltage engineering and cell biology. In particular, it depends on advanced pulsed power technology., which is the ability to switch on and off thousands of amperes of current and just as many volts in nanoseconds. The new ability to electrically tweak a cell's insides would not exist without pulsed power technology, which is the generating, measurement, and use of extremely high-power electric pulses. Initially developed to power radar in World war II, pulsed power now drives X-ray imagers, particle accelerators, and nuclear weapons.
10/10/06 - Maggot Hydrogel without the Maggots
Scientists in the United Kingdom have developed a new wound dressing that could bring the benefits of maggot therapy to patients without putting live Greenbottle fly (blowfly) larvae into non-healing wounds. The researchers note resurgence in medical use of larval biotherapy -- intentionally introducing blowfly maggots into non-healing wounds to clean away dead tissue. Medical use of the technique led to observations suggesting that maggots' excretions and secretions (ESs) also may encourage regeneration of tissue and wound healing. Realizing that the ESs would have to be delivered in a controlled fashion, Britland's group developed the hydrogel dressing, which slowly releases maggot ESs. "The present prototype hydrogel wound dressing could potentially be deployed as a device to deliver insect-derived active products to skin wounds in vivo to encourage tissue regeneration."
10/10/06 - Drugs Regrow Heart After Heart Attack
Engel and Keating note that the hearts of some lower animals repair themselves when damaged. But mammal hearts don't regenerate -- they only develop scar tissue. Until now. Last year, Engel and Keating reported that they could make mammalian heart cells grow if they gave them two treatments. One is a drug that inhibits a chemical signal -- p38 MAP kinase -- that keeps heart cells from growing. The other is a drug called FGF1, which stimulates the growth of new blood vessels. Now Engel, Keating, and colleagues report that they can use the two-drug therapy to regenerate the hearts of rats that have had heart attacks. "Regeneration is not just making more [heart-muscle cells]," Engel says in a news release. Heart-muscle cells "need a blood supply and oxygen to survive. FGF1 … was providing a new blood supply. If you just inhibit p38 MAP kinase, you don't get new blood vessels." The goal is to find treatments that work the same way but affect only the heart. Indeed, Engel and colleagues already are on the trail of a new drug that stimulates the growth of heart-muscle cells.
10/10/06 - Bill in CONgress would remove current limit on two presidential terms
Goodbye Constitution, Continued - We read with some concern that there is a bill in CONgress which would remove the current limit on two presidential terms. While this would require an Amendment to the Constitution, there are already folks pointing to the attempt with concern that a single party could essentially hijack the two-party system. I got news for you (and this only takes half the first cup of coffee to figure out), it already has been hijacked. Take the current batch of pretenders in Washington and look at how lobbyists buy and sell them now. Who are we kidding?...Americans have volunteered to give up control of their government - and by sitting home watching TV exit polls, waiting for the outcome bought and paid for by corporations, Americans seem satisfied with their abdication of power.
10/10/06 - Bush Reveals New Space Policy
"Space.com is reporting that President Bush has unveiled his new space policy. From the article: 'U.S. assets must be unhindered in carrying out their space duties,' the Bush space policy says, stressing that 'freedom of action in space is as important to the United States as air power and sea power.'... As a civil space guideline, the policy calls upon NASA to 'execute a sustained and affordable human and robotic program of space exploration and develop, acquire, and use civil space systems to advance fundamental scientific knowledge of our Earth system, solar system, and universe.' While this policy does seem to push for more civil involvement in space for exploration and research, the article does go on to say, 'The policy calls upon the Secretary of Defense to "develop capabilities, plans, and options to ensure freedom of action in space, and, if directed, deny such freedom of action to adversaries."' So it will push into the intelligence community, and will supercede a similar policy from 1996. You can read the entire policy."
10/10/06 - Rise of Russia May Mean Freedom From Saudi Oil
It started with a precipitous drop in prices - 30% in three months, to new lows of $60 a barrel from midsummer highs of $77 - which, in any commodity, is the equivalent of a heart attack. It could be that the good life enjoyed by oil producers is coming to an end. As with all addictions, the first reaction was denial. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said the drop in oil prices was an anomaly quickly remedied with a cut in oil production. The problem is, OPEC is no longer the cartel it once was. It only produces 34% of the world's daily consumption, which now stands at 84 million barrels. Russia has replaced Saudi Arabia as the world's largest single oil exporter.
10/10/06 - Natural Gas to Offer Breakthrough in Suspended Animation?
"The BBC is reporting that American scientists are claiming that sewer gas may be successful at inducing suspended animation. The results were achieved using mice but further studies are needed" From the article: "The problem with hypothermia is it's not that easy to cool down the human body so if we can find another method to inhibit metabolism that would be very useful."
10/10/06 - Dust to Dust, an Alternative to Burials and Cremations
British residents are being offered alternative to burial or cremation - being dipped in liquid nitrogen at -196C, then turned into dust. The scheme is hailed as an environmentally-friendly option to burning bodies. After the pieces become brittle, they are put on a vibrating pad to disintegrate. Then a metal separator picks out items such as artificial hips and tooth fillings. The dust is then put in a small biodigradable box and either buried in a shallow grave or given to relatives. The process, called promession, is set to be offered in Preston, Lancs. Officials and councillors think it is a greener and cheaper method than cremation. Assistant director of environmental health Craig Sharp said: “We heard about the new technology which is in full-scale operation in Scandinavia. It produces the same outcome, which is in ashes but through very low temperatures. There are no airborne emissions.” The method was developed in Sweden, where promession is set to become the most popular way of disposing of bodies by next year. Installing the equipment in Preston is likely to cost around £1million. Funerals should cost about the same as cremations.
10/10/06 - Venezuelans snap up big SUVs, seeing cheap gasoline as birthright
Many say they're looking for a powerful engine, but no one asks about fuel economy. It's of little concern in Venezuela because gasoline costs as little as 12 U.S. cents a gallon (3 U.S. cents/€0.03 a liter) due to government subsidies - and SUVs are selling briskly. "Everyone wants to buy a 4x4," said Jose Moreno, a 49-year-old businessman examining Fords at the show on Saturday. "And since gasoline is cheap, you don't think twice about spending on that." Filling up an SUV's tank with high-octane gasoline costs roughly US$3 (€2.50) - less than two jugs of drinking water - in this oil-producing country where generous subsidies have kept prices low for years. Venezuelans see cheap fuel as a birthright. And as oil exports have boosted the economy, the country has experienced a boom in auto sales, including large four-wheel drives that have lost appeal elsewhere as fuel costs have soared. Subsidies have held down prices since long before Hugo Chavez assumed the presidency in 1999, promising a revolution for the poor. Hector Pacheco, a 68-year-old engineer, said he hoped to buy an SUV to help negotiate potholed roads. He acknowledged, though, that he wouldn't want a gas guzzler if he lived in a country where he had to pay market prices at the pump. "They really do consume a lot," Pacheco said. "That's never on our minds, because the price is so cheap."
10/10/06 - Home computers targeted by hackers '50 times a day'
The BBC News Website team set up a honeypot' PC - a computer that looks like a normal PC online but records everything that's done to it - in order to find out the dangers facing web users. Every single time the 'honeypot' was put online it was attacked. In one of the busiest nights of malicious online activity, the computer was attacked 53 times: * 1 hijack attempt. PC suffered buffer overflow attempt to subvert web server built into Microsoft Windows. A successful attack would hand over control of the machine to a hacker * 2 "port scans" which look for weak spots in Windows software - reconnaissance by hackers seeking new victims. * 11 attacks by the 'Blaster' worm - success would have rendered the machine unusable * 3 attacks by the 'Slammer' worm - success would have left machine crippled and prone to crashing * 36 fake security announcements/adverts for fake security software posing as warnings. Reacting to these could leave a PC clogged with spyware. Over the course of the whole experiment, on average at least one attack an hour came from a dangerous computer bug with the ability to cripple an unprotected PC.
