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10/30/07 - Creating Power out of Thin Air
KeelyNet Syrdec is swinging for the fences when it comes to alternative energy. The Princeton, N.J.-based company is working on a material that, when combined with another substance, will generate electricity with ambient room heat, Andrew Surany, the company's president, told CNET News.com this week. Conceivably, one could take that material and fashion it into a passive fuel cell that can create power by just sitting in an ordinary room heated to about 72 degrees Fahrenheit, leading to self-charging electronic devices. "It derives heat from the environment" and converts it to electricity, Surany said. "I'm talking about embedding cells into doors or the panels on a car. In a laptop, I am talking about embedding cells into the case." Theoretically, one could heat the material, too, to get better results. If you heated one square meter of the material to 100 degrees Celsius, or the boiling point of water, the material could absorb 1.2 kilojoules of heat energy. Converting 5 percent of that heat to electricity would give you enough energy to power a car, Surany asserted. So how does it work? Syrdec is trying to combine something called the Seebeck effect and the product of nuclear fusion. In the Seebeck effect, electric current can be generated from temperature differentials. Put metals or semiconductors near each other that exist in radically different energy states and you get power. It's not just theoretical: Germany's EnOcean, another energy-harvesting specialist, has come up with sensors that get power from the temperature differentials between the interaction material that makes up a pipe filled with hot gases and a material heated to room temperature. Now the nuclear fusion part: Syrdec says it understands a way to artificially alter the natural energy state of a particular undisclosed material. Instead of being in a "normal" energy state at room temperature, the altered material is in a normal energy state at, hypothetically, minus 40 degrees Celsius or colder. Thus, when this material is put into a room-temperature environment, it's excited. Put that next to a material with a much higher natural energy state and you get the Seebeck effect. Outlandish as it sounds, the CEA, the atomic energy agency of France, has already concocted a microgenerator that can produce electricity at ambient temperatures via the Seebeck effect. The thermoelectric generator in CEA's prototypes has an output of 4 milliwatts per centimeter square for every (Celsius) degree difference between the two materials. The India Institute of Science also has examined ways of generating power via the Seebeck effect with changes in pressure. - Source

10/30/07 - Heat Water through your Air Conditioner
KeelyNet Inventors don't usually make housecalls, but for Philip Lee, his invention hopes to revolutionize how people live - one home at a time. Architect Mohammed Jaafar is one of these people. Lee has created a heat recovery system which channels waste heat from air conditioners to heat water. For Jaafar that means he and his family save energy and money while enjoying the cool comforts of air conditioning. The moment they turn on their air conditioner, the waste heat is harnessed. Within minutes, they have access to hot water, at no extra cost. For now, the small-scale production means the cost of the system runs high, as does the skepticism. “My wife said you're mad, it's just too costly, but i said i think this is going to be the trend, this is where we experiment, and be supportive of new ideas as coming on board,” says Jaafar. Singapore is less than two degrees from the equator, and its citizens are used to their air-conditioned lifestyle. In this urban maze, air conditioning units peer from virtually every high-rise home. The unit saves the owner, Seah How Chai, more than $250 a month on his electricity bills. “The machine is more than 10 years old, really old, but he was willing to give it a try. He said if he couldn't do it, he'd get me a new one,” says Seah. It’s still early days for his invention, but Lee says he's prepared to take on the skeptics, one person at a time. - Source

10/30/07 - Electricity From Waste Heat - Free From CO2 Emissions
Electricity from waste heat - without the release of additional carbon dioxide. This conserves resources and saves money, benefits both climate and environment and provides fresh stimulus to the entire energy market. And it is exactly what has now been achieved by a German research company which had originally occupied itself with an entirely different but equally revolutionary technical process - generating drinking water from the air. "Our technology opens up a resource which has so far been unexploited - the moisture contained in the earth's atmosphere," is how Hubert Hamm, CEO of Aqua Society GmbH in Herten, Germany, explains his invention. "This process was originally used in the mining industry to cool the air below ground, where it produced condensation. We have now simply reversed the process: our equipment sucks in large amounts of air, cools it to the condensation point and in this way generates water which is then filtered and mineralized." This means that pure drinking water can be produced in any location where refrigeration or air conditioning is available. However, in order to reduce the energy costs involved in this water production the engineers at Aqua Society continued their researches and have now developed a system with which the waste heat created by the cooling process can be converted to electricity. Previously a large part of the heat energy created was simply allowed to escape into the air, which those who have a fridge or air conditioner experience for themselves every day. - Source

10/30/07 - Energy conscious construction
Rensselaer has undertaken a number of initiatives to reduce our adverse environmental impact of which you should be aware. Rensselaer is actively taking the approach to reduce our energy usage, and at the same time, improve the quality of life for all students. By aligning our new construction projects with certifications exceed the norm, we are taking a major step in transforming our campus. Not only has administration supported these types of environmental goals, but many students have also. The Student Union will soon be undergoing a change on the third floor, where all the garbage receptacles will be removed and placed with multipurpose trash and recycling centers. The amount of garbage, from the Union, measured by weight, is approximately 50 percent paper, and we are looking to decrease that amount by as much as possible. Also, many off-campus groups and organizations including fraternities and sororities have begun to use fluorescent bulbs instead of the less energy-efficient incandescent bulbs. Many greek houses have also decided to use motion-activated light switches, further reducing our energy consumption. These changes, especially for the owners of these houses, have led to major decreases in operating costs and expenses. - Source

10/30/07 - The Patent Act is a Cheat on Americans
When displaced American workers complain about outsourcing U.S. manufacturing jobs to take advantage of cheap Chinese factory labor, and about using low-paid Asians here on H-1B visas to take engineering and computer jobs, the globalists and multinational corporations have a ready answer. They recite in chorus: Don't worry, be happy, because American technology and innovation enable us to compete in the global market. But now those same globalists and multinationals are trying to outsource our technology and innovation advantage by delivering a body blow to our patent system. This plan comes under the deceptive label Patent "Reform" Act (H.R. 1908), and it's already been rushed through the U.S. House. A combination of foreigners who make a business of stealing our intellectual property, and the multinationals who want to avoid paying royalties to small inventors, have ganged up to get Congress to do their bidding. The battle is going on behind closed doors between the corporations with highly paid lobbyists vs. the small inventors and businesses who produce 40 percent of U.S. innovation. Item No. 1: The Patent "Reform" Act would change the rule for granting patents from the American first-to-invent requirement to the foreign procedure called first-to-file. This provision is arguably unconstitutional: The U.S. Constitution protects the ownership "right" for inventors, not filers. / Item No. 2: The Act would make it mandatory for the U.S. Patent Office to publish (i.e., post on the Internet) all inventions 18 months after date of application, thereby repealing the option now used by 37 percent of American inventors to prevent publication by agreeing not to file in foreign countries. / Item No. 3: The act would create post-grant review, a process that would enable patent infringers to challenge the validity of a patent after it is issued without going to court, thereby making the inventor's ownership vulnerable and reducing his ability to attract venture capital to produce it. The big winners would be the multinationals with lots of lawyers. / Item No. 4: The act would reduce the damages that a judge and jury can award to an inventor after proof that his invention has been stolen or infringed. Again, the winners would be the multinationals with big legal departments and deep pockets. / Item No. 5: The act would weaken protections under U.S. trade laws that prevent foreign pirates from exporting their products made with stolen intellectual property into the United States. The result would be a perverse incentive to export our technology and jobs to foreign countries. - Source