10/09/06 - Sun’s magnetic field may solve global warming problem
A new study by Danish scientists has revealed that cosmic events could help soften the impact of global warming by triggering off cloud formations. They said that by using the Sun’s magnetic field, it was possible to make clouds. “The Sun has been at its strongest for more than 60 years and a period of high solar activity could be approaching its end. This would produce a cooling effect that could counter part of the global warming predicted for the next century,” The Telegraph quoted Dr Jens Olaf Pedersen, of the Danish National Space Centre, as saying at the Proceedings of the Royal Society. According to the research team, when cosmic rays, high-energy particles from distant exploding stars, fall to Earth, they knock electrons off atoms in the atmosphere, making them electrically charged, or ionised. These ions then form clusters of molecules that can grow into droplets forming low-lying clouds. Dr Pedersen said. More cosmic rays would produce clouds that would increase the rate at which sunlight was reflected away from the planet and so cool it, he added.
10/09/06 - What is Pleomorphism?
Pleo-morphism means many forms, many or more ( pleo- ) , forms or bodies ( morph- ). This is in contradistinction to Monomorphism which means one ( mono -) body or form. Modern medicine, bacteriology, is founded on the idea of Mono-morphism where once a germ is a particular germ it always stays that way. According to this way of thinking, a streptococcal germ is always a streptococcus. It only has one ( mono- ) form; it doesn't change into anything else. / Rosenow who claimed that bacteria can be harmless and turn into pathogens by altering the environment. He claimed to have seen Typhoid bacteria change into a harmless enteric bacteria by changing the pH a small amount and back again by altering the pH back to its original condition. Other microbiologists have reported similar findings. / Royal Rife believed that spores of bacteria could change shapes so that the spore could change to a Typhoid bacteria, then to a salmonella bacteria and then to a virus like organism that he called Tbacillus that caused cancer. Rife believed that the spores could change into ten different shapes that caused different diseases. Rife used vibrational sound waves to destroy the pathogens. Rife thought that energy that surrounds the bacteria can be altered so that the bacteria would explode or change into a different bacteria that was not harmful. / Günther Enderlein was a German Curator that discovered protits while working in a hospital during the war. He isolated two specie of mold, Asperigillus niger and Mucor racemosus as being the cause of many diseases in humans. The spore form of the molds lives in blood where it is not harmful. There are three stages of the spore form. The double spore mutates to balloon up to become a full size bacteria with cell wall and a potential to be a pathogen. The mutation is triggered by the blood turning more alkaline due to toxic poisons and stress. The bacteria begin as a bacillus that excretes acids to lower the pH. The bacillus gradually turns into a mold that destroys human cells. The mold may turn into a virus that causes cancer. Enderlein believes that once the bacteria mutate, the cause of disease is due to acidosis of the blood. The acid pH of the blood proliferates growth of pathogenic bacteria. / Gaston Naessens claims to have seen the complete cycle of resistant bacteria that he called somatids, which means tiny body. The cycle takes over 90 hours and has 16 stages. The final stages are when the mold turns into a thallus sack and sack bursts and throws virus like bodies or more somatids into the environment. Naessens believes that the somatids mutate when the immune system becomes weak. His proposed treatment is to strengthen the immune system.
10/09/06 - Jets help spread Flu - Restricting air travel could slow a pandemic
The decline in U.S. air travel that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks delayed the onset of that year's annual flu outbreak and slowed its spread around the country, according to a new analysis that could help health officials decide whether to impose flight restrictions in the event of a global flu pandemic. The delay was modest -- flu deaths peaked about two weeks later than usual that winter -- and by the time the season was over, the same number of people had died from the disease as in a typical year. But pandemic flu is expected to be much more deadly than conventional flu, so having a few weeks of extra time to deliver protective drugs or vaccines could make a big difference in total mortality, said the scientists who conducted the study. "Flu spreads exponentially, and the more that's out there, the faster it spreads," said Kenneth Mandl, a physician with the Children's Hospital Informatics Program in Boston, who led the study with Harvard epidemiologist John Brownstein. "So anything you can do early on to reduce cases could have fairly large downstream positive effects."
Global warming will cause havoc in West, report says
Rising temperatures in the 11 Western states from global warming will cause more pervasive droughts, a fourfold increase in wildfires and extensive die-offs in regional plant, fish and game habitats, according to a report Thursday by the National Wildlife Federation. The national appetite for energy, fed by carbon-rich coal, oil and natural gas, imposes a double penalty on the ecological health of the West, the group said. The search for fossil fuels -- drilling permits on public lands have tripled in six years -- disrupts fragile habitats, even as the rising levels of carbon dioxide alter the regional climate in ways that will make it impossible for many species to survive. The researchers offered growing evidence that rising regional temperatures already have had an effect, causing warmer winters, earlier springs, less snow and more rain. That, in turn, has raised the risk of floods in winter and the likelihood of diminished water supplies in summer.
The winter snowpack, the source of 75 percent of the water supply in the West, has declined by almost a third in the northern Rocky Mountains region and more than 50 percent in the Cascades since 1950, the federation reported. As the Western landscape becomes ever more desiccated, wildfires consequently become more common, more widespread and harder to control, experts said.
10/09/06 - Will Silicon Light Illuminate the Future?
Researchers at a Canadian startup say they've found a way to make low-cost, white-light LEDs that could one day end our addiction to inefficient incandescent bulbs. They claim to have cracked the cost barrier for solid-state lighting by replacing the expensive semiconductors compounds traditionally used in LEDs with low-cost silicon. Roughly 60 percent of all lightbulbs in the world are still incandescent--and for good reason: most cost pennies to produce. However, 95 percent of the energy used by these bulbs is wasted as heat. Solid-state lighting is already widely used for specialty applications; LEDs on Christmas tree lights, for example, are based on gallium nitride semiconductors. Silicon is poor at emitting light. To overcome this, Group IV fabricated a structure in which an electrical current is passed between the top transparent layer of the device and a substrate made of silicon. In-between these two layers is a layer of silicon nanocrystals--quantum dots--that emits the light. When current is applied, the nanocrystal's electrons are energized; once they settle back into their natural state, energy is given off in the form of photons, producing light.
10/09/06 - Great Lakes water fight to heat up
Peter Annin recalls staring in horror at what had been the coast of the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan, now a wasteland strewn with scrub brush and corroded hulls of abandoned fishing boats. Once the world's fourth-largest inland water body, the Aral has shrunk to a quarter of its previous surface area in less than half a century -- the result of a Soviet-era decision to divert rivers feeding the sea to promote farming in that arid section of central Asia. The former Newsweek magazine correspondent says he'd heard ominous references to the Aral disaster while studying the debate over Great Lakes water diversion. "It kind of defies the bounds of the mind to grasp how dire the ecological situation is there," Annin said in an interview. "When you're standing on the bottom of a sea bed where there should have been water 45 feet over your head, and instead there's none as far as the eye can see, how do you describe that?" Engineering and political obstacles make it unlikely the Great Lakes will suffer the Aral's fate, but the tragedy still conveys a warning, Annin says: "What it showed to me in a very surreal way was that these giant lakes are vulnerable, they actually can be drained. They are not immune to human destruction." His premise is that an era of warring over the Great Lakes is under way -- and will intensify as the global water shortage worsens. The region's way of life hangs in the balance as leaders grapple with how to preserve what amounts to nearly one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water, Annin writes.
10/09/06 - Magnetic pulse to brain hampers judgment of fairness
Using low-frequency magnetic stimulation on the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (the upper-right part of your brain) causes people to care less about fairness, according to a new study. The game goes like this: there are two players, and $20 to divide between them. One player makes just one offer to the other, and it is either accepted or rejected. If the offer is accepted, both players keep their share - but if it's rejected, they walk away empty-handed. Humans have a sense of reciprocal fairness - we want to be treated equally. For that reason, people are less likely to accept when an offer of less than $10 (half) is made, even though it means they get nothing instead of something. But when scientists added some magnetic stimulation to the game, things changed. Participants in the study who had the right side of their prefrontal cortex stimulated were almost three times more likely to accept an offer of just $4 compared to subjects who received no magnetic stimulation. The subjects still judged the offers to be unfair; complaining about the low amounts when questioned after the game was finished.
10/09/06 - 3 Band Efficient Solar Cells
Traditional solar cells respond only to a narrow spectrum of sunlight, making them highly inefficient. In the language of physicists, solar cells convert light with wavelengths corresponding to the energy it takes for electrons to jump from the valence band to the conduction band. Photons with lower energy pass right through the material.
The new semiconductor material can capture these low-energy photons for electricity, which could make solar cells with efficiencies of around 45 percent, compared with 25 percent for conventional cells that use a single semiconductor and 39 percent for cells with layers of mixed semiconductors. The new semiconductors have three energy bands instead of the usual two (valence and conduction). The third band lies below the conduction band, effectively splitting the gap between the valence and conduction bands into two smaller parts. The researchers found that introducing a few atoms of oxygen into a zinc-manganese-tellurium (ZnMnTe) alloy splits the compound semiconductor's conduction band into two parts. Similarly, adding nitrogen to a semiconductor such as gallium arsenide phosphide will also give a multi-band semiconductor.
10/08/06 - EBM (Energy by Motion) Overunity claim in Budapest
(Thanks to Dr. Andrew Michrowski of P.A.C.E. for sharing this! - JWD) We are routinely producing with our EBM Power Plants several kilowatts well over unity without any pollution and emissions whatsoever! All our EBM Plants are scaled for manufacturing from 1.5 to 225 MW. Who said we cannot save the environment? OPEN HOUSE AT THE LAB IN BUDAPEST - In October and November 2006, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm - Come and see for yourself what you can read in the Certification! / This technology is non-nuclear, 100 % environment friendly with zero emissions. Being environment-friendly, this technology has several other very important additional features as follows: * The average 1 kilowatt-hour electric power costs 75 % to 80 % of most local tariff rates at 65 % load factor (appx. 5,700 hours use per annum); The pay-back period of invested capital is less than 4 years! * The power plant can be commissioned within a very short time after the order is placed. * The average turn-key-cost of the EBM Power Plants is less than 2,000 USD/kW depending upon the MW size of the plant; This includes fuel for 40 years! * With the inexpensive and clean EBM electric power, and heat energy, the production of hydrogen for fuel cells is highly competitive or the production of nitrogen for fertilizer, or desalination of sea water can be economically implemented. With the torque produced by EBM Units, large ships or locomotives can be directly driven!
10/08/06 - Three Years in Prison for Posting Hatespeak
"In the UK, a man has been sentenced to three years in prison for posting inflammatory messages to a website. Pleading guilty to inciting racial hatred on a site dedicated to the memory of a murdered black teenager, the 30-year old accused stated that he was not racist, and had intended to stir up an argument on the website, but did not believe in what he had written. The defending lawyer described her client as 'isolated and living in a fantasy world, spending hours on his computer in his room where his persona could be as he made it, good or bad.'"
10/08/06 - DIY Electric Vehicles
You've heard all about them, now you can see them! This is an unofficial photo album for members of the EV Discussion List, an email based forum on electric vehicles. The EV Electric Vehicle Discussion Mailing List is intended to provide a forum to discuss the current state of the art and future direction of electric vehicles. It is *not* intended to discuss either EV appropriateness or comparisons with other transportation primary drive modes such as the venerable internal combustion engine. Those "discussions" are best relegated to the appropriate usenet newsgroup.
10/07/06 - 'Fear bid' on cancer vaccine
AN allegedly illegal marketing campaign designed to strike "fear, uncertainty and doubt" into the minds of doctors prescribing the world's first cancer vaccine - developed by Australian of the Year Ian Frazer - has been revealed in an explosive court battle. Desperate to gain a slice of the potential billion-dollar industry spawned by Professor Frazer's discovery of a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer, the Australian arm of multinational GlaxoSmithKline has been accused of marketing its rival vaccine to doctors before being given federal government approval. The marketing firms allegedly approached at least 300 doctors and sent them an "information sheet" comparing the vaccine developed by Professor Frazer and CSL to a rival vaccine also based on his work. This was despite the fact that the Therapeutic Goods Administration has yet to review the rival vaccine, Cervarix, for registration. In an affidavit, CSL's pharmaceutical division sales and marketing director, John Anderson, said the tactics used by GlaxoSmithKline to promote Cervarix were based on striking "fear, uncertainty, and doubt" in doctors' minds about the rival vaccine. According to Dr Anderson's evidence, Gardasil, which has TGA approval and was launched to the market in late August, had a potential market of $1.2billion open to it if every eligible person received the full three-course dose of Gardasil. Dr Anderson also said he was concerned that alleged misinformation spread by GlaxoSmithKline could influence members of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, which is deciding whether to approve a national plan to vaccinate 12-year-old girls at school.
10/07/06 - Creating Water from Thin Air
"In order to provide the U.S. Military with water in places like Iraq, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency gave millions of dollars in research funding to companies like LexCarb and Sciperio to try to extract water from the air. Amazingly, a company that DARPA didn't fund, Aqua Sciences, beat them all to the punch by developing a machine that can extract up to 600 gallons of water a day from thin air even in locations like arid deserts. The 20 foot machine does this without using or producing toxic materials or byproducts. The CEO of Aqua Sciences declined to elaborate on how the machine works, but said it is based on the natural process by which salt absorbs water."
10/07/06 - AquaBuOY Wave Energy Technology Advances
The Hose-Pump is part of the AquaBuOY wave energy technology from AquaEnergy Development UK Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Finavera Renewables. The hollow elastic cylinder can pump fluid when it is extended and contracted; when connected to a buoy, wave action can be harnessed to produce pressurized fluid via cyclic extensions. Multiple devices coupled to a standard hydropower turbine and generator provide a complete conversion solution, from wave energy to electricity. "The World Energy Council estimates that there is an accessible resource of 2 terawatts of renewable, clean energy available in the world's oceans," said Jason Bak, Finavera Renewables CEO. "This is a potential resource equivalent to twice of the world's current electricity generation." Bak added, "In the U.S. alone, the available wave energy resource is estimated at 2,300 terawatt-hours per year or US$80.5 billion annually. Finavera Renewables is aggressively moving towards capturing this sustainable source of ocean energy in an economic way."
10/07/06 - Cigars and sex 'boost Cuba lives'
Cuba's high number of centenarians say their longevity is down to laying off alcohol, but indulging in coffee, cigars and sex. The findings are the result of a study that looked into the lives of 54 out of the more than 100 centenarians who live in Villa Clara province. More than 60% of them had parents who also lived to be over 100. Cuba, with a population of 11.2 million, has about 3,000 people who have lived for more than a century. None was alcoholic, and they said they loved coffee and cigars, which they consumed in large quantity. They had a healthy interest in a number of areas, including sex, said Dr Nancy Nepomuceno, who carried out the study. Most of the centenarians were mentally alert, had a good lifestyle and did manual labour in rural areas. Almost all ate a diet which included fish, eggs, milk, white meat and vegetables, cooked with little salt and natural seasonings. The life expectancy in Cuba is 76, but in Villa Clara province, where the study was carried out, it is 78.
10/07/06 - Baby Boomers Will Strain U.S.