10/30/07 - Hand generator reaches 95 per cent
KeelyNet Following on from the small generator that we described in the March 2007 edition of Eureka, which we then said was “nearly 90 per cent efficient”, the team developing it for use in Third World companies has now reached 95 per cent efficiency. Alexander Bushell, technical director of New Universal Products described the present generator as, “Modified heavily, in fact it is completely different”. The Uhuru Generator as it is now designated, measures 160mm wide by 150mm deep and 150mm high and acts both as a “Multi-functional power supply unit and an independent power generation system”. Bushell said that one power centre can be configured to power up to 20 2W “$100” laptops or power up to 30 LED spotlights. He was hand cranking it up and showing it able to power 10 such lamps at the British Invention Show. He said it produced 30W at present, “But we are hoping for 40W. We could take it up to 100W”. As well as having its hand cranked generator, it can also regulate other power inputs including solar photovoltaic panels and small wind turbines. In addition, it can be fitted with its own internal back-up battery. - Source

10/30/07 - Patent for Powerline Communications Systems
Arkados (OTC BB: AKDS), known as ?the HomePlug® Applications Company,? announced today that it has been awarded a United States patent titled ?Coupling between Powerline and Customer in Powerline Communication Systems.? The US Patent Office awarded patent number 7,286,812 on October 23, 2007. "This invention offers an elegant and non-obtrusive way for utility companies or service providers to connect in-home powerline networks to communications signals running on the power grid," said Oleg Logvinov, president and CEO of Arkados. "This important award adds to the Portfolio of patents that Arkados has developed for the powerline communications industry. We are pleased that the Arkados patent portfolio continues to keep Arkados on the cutting edge of digital home technology." A powerline communications (PLC) network on a utility company?s medium-voltage power grid can send data to homes and businesses. Likewise, PLC devices in the home can be used for networking, entertainment, surveillance and other applications, and may access services from the utility company. The problem is routing the signals past a power transformer that was not designed for communication applications. The Arkados invention is focused on the way of coupling and offers a low-cost alternative for installation of powerline communications connections between the medium-voltage outdoor powerline distribution networks, and the low-voltage electrical wiring inside the home of a consumer. The invention also may help to simplify installations because the device uses inductive coupling and is designed to simply clamp onto the medium voltage wire. Therefore, installation requires no power shut-off, and does not expose the installer to dangerous voltages. The device can also be used to couple PLC signals around power meters or other such devices. Arkados silicon and SOFTWARE provides a number of solutions for whole-house synchronized audio, distributed video, and a host of other products for the digital home. More information can be found at http://www.arkados.com/products.html. - Source

10/30/07 - New Theory for Mass Extinction is Offered
University of Southern California doctoral student Catherine Powers said stresses such as volcanic eruptions and global warming were the likely causes of a slow decline in the diversity of some common marine organisms. The study by Powers and Professor David Bottjer suggests the decline began millions of years before the disappearance of 90 percent of Earth's species at the end of the Permian era. The study also found organisms in the deep ocean started dying first, followed by those on ocean shelves and reefs, and finally those living near shore. Something has to be coming from the deep ocean, Powers said. Something has to be coming up the water column and killing these organisms. She and Bottj said they believe hydrogen sulfide might have been the culprit. They said previous studies, combined with their new data, support a model attributing the extinction to enormous volcanic eruptions that released carbon dioxide and methane, triggering rapid global warming. - Source

10/30/07 - Red Meat and Alcohol Increase Cancer Risk
It's well documented that eating too much red meat and drinking too much alcohol can increase the risk of developing cancer. But, according to a new study carried out by a group of 21 international researchers, eating red meat and drinking alcohol even in small quantities could cause cancer. - Source

10/30/07 - The popular image of Gandhi is a myth
KeelyNet Gandhi is idolized by people of all political stripes around the world, and his life is popularly considered a model for the American Civil Rights Movement. U.S. Senator Harry Reid called Gandhi “a giant in morality.” Former U.S president Ronald Reagan signed a bill creating a “National Day of Recognition for Mohandas K. Gandhi.” South African leader Nelson Mandela called Gandhi “the archetypal anticolonial revolutionary” whose “nonviolent resistance inspired anticolonial and antiracist movements.” African-American Senator Obama reportedly keeps a picture of Gandhi in his office. Martin Luther King, Jr. associated Gandhi with the African-American struggle against inequality, segregation, and racism. Reverend King believed Gandhi was “inspired by the vision of humanity evolving toward...peace and harmony.” When the Indian government paid to place a statue of Gandhi at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Center in Atlanta, Mrs. King spoke about her husband's admiration for Gandhi, saying, “It is gratifying and appropriate that this statue is installed in this historic site.” Unfortunately, these people were never acquainted with the real, historical Mohandas Gandhi, who was a virulent racist. - Source

10/30/07 - Weary of Highway Bribery, Russians Take On the Police
Kirill Formanchuk, like almost everyone who drives in Russia, was used to being pulled over by the police and cited for seemingly trumped up infractions. Yet instead of resigning himself to paying a bribe, he turned traffic stops into roadside tribunals, interrogating officers about their grasp of the law, recording the events and filing formal complaints about them. Motorists’ groups have held demonstrations against the police in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg, and an Internet posting in support of Mr. Formanchuk has received nearly 200,000 hits from around the country. Even the national television networks, which are under the Kremlin’s control and tend to ignore news that reflects poorly on the government, have begun to focus on what happened to Mr. Formanchuk on the night of Oct. 12 in an isolated jail cell. One channel called his treatment “outrageous.” The affair, echoing the anger that erupted after the Rodney King case in the United States, suggests that resentment toward police misconduct is so widespread that the Russian government senses that it cannot immediately clamp down on the protests, as it usually does with the political opposition. - Source

10/30/07 - Battery Powered Tram Charges in 60 Seconds
KeelyNet A new streetcar, powered by lithium battery, has been invented by the Railway Technical Research Institute in Kokubunji, Tokyo. The new transport is capable of speeds of 40 kph for 15 kilometers and can convert 70 percent of its deceleration energy into electricity which is then sent back to the battery which can recharge in under one minute. - Source

10/30/07 - Many States Seen Facing Water Shortages
An epic drought in Georgia threatens the water supply for millions. Florida doesn't have nearly enough water for its expected population boom. The Great Lakes are shrinking. Upstate New York's reservoirs have dropped to record lows. And in the West, the Sierra Nevada snowpack is melting faster each year. Across America, the picture is critically clear - the nation's freshwater supplies can no longer quench its thirst. The government projects that at least 36 states will face water shortages within five years because of a combination of rising temperatures, drought, population growth, urban sprawl, waste and excess. The price tag for ensuring a reliable water supply could be staggering. Experts estimate that just upgrading pipes to handle new supplies could cost the nation $300 billion over 30 years. "Unfortunately, there's just not going to be any more cheap water," said Randy Brown, Pompano Beach's utilities director. It's not just America's problem - it's global. - Source

10/30/07 - Another Look at 1930's Cyclogyro Plane Design
KeelyNet "Cyclogyros have the potential to be highly maneuverable flying robots due to their method of operation, making them potentially more suitable for complex tasks than helicopters and other micro air vehicles (MAVs) with less maneuverability. The biggest challenge in designing the cyclogyros is varying the angle of attack of the rotating wings. This ability would enable the plan to change altitude, hover, and fly in reverse. To achieve this quick angle variation, the researchers introduced an eccentric (rotational) point in addition to a rotational point connected to a motor." - Source

10/30/07 - Cash windfall can lead to downfall
Roughly one-third of lottery winners find themselves in serious financial trouble or bankrupt within five years of turning in their lucky numbers, according to Chelmsford wealth counselor Szifra Birke. “For many people who come into wealth suddenly - whether they win the lottery, receive an insurance settlement or an unexpected inheritance - if they have not acquired good money skills prior to this windfall, often they struggle and make poor choices,” Birke said. - Source

10/28/07 - Medicinal clays may heal ulcers
KeelyNet Plenty of clays are already on the market, touted as cures for various ailments. But few have any clinical data to back them up. That began to change five years ago when the late French humanitarian worker Line Brunet de Courssou reported that a French clay called Agricur was effective against the flesh-eating disease Buruli ulcer in Africa's Ivory Coast. Now an interdisciplinary team of microbiologists and mineralogists is trying to figure out exactly how the clay cures. "They would mix clay with water and make a paste and put it on the horrible wounds," says clay mineral researcher Associate Professor Lynda Williams of Arizona State University. When daily applications of the clay caused too much pain and appeared not to help, another French clay was used. "It was the second clay that killed [the bacteria], although the clays are mineralogically identical," Williams says. The researchers used several different clays, including sterile sand and the French clay used in the Ivory Coast, to see how well they killed a broad spectrum of bacteria. Several different kinds of well-known, dangerous bacteria - Salmonella typhimurium, Streptococcus sp, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas stutzeri - were exposed to the clays. "We found that bacterial cultures lost 90-99% of viability within 24 hours of exposure to the French Agricur clays," reports US Geological Survey researcher David Metge, who collaborated with Williams, Haydel and others. "These results contrasted to only 10-40% of reduced viability caused by other clays or sterile sand." clay therapy is reported to have cured more than 50 cases of Buruli ulcer to date, the team reports. "It not only stops the infection, but allows the body to regenerate tissues," says Giese. "The Holy Grail in all this is if you could figure this out, it opens up a whole new world of fighting pathogenic bacteria." Clays have long been used for stomach aches, paper processing, sealing wells and other applications. - Source

10/28/07 - Is Bush Psychotic?
Forget impeachment. Liberals, put it behind you. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney shouldn't be treated like criminals who deserve punishment. They should be treated like psychotics who need treatment. Because they've clearly gone mad. Exhibit A: We're in the middle of a disastrous war in Iraq, the military and political situation in Afghanistan is steadily worsening, and the administration's interrogation and detention tactics have inflamed anti-Americanism and fueled extremist movements around the globe. Sane people, confronting such a situation, do their best to tamp down tensions, rebuild shattered alliances, find common ground with hostile parties and give our military a little breathing space. But crazy people? They look around and decide it's a great time to start another war. That would be with Iran, and you'd have to be deaf not to hear the war drums. Why would he do such a thing? Why not? They have nothing to lose -- they're out of office in 15 months anyway. - Source / Bunker Buster - Tucked inside the White House's $196 billion emergency funding request for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is an item that has some people wondering whether the administration is preparing for military action against Iran. The item: $88 million to modify B-2 stealth bombers so they can carry a newly developed 30,000-pound bomb called the massive ordnance penetrator, or, in military-speak, the MOP. The MOP is the the military's largest conventional bomb, a super "bunker-buster" capable of destroying hardened targets deep underground. The one-line explanation for the request said it is in response to "an urgent operational need from theater commanders." - Source

10/28/07 - How U.S. gasoline is priced
KeelyNet U.S. crude oil prices hit a record high above $92 a barrel on Friday, closing in on the inflation-adjusted high of $101.70 seen in 1980 in the wake of the Iranian revolution. But the rising costs have yet to fully filter through to U.S. consumers at the pumps. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said this week, national average retail gasoline prices of around $2.82 per gallon could have another 20 cents to climb before catching up to the surge in crude. Here's how a gallon of gasoline was priced in 2005, according to the U.S. Department of Energy: Crude oil 53 percent / Federal and state taxes 19 percent / Refining and refiner profits 19 percent / Distribution, marketing, retail dealer costs 9 percent. - Source

10/28/07 - Biofuels 'crime against humanity'
The UN special rapporteur on the right to food, Jean Ziegler, said he feared biofuels would bring more hunger. The growth in the production of biofuels has helped to push the price of some crops to record levels. The growth in the production of biofuels has been driven, in part, by the desire to find less environmentally-damaging alternatives to oil. The United States is also keen to reduce its reliance on oil imported from politically unstable regions. But the trend has contributed to a sharp rise in food prices as farmers, particularly in the US, switch production from wheat and soya to corn, which is then turned into ethanol. Mr Ziegler is not alone in warning of the problem. The IMF last week voiced concern that the increasing global reliance on grain as a source of fuel could have serious implications for the world's poor. - Source

10/28/07 - Australian Hybrid Scooter Has Front-Wheel Motor
KeelyNet Steven Ambrose and Vishy Karri at Australia's University of Tasmania have developed a hybrid scooter that uses an electric motor attached DIRECTLY TO THE FRONT WHEEL. The front brake generates juice and puts it back into the batteries. The system cuts the scooter's fuel use by 35%. Best of all, it's designed so that a conventional scooter could be retrofitted with the system by a factory for about $730 extra. - Source