Unless Social Security and Medicare are revamped, the massive burden from retiring baby boomers will place major strains on the nation's budget and the economy, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday. "Reform of our unsustainable entitlement programs" should be a priority, he said in prepared remarks to the Economics Club of Washington. "The imperative to undertake reform earlier rather than later is great," Bernanke added. It marked the Fed chief's most extensive comments to date on the challenges facing the United States with the looming retirement of 78 million baby boomers. In his remarks, Bernanke did not offer Congress and the Bush administration recommendations on how the massive entitlement programs should be changed. Efforts by the administration to overhaul the Social Security program _ once a centerpiece of President Bush's second-term agenda _ sputtered last year, meeting resistance from Republicans and Democrats alike. As the population ages, the nation will have to choose among higher taxes, less non-entitlement spending by the government, a reduction in spending on entitlement programs, a sharply higher budget deficit or some combination thereof, Bernanke said. Government spending on Social Security and Medicare alone will increase from about 7 percent of the total size of the U.S. economy to almost 13 percent by 2030 and to more than 15 percent by 2050, he said. Bernanke declared: "The fiscal consequences of these trends are large and unavoidable."
10/06/06 - Car Technology about to leap into the future
Imagine pulling up to a service station, and filling your car with liquid hydrogen - at a cool -253 °C.
Pulling away, a warning signal sounds, noting that you do not have your seat belt on. As you turn the corner, your headlamps swivel to the left,lighting the way for your zero-emission, fuel-frugal, lightweight aluminium vehicle. In the dark, an infrared display indicates that someone is walking next to the road, about a hundred metres in front of you. On the long journey home, a loud signal sounds again - a sensor behind your rearview mirror has counted the number of times you have blinked, and warns that you may be falling asleep. Arriving home, you stop in front of the garage, climb out, and with the press of a button, your car parks itself inside the garage. This scenario is not nearly as far-fetched as it seems. Many of these technologies are either already available in some cars - as well as some trucks - or will be in the next five to ten years.
10/06/06 - Bicycle makes comeback in car-worshipping Beijing
The "Driving One Less Day a Month for a Blue Sky in Beijing" activity was held on the World Environment Day, June 5. Recognizing that alongside Mexico City, Beijing shares the distinction of being the world's most polluted capital, more than 200,000 Beijing drivers pledged to use public transport, ride a bike or walk to work on that day. "It tells us that many people still reserve a special place for the bicycle in their heart, regardless of there being so many cars on the road," says a civil servant from the Shenzhen Intellectual Property Bureau, who used to work in Beijing for ten years and go to work by bike every day. "Still, I ride a bike to work almost every day, although I own a car today. I only drive to the suburbs for the weekend," says Wang Yan.
China's mainland has about 500 million bicycles, according to the Beijing-based China Bicycle Association. "It's time for us to rethink or rediscover what the bicycle can bring us," says the association president Wang Fenghe. Sooner rather than later, "government and people alike, including those car owners, will realize how convenient, healthy and environmentally-friendly riding a bicycle is," says Wang Yan.
10/06/06 - Researchers find link between teeth and memory loss
Simply put: those who keep a full set of teeth have better powers of memory than those that don't. The researchers, who study age, memory, senility and health as part of the Betula Project, say they've observed the correlation in over 2,000 people. Researchers in Japan reached similar conclusions in tests with mice and monkeys, with mice learning to find food in labyrinths without difficulty, but losing this ability when their teeth were pulled. The explanation? Still not clear. Some experts believe chewing brings oxygen-rich blood to the brain and, of course, you can chew a lot harder with a full set of daggers. The researchers now hope to determine if the number of teeth is significant, or what kind of impact titanium implants have on memory. Maybe the tooth fairy knows.
10/06/06 - $20 Million for End of War celebration?
"While all of this is going on, not to mention the daily bombings and loss of life in Iraq and Afghanistan, we're shocked to read that CONgress has allocated $20-million bucks to celebrate the end of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Has CONgress been smoking bad crack in the District of Corruption? Are they on a different planet? Help me here..." (via urbansurvival.com)
10/06/06 - Happy snaps from a virus-infested chip
Giving your digital camera a virus may not sound very smart, but a memory chip that incorporates millions of viruses may just be the fastest thing around. By coating 30-nanometre-long chunks of tobacco mosaic virus with platinum nanoparticles, it’s possible to create a transistor with very fast switching speed. Millions of these transistors could eventually be used in a memory chip to replace flash memory in mp3 players and digital cameras, for example. The team built a transistor by embedding the coated virus strips in a polymer matrix, sandwiched between two electrodes much like a standard transistor. Apply a voltage to the transistor, and the platinum nanoparticles - roughly 16 per virus - each donate an electron to proteins on the surface of the virus, moving the device to an ON state. When the voltage dips below a certain threshold, the electrons jump back to the nanoparticle, switching the transistor to an OFF state (Nature Nanotechnology, DOI:10.1038/nnano.2006.55). This process takes just 100 microseconds because the charge only has to travel 10 nanometres between each nanoparticle and the surface of the virus. In flash memory chips, a capacitor is used as a control gate, building up charge to a certain level before current is able to flow to a second gate. The device is still some way from practical use in a memory chip. “Now we need to figure out how to wire up the viruses,” says Yang. They hope to build a prototype packed with millions of single-virus transistors within four years.
10/06/06 - Single-pixel camera could simplify imaging
A single-pixel camera that captures complete images by taking many snaps with an array of micro-mirrors could consume less power and produce more compact image files than conventional imaging devices, researchers say. A conventional digital camera focuses light onto a rectangular array of sensing elements, called pixels, which measure light. The single-pixel camera developed by researchers Richard Baraniuk and Kevin Kelly at Rice University in Houston, Texas, US, takes a completely different approach. It reflects light from 1024 x 768 micro-mirrors onto a single photodiode. Then it changes the arrangement of micro-mirrors and repeats the process - all in a split second. The camera switches each mirror randomly between one of two positions - so that they either reflect light onto the pixel or do not. The current version repeats this process about a thousand times in a second, recording the sensor output as it does. A connected computer then works backwards from the sensor output and mirror positions, to generate a complete image. The device can direct light at the pixel about a thousand times a second. By analyzing data over several seconds it is possible to generate an image comparable to a compressed image from a one-megapixel camera.
10/06/06 - Up to 45% efficient Solar Cell
Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory develop a semiconductor material that can convert more sunlight into electricity, making it possible to have solar cells with conversion efficiencies as high as 45 per cent.
10/06/06 - The Jason Group
One unintended consequence of the Manhattan Project was briefly to convince a large segment of the American public that scientists-specifically, physicists-can solve just about any problem. The public attitude toward science and scientists is a little more cynical these days. But, fortunately, most scientists (especially physicists) seem to have retained a faith in their talent at problem solving. The Jasons is a small and elite group of scientists-once consisting almost exclusively of physicists, but now more ecumenical-who since 1960 have helped the government find solutions to particularly difficult technical problems, mostly having to do with defense. During the Cold War, the Jasons were a hush-hush organization, much like the National Security Agency. Today, they labor not so much in secret as in obscurity-which, one learns from Finkbeiner's book, is the way most Jasons prefer it. Although always operating behind the curtain, the Jasons have given each administration since Eisenhower's advice on virtually every expensive (and controversial) military procurement decision, including the anti-ballistic missile (ABM), Vietnam's electronic barrier (the so-called McNamara Line) and Ronald Reagan's proposed Strategic Defense Initiative, better known as "Star Wars." The Jasons' greatest achievements, Finkbeiner concludes, are probably invisible: They are the weapons that the Pentagon didn't build, and the steps that presidents haven't taken. It is in some part because of the Jasons that there are no missile bases on the Moon and that tactical nuclear weapons were never used in Vietnam. These accomplishments alone are an invaluable contribution.