10/28/07 - Mythbusters Confirm Drafting Improves Fuel Economy
In the past, OmniNerd addressed a variety of techniques for saving fuel in the article "Improve MPG: The Factors Affecting Fuel Efficiency." One of those factors included the fuel saving effects of drafting tractor trailers, a dangerous practice. Going beyond the speculative mathematics of fluid dynamics equations, the Mythbusters demonstrated the principle scientifically in episode #80, confirming the improvements to fuel economy. Using a NASA wind tunnel, the Mythbusters used scale models to demonstrate wind resistance was reduced up to 93% (with a dangerously close simulation of a ten foot following distance). Following the wind tunnel experiment, the Mythbusters hooked a computer directly to the fuel injectors and tailed a truck in a controlled environment, demonstrating gains of 20-40% in fuel efficiency. - Source

10/28/07 - high power TVBGone
KeelyNet [bladdo] wrote in to tell me that she put together an extra powerful kit version of the TVBgone. This one's supposed to be good for over 100 feet. If you really, really want to get your ass kicked during the super bowl, this baby in a sports bar should do the trick. There's an optional programming header, so you could program it to turn every TV onto the SciFi channel. - Source

10/28/07 - Nissan Adds Robot Helper To Its Concept Car
"Nissan has mounted a robot passenger in the dashboard of its Pivo2 concept car whose job is to keep the driver happy, give spot-on directions, and even check your e-mail. 'We have data that happy drivers' accident rates are drastically lower than depressed ones, so this robot stays there to make sure the driver is happy always,' said Masato Inoue, chief designer at Nissan's exploratory design group, in an interview at the Motor Show. 'This guides the driver and sometimes cheers up the driver. For example, if the driver is irritated it might say 'Hey, you look somehow angry. Why? Please calm down.'' Other features of this vehicle include a cabin that can turn through 360 degrees so you never have to worry about looking behind when you back up and wheels that can twist 90 degrees, eliminating the need to parallel park." - Source

10/28/07 - Using Old Medications to Defeat Tuberculosis
"Antibiotic resistant tuberculosis is spreading like wildfire in the developing world. While many researchers are looking for new drugs to combat the disease, those efforts could take years to bear fruit. Meanwhile, two scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine have learned how the drug clavulanate can destroy the defenses of tuberculosis, making it vulnerable to medications in the penicillin family. The best part: it has already been approved by the FDA so doctors can start using it immediately." - Source

10/28/07 - Failed futuristic predictions
KeelyNet Here's a fine collection of 87 bad futuristic predictions from years gone by -- many of them are risible because of their skepticism (see the "telephones" section below), but I'm very fond of the optimistic ones, too, like "Nuclear-powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality in 10 years" (Alex Lewyt, president of vacuum cleaner company Lewyt Corp., in the New York Times in 1955). # «This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.» A memo at Western Union, 1878 (or 1876). # «The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.» Sir William Preece, Chief Engineer, British Post Office, 1878. # «It's a great invention but who would want to use it anyway?» Rutherford B. Hayes, U.S. President, after a demonstration of Alexander Bell's telephone, 1876. # «A man has been arrested in New York for attempting to extort funds from ignorant and superstitious people by exhibiting a device which he says will convey the human voice any distance over metallic wires so that it will be heard by the listener at the other end. He calls this instrument a telephone. Well-informed people know that it is impossible to transmit the human voice over wires.» News item in a New York newspaper, 1868. (via boingboing.net) - Source

10/28/07 - GPS Used As Defence In Radar Speeding Case
"There is an article over at Ars Technica about an accused speeder contesting his speeding ticket based on his car's built-in GPS system's records. According to the article his car says he was going slower than the radar gun clocked him at. Contesting a ticket based on GPS data has never before been tested in court." - Source

10/28/07 - How-To: Introduction to soldering
KeelyNet It's been a while since we've had a fresh How-To on the Hack-A-Day, and frankly we've missed them. To get things rolling, [Eliot] and I wanted to build a good knowledge base to help you hack your own stuff. I know that soldering won't be new to many of our readers, but everyone has to start sometime. Our hope is simple: that this new series of How-To's will help inspire new and experienced hackers alike. - Source

10/28/07 - Daily computer game boosts maths
Playing a daily computer game has helped a class of primary school children improve their maths and concentration, a study says. The children played the game every day for 10 weeks with "dramatic" results. The 30 children from St Columba's primary school - all aged nine and 10 played Dr Kawashima's More Brain Training game on a Nintendo DS console every morning before lessons for about 15 minutes. The "game" is a collection of mini-games, such as number challenges, reading tests, problem-solving exercises and memory puzzles designed to exercise the brain by increasing blood flow to the pre-frontal cortex. Progress was compared to a school where 30 same-age pupils (from a similar socio-economic background) used a method called Brain Gym - a series of body exercises designed to increase brain activity and enhance learning - for three or four days a week over the 10-week assessment. and a control group which had no access to either Brain Gym or the DS game. All three groups were given a maths test at the start of the project and the same one again at the end. All groups had better scores after 10 weeks but the biggest improvement was in the Kawashima group, where the average score went up 10 points from 76/100 to 86/100. Children who had low scores in the first test did particularly well and one pupil with special needs jumped from 25 to 68/100. No-one dropped below 65/100. - Source

10/28/07 - Copwatch Documentary: These Streets Are Watching
KeelyNet A great homespun documentary about the organization known as CopWatch. Lots of video footage from the organization's watchers, clips from news reports, etc. If you don't know already... (from the Wikipedia) The main function of most Copwatch groups is monitoring police activity. "Copwatchers" go out on foot or driving patrols in their communities and videotape interactions between the police and civilians. Some groups also patrol at protests and demonstrations to ensure that the rights of protesters are not violated by police officers. One Copwatch organization states that it has a policy of non-interference with the police, although this may not be true for all groups. Copwatch groups also hold "Know Your Rights" forums to educate the public about their legal and human rights when interacting with the police, and some groups organize events to highlight problems of police abuse in their communities. - Source

10/28/07 - Pentagon Robot Challenge Goes Corporate
When the Pentagon's research arm first called for innovators to design and race a self-driving car to make warfare safer, a ragtag bunch of garage tinkerers, computer geeks and even high school students answered. No one won the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's inaugural contest in 2004. An encore the following year produced five robots that crossed the finish line, and a team from Stanford University drove away with the $2 million prize. If yesteryear's contests evoked the Wild West, with teams working in the open desert on a shoestring budget, this year's is modern: The field is more savvy, the terrain is urban and corporate sponsors and public relations machines have entered the fray. - Source

10/26/07 - Buzzing Stops Fat
KeelyNet Scientists have found a surprising way to turn off the process that creates fat cells - at least in mice. Results show growing mice exposed every day to a very slight vibration grew up leaner. The difference is that these mice are spending 15 minutes a day for 15 weeks being vibrated ever so slightly in a tub that rests on a platform that looks like a giant pizza box attached to electronics. The vibrations are very slight, so slight many people can't feel the vibration, only hear the hum. In tests at his lab at Stony Brook University lab, Rubin and his team showed that after the vibration regimen, the mice had 28 percent less fat in their torsos than another group of the same kind of mice who ate the same amount of food, and had the same amount of exercise. Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Rubin explained that the vibrations, "also reduced key risk factors in the onset of type II diabetes." Rubin explains that his interest is in how physical signals - outside influences of mechanical, electrical and thermal signals - can influence the body. What is noteworthy is how little vibration is needed to coax the stem cells in these growing mice to produce bone, instead of fat. Rubin says it's about, "one one-thousandth of the magnitude of a signal you might get while you're running." Rubin is quick to point out that they were not studying whether vibrations could burn any fat that's already present, but instead to inhibit production of new fat cells. He says that's important because, "If you never allow fat cells to be established, you can't get fat." - Source

10/26/07 - Harnessing the Power of the Sun - December 1930
KeelyNet DR. Georges Claude, brilliant French inventor, recently expended a million dollars and, after two unsuccessful attempts, succeeded in launching a mile long steel lube, some six feet in diameter, in the waters of the sea off Matanzas, Cuba. And most of the world is still wondering what he is trying to do. Seems strange to go down under the sea to capture the power of the sun, but if he succeeds in doing on a large scale what he has already demonstrated in a small way he may soon be generating enough power to run all Cuba, with a surplus to be exported by way of an undersea cable to Florida. The sun heats the surface ocean water in the tropics to temperatures as high as 28 degrees, Centigrade, while 400 meters down the sea is as cold as 4 degrees, Centigrade. If the two bodies at different temperatures could be brought together water could be boiled, in a partial vacuum, producing power equivalent to a 300-foot waterfall. In demonstrations before the Havana Academy of Science last year Dr. Claude showed that with the difference in temperature between ice at melting point and water at 68 degrees Fahrenheit-a difference ” of 36 degrees, sufficient vapor was released to run a small turbine at 5,000 r.p.m. Following the launching of the tube Prof. Claude announced that 4,000 cubic meters of deep sea water was being obtained each hour, at a temperature of 13 degrees Centigrade. The actual temperature at the lower end of the tube, 650 meters below the surface, was 10-1/2 degrees, so there was a temperature rise of only one and a half degrees as the cold water was brought up through the warmer layers above. In his power plant there is a huge tank filled with warm surface water. When the air in the tank is exhausted the water boils and provides the steam to operate the turbine driving the generator. The purpose of the cold water brought from the depths of the sea is simply to cool the exhaust steam at a rapid rate and so provide the vacuum to operate the air pump, which in turn exhausts the air from the warm water tank, and so converts the process into an endless chain. The present plant, with a 50 kilowatt generator, is only an experimental affair, and, if successful, probably will be abandoned in favor of a much larger one located at some other spot in Cuba. - Source

10/26/07 - Predict Your Baby's Gender Before Conception
KeelyNet A man named Horatiu Terpe claims to have developed a tool called, "GenderClue" that will predict the sex of a baby before it has even been conceived. It's an algorithm based on a type of circadian cycle using the Father and the Mother's birth dates and displays the results in a calendar showing you what day to have sex on, to produce a boy (blue) or a girl (red). The beginning of a cycle has the highest probably of accuracy, while the end of a cycle has the lowest. The product's website says... The Y and X chromosomes (male and female) for each person have certain variations, different from each of the two chromosomes. The cycle of the two chromosomes start at birth. Genderclue's algorithm calculates the cycle for the Father and the Mother to be and compares the two cycles. Learn more about GenderClue here... http://www.genderclue.com - Source

10/26/07 - Electricity grid could become a type of Internet
In the future everyone who is connected to the electricity grid will be able to upload and download packages of electricity to and from this network. At least, that is one of the transformations the electricity grid could undergo. Dutch researcher Jos Meeuwsen (Technical University Eindhoven) developed three scenarios for the Dutch electricity supply in the year 2050. The starting point is that in this year, 50% of the consumption will originate from sustainable sources. Three scenarios - Meeuwsen's three different scenarios for the future of the electricity grid mainly differ in the size of the electricity generation facilities. The scenario 'super networks' consists of large-scale production locations, transportation via high voltages, a considerable import of sustainable energy (in the form of biomass) and energy from offshore wind farms. The 'hybrid networks' scenario also includes large plants with high voltages that originate from offshore wind parks and large biomass stations. Additionally, small-scale generation takes place in and around cities and villages (wind, biomass and solar energy). Finally, in the 'local' scenario the number of local generators (in the form of micro-cogeneration units, solar energy panels, small-scale biomass plants at neighbourhood level and land-based wind turbines) is the greatest, yet large industrial processes and small consumers still make partly use of electricity from large-scale production resources. - Source

10/26/07 - Satellite photos hunt for Noah's Ark
KeelyNet Three high-tech companies have joined technology in the search for evidence that a 980-foot-long feature on Turkey's Mt. Ararat might be what's left of Noah's Ark. The high-tech effort involves GeoEye, INTA Space Turk, along with the talents of Satellite Imaging Corporation. Satellite Imaging Corporation of Houston, Texas has created a 3D terrain model of the so-called "Mt. Ararat anomaly" -- making use of stereo IKONOS satellite image data to create a flyover of the site in remote northeastern Turkey. Porcher Taylor, an associate professor at the University of Richmond's School of Continuing Studies, has been at the forefront of utilizing Earth orbiting remote sensing spacecraft to study the Ararat Anomaly from space. "To be best of my knowledge, to date, only 2D satellite missions had been flown over the anomaly, not stereo missions," he explained in a press release. Taylor said GeoEye's IKONOS satellite serves as a "space-based Indiana Jones" over the anomaly. Furthermore, the GeoEye-1 - to be launched early next year - will make the controversial anomaly almost twice as visible due to that spacecraft's ultra-powerful 0.4 meter resolution. The purported anomaly lies surrounded by rugged strato-volcanic rock at the northwestern corner of Mt. Ararat’s western plateau. It sits mostly buried underneath a permanent glacier and drew attention because of its relatively smooth surface texture and unusual physical composition, according to some interpretations. The site occupied by the anomaly is located at 15,300 feet above sea level. - Source