Wind and Solar Powered Hybrid ''Eclectic'' By Venturi
Touted as an autonomous energy vehicle, the Venturi Eclectic can be powered independently of any natural energy reserves. It’s powered by a small 22hp (16kW), 50Nm electric motor, and is normally charged up by the 2.5 square metres of solar cells on its roof.
The beauty of the Eclectic is that when it stands still, it’s actually adding energy to its batteries. In regions where the sun doesn’t shine that often, the vehicle uses wind power to rotate a force wheel, which generates electricity topping up the battery. Complete charge of the liquid cooled NIMH batteries provides a range of about 50km and allows the car to reach speeds of 50 km/h. Wind power alone can drive the car 15km after a full day of charging. If all else fails, owners can simply plug it into a mains unit at home. The four-seater Eclectic weighs just 350 kilograms and will go into production in June 2007 with a price tag of 24,000 euros. Initially, only 200 units will be made but if they prove popular a cheaper version will be produced starting from 2009.
10/05/06 - Ig Nobel Prizes hail 'digital rectal massage'
Fesmire, a specialist in emergency medicine and cardiology, probably did not have a real Nobel in mind when he published "Termination of intractable hiccups with digital rectal massage" in Annals of Emergency Medicine (vol 17, p 872). He was, it transpires, attempting to help a man who walked into the emergency room after hiccuping for 72 hours at up to 30 times a minute. Runaway electrical impulses in the vagus nerve cause intractable hiccups, so Fesmire attempted to block them by stimulating the nerve. Gagging, tongue pulling, sinus massage and pressing the eyeball to stimulate the vagus all failed to stop the hiccups. Then he remembered reading about a case in which digital rectal massage - inserting a finger into a patient’s anus - had slowed a racing heartbeat, an effect similar to runaway hiccups. Fesmire will not be trying it again. In researching his Ig Nobel acceptance speech, he told New Scientist that he found a treatment sure to be more popular with hiccup patients. "An orgasm results in incredible stimulation of the vagus nerve. From now on, I will be recommending sex - culminating with orgasm - as the cure-all for intractable hiccups."
10/05/06 - NASCAR fuel expert claims fuel made from pig poo
A Nascar fuel specialist claims he has invented a way to make high-end gasoline from animal waste. Dean Gokel says he can produce 110 octane "pigoline" -- gasoline made from hog waste -- that is indistinguishable on a molecular level from petroleum-based additives. If other scientists confirm his technology -- which they have yet to do -- and can scale it up to industrial levels, Gokel hopes he can address two problems at once: addiction to foreign oil and biological pollution from commercial hog and poultry farming. Says Frank Bell, the president of the Waste Elimination Biostill Systems (WEBS), Gokel's fledgling company: "This guy can take a gallon of piss, shit and water and turn it into a gallon of gasoline."
10/05/06 - Brain Fiction - Confabulation
A neurologist enters a hospital room and approaches an older man sitting up in bed. The neurologist greets him, examines his chart, and after a brief chat in which the man reports feeling fine, asks him what he did over the weekend. The man offers in response a long, coherent description of his going to a professional conference in New York City and planning a project with a large research team, all of which the doctor writes down. The only problem with this narration is that the man has been in the hospital the entire weekend, in fact for the past three months. What is curious is that the man is of sound mind, yet genuinely believes what he is saying. When the doctor informs him that he is mistaken, he replies, ‘‘I will have to check with my wife about that,’’ then seems to lose interest in the conversation. The man isn’t ‘‘crazy’’ or schizophrenic; he is quite coherent and can answer all sorts of questions about who his children are, who the current president is, and so on. He is confabulatory, owing in this case to the fact that he has Korsakoff’s syndrome, a disorder that affects his memory, producing a dense amnesia for recent events. But unlike other patients with memory dysfunction, who freely admit their memories are poor, a patient with Korsakoff’s syndrome will confidently report as memories events that either did not happen (or at least did not involve him) or that happened to him, but much earlier in life. This man’s act of describing the conference in New York City is known as a confabulation.
10/05/06 - Skeeter Fan
The $10 Skeeter Bag attaches to an electric fan and sucks mosquitoes into it all day and night. Testing for Skeeter Bag began in the summer of 2004 at a puppy breeding facility in Central Florida. The facility cares for over 100 adult dogs and as many as 30 puppies at a given moment. Their mosquito problem was out of control. On June 12, 2004 the first trap was set six feet above several dogs on the sleeping porch and by morning it had over 3,500 mosquitoes inside. As the mosquito season picked up as many as 38,000 mosquitoes were caught in a night (estimated by weight 1 gram » 1,000 dried mosquitoes).
10/05/06 - Without Renewable Power, U.S. Army Could Fail in Iraq
The “thermal signature” of diesel-powered generators currently in use can enable enemies to detect U.S. outposts, experts say. And missions to supply the generators with JP-8, the standard battlefield fuel, are vulnerable to ambush. Without “a self-sustainable energy solution,” Zilmer notes, the U.S. Army will “continue to accrue preventable… serious and grave casualties.” According to a 2004 study by the Rocky Mountain Institute, more than 50 percent of all fuel consumed in the battlefield is used by support units, not frontline troops. Before the recent rise in oil prices, the U.S. Army spent some $200 million annually on fuel and paid personnel an estimated $3.2 billion to transport it. The Defense Energy Support Center reports that in 2005, the U.S. military spent around $8 billion on some 128 million barrels of fuel; in 2004, it spent $7 billion on 145 million barrels. Zilmer’s memo estimates that a hybrid solar and wind power system, though expensive initially, would cut costs by 75 percent and pay for itself in 3-5 years.
10/04/06 - Commercial Rocket Found In NM Desert; Crash Investigation Begins
UP Aerospace says it has found the unmanned SpaceLoft XL vehicle after a week of searching. Experts will now attempt to recover and return the payloads customers paid to have launched into space. "The vehicle came down in very challenging terrain, complicated by the unusual levels of vegetation caused by the record-setting monsoon rains this summer." Knight adds, "But we were absolutely determined to find the vehicle and provide the payloads and experiments back to our launch partners. We've spoken to our launch partners this morning, and they're ecstatic over the news of the recovery."
10/04/06 - Magic marker traces enemy activity
A new product on the market could prove to be a worthy addition to security and armed forces. Changes in the terrain can be detected from 100 metres away, such as from in a helicopter in flight. Changes in the terrain can be detected from 100 metres away, such as from in a helicopter in flight. For example, monitoring movements could be made much easier with the introduction of a luminous chemical which works like a massive magic marker. German chemical company Lanxess have developed a product called Rapidogen, which is invisible to the naked eye, but glows under UV light. The chemical can enhance changes in terrain from the size of a postcard, which can then be detected from a distance of 100 metres away, such as when scoping the territory in a helicopter. The new chemical could soon be available as a tool for security, magazine Chemistry & Industry reports.
It can be sprayed over airports, railways, supply pipelines and even nuclear power plants, something that has already been tested by the German military at Luneburg Heath. The principle could also be used as a safety measure for the space shuttle, for example, as problems, such as missing tiles, can be checked quickly. The system may also have a role in detecting preparations for terrorist attacks, or to find evidence of sabotage on roads or railway lines.
The rain-resistant chemical can stick to a surface for up to three months. It is a photochemical indicator which is slowly broken down by sunlight, with a built-in timer causing luminosity to decrease over time.
10/04/06 - MIT Scientists Develop New Reactor Fuel
Researchers say they've developed a reactor fuel that they believe can make nuclear power plans 50 percent more powerful and safer. They say it should be ready for commercial use in about 10 years. Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists have found a way to make fuel used in the nuclear reactor go further and put out 50 percent more. They claim the design is safer because it reaches temperatures much lower than the fuel currently being used. The scientists say several reactor manufacturers and utilities have expressed interest in the new fuel.