10/26/07 - Human, animal parts assembly on horizon
Topflight Mancunian scientists believe they will soon pioneer an improved technique for splicing together human nerves. This could offer a range of benefits, not least the ability to assemble huge, powerful bodies out of miscellaneous human parts and implanted brains harvested from condemned criminal maniacs. It seems that a team let by Dr Paul Kingham at the University of Manchester have found that they can grow nerve tissue using stem cells extracted from fat. They plan to join up nerve endings with a tube made of "biodegradable polymer" inside which their new cultured nerve tissue can grow, so creating a functioning nerve pathway. Once the nerve is strong enough, the tube will gradually dissolve away. Dr Kingham and his colleagues are playing down the Frankensteinian aspects of their research for some reason, preferring to focus on relatively humdrum stuff like reattaching severed limbs to their original owners. This could allow secretive government boffins bent on infiltrating wacky terrorist cells to swap people's living faces over, as in the film Face Off. Ultimately, assuming a suitably large stock of legs, arms, giblets, brains in bubbling jars etc., it ought to be feasible to custom-build complete Lurch-style butlers or other handy menials to order. Apparently the nerve-culturing caper has already been tried out with animals, raising the spectre of various chimerical creatures being put together out of random parts; or perhaps the addition of useful bits and pieces to humans. More adventurous ploys such as placing the brains of interesting, useful or valuable dead people in giant apes, boxing kangaroos and the like also spring to mind. Indeed, the long-sought monkey butler could finally be at hand. - Source

10/26/07 - Planners putting block on home green power plans
A REVOLUTION in micro- energy schemes is being held back by costly red tape, campaigners said yesterday. Supporters and manufacturers of solar panels, micro-wind turbines and other renewable energy systems protested outside the Scottish Parliament yesterday, saying many people were put off installing them because of the complexity of the planning procedure and the cost. While the average cost for a standard planning application is £135, some councils can require householders to submit site- specific noise assessments and architects' drawings which increase the cost to nearly £1,000. Friends of the Earth Scotland, the Micropower Council and Association for the Conservation of Energy took part in yesterday's protest, calling on the Scottish Government to make micro-renewables "permitted development". Dave Sowden, of the Micropower Council, said: "The micropower industry has an important role in Scotland's fight against climate change. Planning rules put an unnecessary obstacle into the path of householders." The Labour MSP Sarah Boyack, who has put forward a member's bill to the parliament which would address many of the campaigners' concerns, said: "There are some daft rules here and we need to declutter the process." - Source

10/26/07 - Fossil link Mass Extinction Events with Climate Change
Researchers at the Universities of York and Leeds have identified a close association between Earth's climate and mass extinction events in a study that examines the relationship between the two over the past 520 million years-almost the entire fossil record available. Matching data sets of marine and terrestrial diversity against temperature estimates, evidence shows that global biodiversity is relatively low during warm greenhouse phases and extinctions relatively high, while the reverse is true in cooler icehouse phases. - Source

10/26/07 - The hydrogen-powered motorbike that makes 'green' biking cool
KeelyNet The Crosscage concept bike, due to be unveiled at the Tokyo Motorshow later this week, runs in complete silence and is powered by fuel cells developed by Loughborough-based technology firm Intelligent Energy. Intelligent Energy has provided the battery and electric propulsion system for the new motorbike, and the small hydrogen tank is located where the engine would normally be, underneath the rider. While details of the new concept bike have been kept strictly under wraps by Suzuki, the fact that the firm has chosen Intelligent Energy to develop its fuel cell engine gives some clues as to how the bike may work. In 2005 Intelligent Energy unveiled the world's first fuel-cell powered motorbike, the so-called ENV (Emissions Neutral Vehicle) bike. The bike was powered by a Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) type fuel cell - one of five different fuel cell types, all of which have different attributes in terms of size, robustness and ability to work at high temperatures. Each fuel cell is a multi-layered sandwich of plates and electrodes which use a chemical reaction to produce water and electricity from hydrogen and oxygen. - Source

10/26/07 - Bigelow Aerospace to offer $760 million for spaceship
Bigelow Aerospace intends to spur development of a commercial space vehicle to take people into Earth orbit by offering to sign a contract worth $760 million with any company that can meet their criteria, company president Robert Bigelow says. The company plans to break ground in less than a year on a factory to mass-produce its inflatable space stations, but they are worried that without an affordable commercial crew launch vehicle, none of its potential customers will be able to pay to get to these space stations, Bigelow said. "We could find ourselves with a nice new facility, a number of modules on the floor ready to launch, and nowhere in sight is an affordable or even existing transportation vehicle - a capsule and a lifting vehicle that make economic sense," he said. The contract or purchase agreement would be worth $760 million in total for eight launches. To show that Bigelow Aerospace is serious, it will deposit $100 million in an escrow bank account up front if the plan goes forward. - Source

10/26/07 - Severely Restricted Diet Linked To Physical Fitness Into Old Age
Severely restricting calories leads to a longer life, scientists have proved. New research now has shown for the first time that such a diet also can maintain physical fitness into advanced age, slowing the seemingly inevitable progression to physical disability and loss of independence. The study, using a rat model of life-time caloric restriction, showed that the diet reduces the amount of visceral fat, which expresses inflammatory factors that in humans cause chronic disease and a decline in physical performance and vitality across the lifespan. - Source

10/26/07 - Video - Levitation at Whitehouse
KeelyNet Here is a video of Wouter Bijdendijk, a Dutch magician who performs as Ramana, levitating outside the White House. He has, er, risen to the occasion in many famous locales, including Times Square. - Source



10/26/07 - Video - Gravity Speakers
KeelyNet This video purports to show an amateur experiment in which someone created a small gravitational field "using a speaker and a generated sound wave." The instructions say that a Bose Companion 2 Series II speaker was used, and a "sine wave at 16 khz" was generated. Obviously it's fake. Audio speakers will not create a gravity field. But I'm not sure how they created the special effect. (Not that I know much about creating video effects.) Perhaps they used some kind of fancy editing software. Or perhaps they did it a really low-tech way -- moving the objects one frame at a time to make it appear as if they were sliding towards the speaker. If they did it the latter way, they managed to make the sliding effect look very smooth. Perhaps it's a viral ad for Bose speakers. - Source

10/26/07 - Plump Flattened Cushions in the Sun
Your couch cushions half the height they were the day you bought 'em? Real Simple magazine offers an easy way to get them cushy again: Put them outside in the sun for a few hours, flipping them halfway through...The sun will help evaporate the moisture that gets into the filling over time, and the cushions should plump up nicely. Make sure you set a timer on this, though, because as the mag notes, leaving them out too long can fade the cushion fabric (especially for darker colors). (via lifehacker.com) - Source

10/26/07 - bmovies.com
Here you’ll find hundreds of movies that have been lost in the wasteland of forgotten cinema. No sign-up or log-in needed, just hours and hours of B. All you’ll need is a broadband connection and hours to waste... Selections includes science fiction, kung fu, horror and Westerns. (Movies may feature up to 1 minute of advertisements before playing. Current version of in-line Flash player has no navigational controls.) - Source