10/04/06 - Foldaway house could help disaster victims
A young Richards Bay entrepreneur was so moved by the plight of scores of shack dwellers left homeless after a raging fire in an informal settlement at KwaMbonambi that he decided to do something about it. Each wood-and-steel housing unit is just 24cm high when folded, and can be erected by a handful of people in less than three minutes. The basic, container-like dwelling, with two windows and a wooden door and weighing little more than 800kg, provides the basic requirements for emergency shelter and can be modified to include insulation and heat extractors. It would also be suitable for temporary housing while permanent structures were put up to replace shacks in informal settlements and in urban inner-city renewal pro-jects, Mqaise said. The modular structures could be joined to provide accommodation for large families displaced in times of crisis, and easily transported to disaster scenes by truck.
10/04/06 - Johann Gutenberg 'Xeroxed' an Asian invention
Johann Gutenberg did not invent printing. Gutenberg only capitalized on the idea of printing because of the commercialization of religion. He did not invent it. Printing was used in Asia for hundreds of years before Gutenberg. The Koreans used movable type as early as the 13th century. Readers should not blindly accept as truth everything that appears on the opinion page. As Mark Twain would say, "Get your facts first, and then you can distort 'em as much as you please."
10/04/06 - Magnetic Ring Could Launch Satellites, Weapons
"A new study funded by the US Air Force has suggested a cheaper method of sending satellites (possibly missile weapons) into orbit. A 2-km-wide ring of superconducting magnets would contain and propel a payload, accelerating it over a period of hours, before suddenly flinging the satellite into space at 23 times the speed of sound. The satellites would be engineered to withstand the g-forces encountered (2,000 g), and be cased in an aerodynamic shell. A two-year study has been commisioned and will begin within a few weeks at LaunchPoint Technologies in Goleta, California." New Scientist points out that if such a launch ring were built, it would instantly become "one of the most important targets on the planet."
10/04/06 - ACLU suit challenging Patriot Act can proceed, says Fed judge
In Detroit today, a federal judge turned down the government's request to dismiss an ACLU lawsuit that challenges the constitutionally of the Patriot Act. U.S. District Judge Denise Hood issued the decision without fanfare on Friday, nearly three years after promising a speedy decision in the case. Congress has amended the law at least once since the government's request was argued before Hood in December 2003. Hood said in a 15-page decision that the ACLU's clients - Muslim charities, social services organizations and advocacy groups - established that they have been harmed Section 215 of the law. Hood said the ACLU's clients can proceed with their lawsuit and gave them 30 days to amend their initial complaint in light of amendments adopted by Congress in March.
10/04/06 - Google Offers Gift Of Truth To Voters
During a visit to Britain this week Google Inc. boss Eric Schmidt warned politicians to become more accountable for what they promise their constituents in the future. In five years Google plans to offer "truth predictor" software that will enable people to compare politicians' statements to historical data to see whether or not their promises or statements are probable.
10/04/06 - Here's to long life, and less sex...
Four out of ten Britons would be prepared to give up sex if it meant they could live to be 100, according to a new poll. Almost half of the women asked in the Bupa survey said they would take up celibacy to reach the milestone. However, only 31 percent of men said they would be prepared to sacrifice nookie for a telegram from the Queen. Many people - 39 percent - would be prepared to give up eating and drinking whatever they wanted to ensure they lived to 100, while 42 percent would give up travel. But there were some things people would not give up - 94 percent would not be ready to give up the company of friends and family for a long life, and 74 percent would not sacrifice money. The Ipsos MORI research of more than 1 000 adults reveals that if we had a choice, we only aspire to live on average to 85. Unsurprisingly, young and old people were divided on when old age begins. The 16-24 year olds see it as starting at 61, while those 75 and over said it began at 71. But nearly half agreed scientists should continue to keep trying to prolong people's life spans. When asked about the main advantages of science being able to extend life, 16 percent said to be there for family and friends and 14 percent to see grandchildren grow up.
10/04/06 - Granny reveals her health secret
An Indian granny has revealed she eats a kilogram of sand a day to keep fit and healthy. Eighty-year-old Ram Rati considers sand an essential part of her daily diet and eats it before breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. Rati, who lives in Chinhar in Lucknow, told Asian News International: "When young, I tried it for fun once. Since then, I am used to it. My brothers and relatives pestered me to quit it but it was all in vain. I eat on an average around one or one-and-a-half kilos of sand per day." Shikha, Rati's granddaughter, said: "The doctor said if she has no health problems, let her eat. We think it suits her health."
10/03/06 - Two Tiny Gas Turbines generate Electricity
Turbines are in the news this morning. A BBC article reports on a Swiss turbine that runs at half a million RPM and generates 100 watts. It's the size of a matchbook. And af_robot alerts us to an even more diminuitive gas turbine on a chip, developed at MIT, that generates 10 watts - plenty for portable electronics - and should run 10 times as long as a battery of comparable weight and cost. A commercial version is 3 to 5 years away.
10/03/06 - Warming Terrifying to Aussies
Mr Rann said the report "underpins the menace, the peril that's facing us in terms of global warming". "No nation in the world will be more affected by global warming than Australia." CSIRO modelling showed that by 2070, the average temperature within 200km of the coastline would warm by between 0.5C and 4.7C. The CSIRO forecasts were based on modelling that simulated the sea, temperature and rainfall patterns of South Australia between 1961 and 1990.
10/03/06 - Renewable Energy Will Heat Up Nevada Prison
Waste cleared from Nevada's forests will help fulfill the energy needs of the Northern Nevada Correctional Center (NNCC) while saving the facility a projected $9 million-plus in energy costs over the next 20 years. APS Energy Services, a subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp., and NNCC broke ground last week on the correctional facilities new Renewable Energy Center, which will include a wood-fired biomass boiler with a 1,000-kilowatt (kW) steam turbine generator and a 30-kW photovoltaic solar system. The combined heat and power plant will utilize forest waste -- wood chips -- produced from forest-thinning operations in the Sierra Nevada to produce electricity, steam and hot water. The forest waste material will be collected and transferred to Carson City Renewable Resources Inc. to be processed into a form capable of use at NNCC. The wood chips are burned under controlled conditions, with temperatures upward of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. This process produces levels of emissions well below state standards. . Excess electricity generated by the biomass plant will be purchased by Sierra Pacific Power Co. for use by its customers, creating a potential revenue stream for the projected $8.3 million center.
10/03/06 - Invisible Burning Odorless Hydrogen next step for automakers
Forget ethanol or biodiesel. The next big thing in automotive fuel may very well be hydrogen. Automakers rapidly are closing in on making hydrogen fuel cell vehicles an everyday fact of life, with several test models set to debut over the next few years. Hydrogen fuel cells to power vehicles are desirable, experts say, because hydrogen is a renewable fuel that can be used to create electricity to run cars. Many wonder whether powerful oil companies and their advocates would stand by and allow development of a competing hydrogen infrastructure, even though President Bush has pushed for more research and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has said he envisions a day when hydrogen filling stations dot California’s highways. Hydrogen fuel cells, while about twice as efficient as internal-combustion engines using gas, cost nearly 100 times as much per unit of power produced, critics note. And hydrogen is explosive. It ignites at a wider range of concentrations than natural gas and requires less energy to ignite, Michael D. Amiridis, chair of the chemical engineering department at the University of South Carolina, told the Web site and gas-electric hybrid cars advocate hybridcars.com. “It’s scary - you cannot see the flame,” Amiridis said. Much of the push for hydrogen-fuel-cell vehicles is aimed at putting the public at ease through demonstration models and projects. GM, for example, opened the nation’s first hydrogen filling station in suburban Washington, D.C., two years ago, and touts the spirited acceleration - 0 to 60 in 10 seconds - and the “unprecedented range” of 300 miles between fill-ups of its Sequel. GM also is building more than 100 Chevy Equinox Fuel Cell vehicles that it will begin placing with customers in California, New York and Washington, D.C., for market testing beginning next fall. The vehicle is designed to be operated for 50,000 miles and will be able to run in sub-freezing temperatures.
10/03/06 - China imports 95.8 million TONS of crude oil in first 8 months
(Such consumption levels will lead to war, plague or some calamity to reduce population, UNLESS we figure out ways to recover deserts and colonize into space. - JWD) NDRC said China has produced 122.93 million tons of crude oil, 1.8 percent more than in the same period last year. It has processed over 199 million tons of crude oil, 5.7 percent more than last year; 3.8 percent more gasoline and 5.7 percent more diesel fuel was processed. Between January and August, 1.3 billion tons of coal were mined, 12.1 percent more than in the same period last year. China exported 42.26 million tons of coal, down by 13.3 percent.
10/03/06 - Near Invisible Drone Spyplane
"A Minnesota company, VeraTech, has applied for a patent on an unmanned drone that is nearly invisible to the naked eye. The Phantom Sentinel takes advantage of the phenomenon where fast moving objects appear as only a blur, so it fades out of view once it speeds up. This is achieved by rotating the entire craft. The center of gravity is in open air between two of the blade-like wings. There are some videos of a prototype in action on the VeraTech site." The company says you could get usable video of the terrain by processing the images from a spinning camera. One version of the drone is small enough to launch by throwing it like a boomerang. And it folds for travel.
10/03/06 - Screaming CellPhone when stolen
"Yahoo news is running a story about a plan by a UK cell phone company to help reduce cell theft. Apparently, this new cell phone can be sent a signal after its owner has realized that it has been lost or stolen. The signal tell the phone to wipe all of its data and begin emitting a very loud and obnoxious sound. The sound will only stop if the battery runs out or is removed, but it will begin again as soon as the battery is replaced or charged. Even replacing the sim card will not help." Under the new system, Remote XT, a signal is sent to the mobile once it is reported lost or stolen, causing it to emit an alarm similar to a scream. The alarm noise is accompanied by a message, reading: "This phone is stolen". The phone is also automatically disabled, with contact numbers, texts, images and emails removed, even if the SIM card is removed. The cost of the service will be almost £10 a month, which may prove prohibitive to some. Mark Whiteman, managing director of Remote XT, said: "By making mobiles unusable to anyone but the rightful owner, the phones become worthless and we'll see (the) market for stolen handsets stamped out once and for all. "Theft-proof phones spell disaster for the huge criminal industry that has profited from mobile theft for too long."
10/03/06 - Women Become Sexually Aroused as Quickly as Men?
(An old doctor told me women took longer because there was 'more plumbing' and so they needed the extra time for blood to engorge and sensitize them. Lifelong useful advice..lol...so I think this report is in error. - JWD) Women may have a reputation for demanding lengthy foreplay, but they become sexually aroused as quickly as men, according to a new study that used thermal imaging to measure increased blood flow to genital regions. For this reason, Kukkonen and her colleagues used thermal imaging to record raised temperatures in subjects’ genital areas. The thermal imaging camera can measure temperature changes from a distance and relay the information to a computer for analysis. More heat indicates greater blood flow to the genital area, a tell-tale sign of sexual arousal. Kukkonen says that modern thermal imaging technology is much more sophisticated than earlier versions, and can now accurately measure temperature changes of 0.001°C within a few square millimetres. The computer only registered a spike in genital temperatures while subjects watched pornography, and not the other films. In those viewing porn, these temperatures increased by about 2°C, on average. Moreover, men reached peak sexual arousal in 665 seconds - about 10 minutes - while women arrived at maximal arousal in 743 seconds. The difference between the times was not statistically significant, the researchers point out.
10/02/06 - Cruel end to dash for cancer 'cure'
THE horrific death of a Victorian mother has prompted police and consumer affairs authorities to investigate frauds who peddle bogus cancer cures. Lesley Bramston, 44, died after she was injected with a cesium chloride treatment -- also called ozone therapy -- that has been condemned by cancer experts. Grieving partner Mark McNamara told yesterday of the pain his family suffered when the mother of his children fell victim to quackery that cost tens of thousands of dollars. "She was supposed to have the ozone treatment in Melbourne, but at the last minute they said she would have to go to Darwin. "They said not to speak about it, to keep it hush, hush." Mr McNamara said he spent $44,000 -- half of which went to Mr Rana -- on vitamin and herbal treatments for his wife. Then, after Ms Bramston died, he was sent a $25,000 bill. Mr Rana offered condolences and payment for a retreat to help him get over his partner's death. "I told him, 'No' and that I was not paying," Mr McNamara said.
10/02/06 - The Constitution of the United States 2.0
(A humorous view of our current government, fortunately, this will change for the better in time. - JWD) This is the real Republican Contract with America. "We the Republicans of the United States, in Order to prevent any challenge to our continued Supremacy, free ourselves from the Confines of Justice, placate the Tranquil masses, degrade the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of War Profiteering for ourselves and our Friends, do ordain and establish Constitution 2.0 for the United States of America." "ARTICLE II - Section 4 - Having sex is a good Reason to get rid of a President. Lying, being Incompetent, Wasting Billions, and getting Thousands of Americans Killed, is fine." "ARTICLE VII - People are supposed to be afraid all the Time, otherwise they do too damn much Thinking." (visit the site to read the rest)
10/02/06 - Hegelian Dialectic - Something to think about
Three dialectical stages of development: a thesis, giving rise to its reaction, an antithesis which contradicts or negates the thesis, and the tension between the two being resolved by means of a synthesis. In simpler terms, "Create the problem then sell the preplanned solution."
10/02/06 - LawnMower Mosquito Fogger
They bite. They ruin barbecues. Robert Mann, a mechanic, set out to build a better way to kill mosquitoes. What he has come up with is a device that converts a push-type power lawn mower into a pesticide fogger, the idea being to mow down a mess of mosquitoes and the grass at the same time. The device consists of a plastic jug for the pesticide and a drip tube leading to a converted muffler designed to use heat from the mower's engine to vaporize the pesticide. In a recent demonstration in his front yard, Mann fired up one of the prototypes. Wearing a protective mask, he pulled a trigger to release a few drops of the pesticide into the muffler, where a spiral of thick copper wire was drawing engine heat. In seconds, a stream of white fog spewed from a nozzle near the ground, quickly growing into a cloud some 10 feet wide. "I can actually watch (the mosquitoes) lifting from grass and running," Mann said.
10/02/06 - Calcium supplements useless for strengthening bones
Calcium supplements fail to provide long-term strengthening of bones, according to a study that touches on osteoporosis, a disease commonly facing woman after the menopause. Children taking the supplements only had 1.7-percent better bone density in their upper limbs compared to counterparts who did not take the extra calcium. This small benefit did persist in the upper limbs, but there was no significant effect on the rest of body, particularly at sites such as the hip and lower spine that are prone to fracture later in life. Bone density diminishes among women after the menopause, so doctors are keen to boost bone mass early in life through diet and exercise. "The small effect of calcium supplementation on bone mineral density in the upper limb is unlikely to reduce the risk of fracture, either in childhood or later life, to a degree of major public health importance," the paper says.