10/24/07 - Static Field Converter - Machine taps new source of Energy
KeelyNet The Static Field Converter (patented and patents pending) is an invention that converts the energy in a static magnetic field into usable electrical energy. The significance of the innovation is that the energy stored in some permanent magnet materials can be tapped. The magnitude of the energy is large enough to make a significant impact in reducing the U.S. addiction to oil as well as mitigate the destruction of the environment. Large amounts of electricity generated by the invention can produce large amounts of hydrogen. Hydrogen can be used as fuel in most applications that now require fossil fuels. It can also be used to power fuel cells. The exhaust is water. / Patent 5,710,531 issued in 1998. - Various attempts have been made to use the Meissner effect of superconductive materials to perform useful work. The Meissner effect occurs when a superconductive material is cooled to a temperature below its transition point. In a magnetic field, the lines of induction are then pushed out as if the superconductor exhibited perfect diamagnetism. Various devices have been developed which bring a superconductor in or out of the diamagnetic state or mechanically move a superconductive element in relation to a magnetic field and thereby produce or control mechanical, magnetic or electrical energy. In the present invention, a superconductive magnetic insulating/blocking device in the form of a hemisphere, rotates inside a responsive means such as a coil to periodically shield and unshield the responsive means from a magnetic field. The invention provides for the efficient transformation of the energy of the magnetic field into electrical energy and can thus be used as a dc transformer, a dc to ac converter, an electric generator or a very high energy density battery. - Source

10/24/07 - Blood May Help Us Think
A MIT neuroscientist proposes that blood actively modulates how neurons process information, rather than just delivering “supplies” to neurons. The Hemo-Neural Hypothesis has clinical implications for diseases involving irregular vasculature like Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. It also enriches the interpretation fMRI images from being just a marker of past brain activity to also being a predictor of future function. "We hypothesize that blood actively modulates how neurons process information," explains Christopher Moore, a principle investigator in the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, in an invited review in the Journal of Neurophysiology. "Many lines of evidence suggest that blood does something more interesting than just delivering supplies. If it does modulate how neurons relay signals, that changes how we think the brain works." According to Moore's Hemo-Neural Hypothesis, blood is not just a physiological support system but actually helps control brain activity. Specifically, localized changes in blood flow affect the activity of nearby neurons, changing how they transmit signals to each other and hence regulating information flow throughout the brain. Ongoing studies in Moore's laboratory support this view, showing that blood flow does modulate individual neurons. Moore's theory has implications for understanding brain diseases such as Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. "Many neurological and psychiatric diseases have associated changes in the vasculature," says Moore, who is also an assistant professor in MIT's Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. How could blood flow affect brain activity? Blood contains diffusible factors that could leak out of vessels to affect neural activity, and changes to blood volume could affect the concentration of these factors. Also, neurons and support cells called glia may react to the mechanical forces of blood vessels expanding and contracting. In addition, blood influences the temperature of brain tissue, which affects neural activity. To Moore's knowledge, the Hemo-Neural Hypothesis offers an entirely new way of looking at the brain. "No one ever includes blood flow in models of information processing in the brain," he asserts. One historical exception is the philosopher Aristotle, who thought the circulatory system was responsible for thoughts and emotions. Perhaps the ancient Greeks were on to something. - Source

10/24/07 - UK gov advisor proposes 'licence to smoke'
KeelyNet A government advisor has suggested that the problem of Brits continuing to smoke themselves to death might be tackled by requiring nicotine addicts to obtain a £200 annual licence. Professor Julian le Grand, a "former advisor to Tony Blair" who is a lecturer in social policy at the London School of Economics and "advises ministers through his chairmanship of Health England", made his proposal this week as a Department of Health report said that while "smoking prevalence is falling among both males and females", far too many of us are popping our clogs as a result of coronary disease and other smoking-related ailments. - Source / The Cigarette That's Legal Indoors - The six-inch white plastic stick uses a battery-powered atomiser to create realistic puffs of "smoke," while the tip glows red with each suck. The smoker even gets a strong kick of nicotine from “nico-filter" cartridge. Its manufacturer, the Golden Dragon Group, say the invention has no harmful side-effects because there is no smoke or tar. - Source

10/24/07 - Patent Promises Oral Insulin for Treatment of Diabetes
Syracuse University researchers have designed, tested and patented a new method of oral insulin delivery that can potentially help reduce daily insulin injections for millions of people with diabetes who require therapy for optimal glycemic control. The non-invasive, basal delivery of insulin has been a major goal for the treatment of diabetes mellitus (DM), which affects more than 21 million individuals in the United States. Basal therapy describes a low, continuous dosage of insulin (commonly administered through a slow-acting insulin injection) that replaces the lack of insulin output by the pancreas in diabetics. This works together with bolus therapy, which is a dosage of insulin intended to replace a meal or to make a large glucose-level correction. Up to this point, basal oral insulin deliveries have not been possible due to proteolytic degradation (digestion of proteins by cellular enzymes) and inefficient enteric uptake, meaning that free insulin delivered orally is never effectively delivered to the bloodstream because it is destroyed as it passes through the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), before it reaches its necessary receptors. The team of SU researchers has now developed a method of oral insulin delivery that eliminates the breakdown of insulin in the GIT, allowing for the transport of insulin to the bloodstream. - Source

10/24/07 - New NASA Data Still Proves Global Warming is Real
KeelyNet Yes, there's a glitch in NASA's data about U.S. air temperatures. But the corrected data still shows a warming trend that's unmistakeable. Many arguments against global warming require a carefully-slanted presentation of the statistics. Here's what global warming skeptics are saying - and the evidence from NASA's most recent statistics. There's always going to be a freakishly hot year - which is why NASA also calculated the mean temperature over a five-year period of time. If you graph those, you see a pretty clear pattern. Even with the new data, 7 of the hottest 10 five-year periods have still occurred in the last ten years. And we don't have five-year means centered around 2005 and 2006 yet - though 2006 has already proven itself to be one of the 10 hottest years (again, using the updated statistics.) - Source

10/24/07 - Positive outlook doesn't beat cancer
The power of positive thinking has been dealt a blow by a study that shows cancer patients' state of mind has no influence on their survival chances. US researchers reporting online in the journal Cancer say that people who are depressed about their cancer are no more likely to die early than people who keep a positive outlook. Cancer patients are often encouraged to stay as happy as possible and many people believe that a positive outlook helps recovery and survival. They analysed data from two studies of the emotional states of 1093 patients with head and neck cancer. Over the time of the two studies, 646 patients died. The analysis showed that emotional status was not associated with survival rate. A person's emotions were not associated with survival even after taking into account other factors, such as gender, tumour site or disease stage. "The hope that we can fight cancer by influencing emotional states appears to have been misplaced," Coyne says. "If cancer patients want psychotherapy or to be in a support group, they should be given the opportunity to do so. There can be lots of emotional and social benefits. "But they should not seek such experiences solely on the expectation that they are extending their lives." - Source