10/02/06 - 1st launch from New Mexico spaceport set for Monday
After several delays, the first space-bound rocket is set to launch from a southern New Mexico spaceport. UP Aerospace plans to launch a SpaceLoft XL rocket early Monday from Spaceport America in Upham, N.M., about 95 miles northwest of El Paso. The 13-minute suborbital flight, among the first from a commercial spaceport in the United States, will hurtle 50 experimental and other payloads about 70 miles above Earth. The rocket to be launched Monday is expected to land at White Sands Missile Range, about 33 miles northeast of the Upham launch site. Payload space on one of his rockets range in price from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the size. Each SpaceLoft XL rocket can hold about 110 pounds of cargo. Several other UP Aerospace flights have been scheduled for later this year, including an Oct. 21 flight that is expected to carry the ashes of James Doohan, who gained worldwide notoriety for his portrayal of chief engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott on the original “Star Trek” TV series, Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper, and several other people. The Upham launch site is also the planned home of a state-built $225 million spaceport. Richard Branson, the British billionaire founder of the Virgin Group, announced plans last year to headquarter his space tourism company, Virgin Galactic, in New Mexico and launch flights from the spaceport by the end of this decade.
10/02/06 - Re-growing Lost Limbs
Scientists say humans have genes that direct the body to grow new arms and legs after an injury but the genes lie dormant, a report in the Chicago Tribune said. Paralysed mice have been made to walk again by being injected with embryonic stem cells, a Californian company, Geron, claimed recently. "Stem cell therapeutics are no longer relegated to the realm of theory," Randall Mills, CEO of Osiris Therapeutics, said. "They are coming and they will have a huge impact." In scientific parlance, stem cells are "undifferentiated" cells that can divide and grow to replace dead or dying cells. The goal of the research is a manipulable "master" cell on which human life is founded and from which cells, organs and tissues can be created. Scientists announced a breakthrough at the end of last month, saying they needed only one cell from a three-day-old embryo to grow stem cells, allowing the embryo to live on.
10/02/06 - DIY 100 MPG Microcar
Maine gadgeteer Jory Squibb has posted plans on his site for Moonbeam, a "microcar" design based on heavy modification of a couple of motorcyces that Squibb has created and implemented. The result looks something like a cross between a golf cart and a toy G.I. Joe vehicle. It’s September and I am up to 1500 miles of use. Gas economy varies between 85 and 105 MPG depending on conditions. 105 is when driving a steady 40 MPH. 85 is for total stop-and-go town driving, both with one passenger. A reasonable claim might be 100 MPG. The car’s heater, which is actually the scooter’s radiator mounted in the front of the passenger space, is beginning to be much appreciated. In summer, I had to leave the overhead door open to keep cool. Squibb's plans are not copyrighted, and he encourages his site readers to attempt to build their own microcar. While this solution is obviously not for everyone (Squibb estimates the project cost him $2500 and took 1000 hours of labor), but it's exciting to see people working with low-tech and relatively low-cost solutions to energy and traffic problems.
10/02/06 - Technology Could Save or Destroy Civilization This Century
In the next 100 years, humanity could leap forward into a true global civilization-complete with a unified language, culture and planet-wide technological prowess-but the way is fraught with dark turns like war, terrorism and irresponsible science, string theorist Michio Kaku said at Wired Magazine's NextFest forum here. "We are watching the birth pangs of a Type 1 civilization and it's not clear that we'll make it," Kaku said, describing a Type 1 civilization as a global community capable of sustaining and controlling its planet. "It's not guaranteed that we'll make this transformation."
10/01/06 - Chinese Try to Buy Off Super-Gun Inventor
A super gun that fires a million rounds a minute has been invented by Australian Mike O'Dwyer and made by the Australian company Metal Storm Limited and Electro Optic Systems Holdings. It turns out that the communist Chinese government has "been pursuing the technology for more than a decade," and tried to BUY, STEAL AND BRIBE its way into access to the technology -- even offering O'Dwyer $100 million to move to Beijing and show China how to build one. The Australian government, Metal Storm businessmen and O'Dwyer are all holding firm against all offers, knowing that the gun could be used in the future against Australian soldiers or Chinese protesters.
10/01/06 - Cold Microwave Technology Could Advance Ethanol
Diversified Ethanol, a division of James Monroe Capital Corporation, has used ultrasonic energy to break down corn -- cold, which can result in ethanol plants using 20% less corn to get the same amount of sugars, and continues patent process, and refined processes with engineering companies who have patents on special new high-power ultrasonic devices. When a mixture of corn and water is placed in front of a piezoelectric driver, the corn "cooks" in seconds, but is still cold afterwards. This pre-cooking is very inexpensive compared to the energy required to heat the corn, and breaks up the corn on a molecular level. Ultrasonic energy can vaporize water, or hard-boil an egg, and now it can make money by making fuel more efficiently.
10/01/06 - Giving Kiosks: ATMs for church donations
(Way cool way to make it easy to give money. - JWD) A Giving Kiosk is essentially an a POS (point of sale terminal) for church donations. Pastor Marty Baker of Stevens Creek Community Church in Augusta, Georgia invented the machine so that members of his congregation only need to swipe their bank cards to fill the church coffers. They're so popular with Baker's congregation that he and his wife founded a company, SecureGive, to sell Giving Kiosks to other houses of worship. From the Los Angeles Times: The kiosks can let donors identify their gift as a regular tithe or offering, or direct it to building or missionary funds. The machines send information about the donation to a central church computer system, which shoots the donors an e-mail confirmation. The Bakers charge between $2,000 and $5,000 for the kiosks, which come in a variety of configurations. They also collect a monthly subscription fee of up to $49.95 for licensing and support. And a card-processing company gets 1.9% of each transaction; a small cut of that fee goes to SecureGive. So far, seven other congregations have installed or ordered the machines. All of them are Protestant, and most are in the South. If the idea takes off and makes the Bakers rich, Patty says they will thank the Lord - and give a significant sum to their church...
10/01/06 - So Long Texas, Hello Mexico!
(Listen to this popular song. - JWD) A very humorous and certainly revealing look at the illegal immigration and border security crisis in this country through the music of Johnny Tex and the Texicans.
10/01/06 - Cellphone video projector
Researchers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems IPMS in Dresden and the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena have invented a projector for giving PowerPoint presentations FROM YOUR CELL PHONE. The projector will use a single mirror and tiny diode lasers. Red and blue lasers are small enough, and as soon as they can figure out how to shrink the green ones, we'll get our phone-projector.
10/01/06 - South Korea looking for secrets of eternal youth
South Korea, battling the effects of an ageing population, plans to spend more than 20 million dollars over the next 10 years to discover the secrets of eternal youth. The investment is aimed at keeping older people economically active for a longer period to compensate for the country's rock-bottom birth rate.The project reflects prevailing worries about a declining population after South Korea officially became an aging society in 2000, when the ratio of the population aged 65 or older exceeded seven percent. Falling birth rates are a global trend but the phenomenon is especially marked in South Korea -- sparking fears that economic productivity will be seriously threatened by a rapidly ageing population. "Our society is ageing at the fastest speed in the world," said Moon Hyung-Pyo, a researcher at the state-run Korea Development Institute. People aged 65 or above will account for 37 percent of the population in 2050, causing a huge fiscal deficit as well as a social headache, he said. Higher spending on welfare and health care is not a perfect remedy, Moon said, suggesting South Korea should boost its birth rate and allow old people to remain healthier and work longer. Otherwise the economic growth rate could drop from a current estimate of 4.7 percent to 2.91 percent in 2020 and 1.6 percent in 2030, he said.
10/01/06 - Russian oil grab 'puts western supplies at risk'
A former government adviser has warned it is "only a matter of time" before BP or Shell faces a bid from a Russian state-owned group such as Gazprom which could threaten western oil supplies. Professor Odell foresees a return to state-owned companies in the west too, along the lines of Norway's Statoil and Austria's OMV which have also been expanding fast. He believes western oil companies have endangered their own survival by skimping on investment and using their cash for share buybacks and "extortionate" executive remuneration packages.
$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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