10/24/07 - NASA cuts funding to private spaceship developer
KeelyNet NASA has terminated an agreement with Rocketplane Kistler, one of two private companies that had won agency funding to develop supply ships for the International Space Station. Now, it plans to use the money it had set aside for RpK to fund competing proposals. In August 2006, the agency agreed to provide $207 million to RpK, based in Oklahoma City, and $278 million to Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), based in El Segundo, California, from then until 2010 - providing they met certain milestones along the way. But in May 2007, Rocketplane Kistler - which was working on a reusable rocket called K-1 - failed to meet its fourth milestone, which required the company to raise $500 million in private financing. NASA warned the company in early September that its funding was in jeopardy, and on Thursday it formally terminated the agreement. To date, RpK has received about $32 million in NASA funding. The $175 million that would have gone to RpK had it continued to meet its goals - which included a demonstration flight to the space station in 2009 - will now be used to fund one or more proposals in a new COTS competition, Lindenmoyer said. "We are now at the point where we're able to consider reinvesting this money." - Source

10/24/07 - Golden Zone Theory Predicts Location Of Oil And Gas Reserves
The Golden Zone is the name of a an underground zone where temperatures range between 60 and 120 C. The name refers to a new discovery that 90 per cent of the world's oil and gas reserves are to be found just there. The theory has been tested and verified against a global database containing 120 000 oil fields under production, This gives geologists a tool that makes it simpler and cheaper to find new offshore oil and gas reserves. Outside this interval of 60 to 120 C, particularly above 120 C, the chances of finding oil and gas are much slimmer. Earlier it was assumed that the formation of oil and gas was related to temperature. The new discovery is that temperature decides where most of the lighter oil and gas is trapped in the reservoirs. The increase of temperature downward into the reservoirs varies from place to place. Therefore the zone is to be found at different depths. On the Norwegian continental shelf it is located at depths ranging from two to four kilometers, while in other reservoirs it may be found somewhere between one to two km. These are the so-called warm reservoirs. In cold reservoirs the zone is located at about four to eight kilometers down. The fact that oil and gas coexist within the same temperature zone is a new discovery and a surprise. Gas is formed at higher temperatures than oil. Consequently it has been a standard rule that there should be more gas than oil the deeper one drilled into the reservoir. The reason why this is not the case is covered by the new theory which predicts that both oil and gas escape through fissures formed at 120 C. But nobody had checked it, Bjørkum says. - Source

10/24/07 - Hypnotherapy Helps Stop Smoking Habit
KeelyNet A new study shows that smokers given free hypnotherapy to help them quit smoking after hospitalization were more likely to be nonsmokers about six months later than those who used nicotine replacement therapy alone, such as gum or patches, or who went cold turkey. Researchers say hypnotherapy has been promoted as a way to help people quit smoking, but the reliability of this method has not been confirmed. These results suggest that it may be a useful tool for helping motivated smokers to quit. The study also shows that the smokers who were hospitalized for heart-related problems were more likely to quit smoking than those admitted for lung-related reasons. In the study, researchers followed 67 smokers who were hospitalized for heart or lung problems. All of the patients were offered help to quit smoking in the form of hypnotherapy, nicotine replacement therapy, or hypnotherapy plus nicotine replacement therapy -- or they could choose to try to quit cold turkey. Twenty-six weeks after leaving the hospital, the results show that 50% of smokers who used hypnotherapy alone or in combination with nicotine replacement therapy -- compared with 16% who used nicotine replacement therapy alone -- became nonsmokers. In comparison, 25% of those who went cold turkey had kicked the habit. In addition, researchers found smokers admitted to hospitals for heart-related reasons were more likely to quit smoking than those who were hospitalized for lung problems (46% vs. 16%). - Source

10/24/07 - What NASA Won't Tell You About Air Safety
"According to a report out of Washington, NASA wants to avoid telling you about how unsafe you are when you fly. According to the article, when an $8.5M safety study of about 24,000 pilots indicated an alarming number of near collisions and runway incidents, NASA refused to release the results. The article quotes one congressman as saying 'There is a faint odor about it all.' A friend of mine who is a general aviation pilot responded to the article by saying 'It's scary but no surprise to those of us who fly.'" - Source

10/24/07 - Floating toxic plastic garbage island twice the size of Texas
"A little-known island continent of floating toxic plastic garbage, TWICE the size of Texas, is growing in the pacific between Califormnia and Hawaii. Officially known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, until it can be taxed, U.S. officials will continue to ignore it. I heard of it once many years ago, but it apparently has been growing tenfold each decade since the 1950's, and now consists of 80% plastic. It has also been called Gilligan's Island, from the trashy TV sitcom that won't go away." The enormous stew of trash - which consists of 80 percent plastics and weighs some 3.5 million tons, say oceanographers - floats where few people ever travel, in a no-man's land between San Francisco and Hawaii. ... The patch has been growing, along with ocean debris worldwide, tenfold every decade since the 1950s, said Chris Parry, public education program manager with the California Coastal Commission in San Francisco. - Source (via boingboing.net)

10/24/07 - Nigerian's DIY helicopter
KeelyNet A northern Nigerian college student built his own helicopter from an old Toyota car engine and scavenged parts from a Boeing 747 that crashed near his town of Kano. Mubarak Muhammad Abdullahi, 24, has already briefly flown it four times and is now constructing a new model based on a motorcycle engine. He says it will fly for several hours at the low attitude of 15 feet. Abdullahi says he was inspired to build his choppers from watching action movies and learned to fly by reading about it online. From AFP: The (current model's) cockpit consists of a push-button ignition, an accelerator lever between the seats which controls vertical thrust, a joystick that provides balance and bearing. A small screen on the dashboard connects to a camera underneath the helicopter for ground vision, a set of six buttons adjusts the screen's brightness while a small transmitter is used for communication. "You start it, allow it to run for a minute or two and you then shift the accelerator forward and the propeller on top begins to spin. The further you shift the accelerator the faster it goes and once you reach 300 rmp you press the joystick and it takes off," Abdullahi explained from the cockpit. - Source (via boingboing.net)

10/24/07 - Rock rentals: Study says addicts loaning cars for crack
It ain't Avis or Hertz, but apparently in some circles you can rent a car for as little as a couple of rocks of crack. Of course, that amount may only get you a couple of hours in your borrowed car, but with no credit checks it seems like less of a hassle than mainstream car renting. This newly-emerging trend of alternative car rentals is discussed in a study by The University of Alabama that was published last Friday in the British Journal of Criminology. The UA researchers learned of rock rentals during interviews with Louisiana prison inmates, then confirmed it by talking to several non-imprisoned drug users. One person interviewed as part of the study said, "That's how we used to ride when we were young. To have a rock rental was like having a brand new car in the neighborhood." - Source

10/24/07 - Micro-Vett Converting Fiat Doblò Station Wagons to Electric Vehicles
KeelyNet With a range of approximately 60 miles (100 kilometers) the all electric Micro-Vett Fiat Doblò 5 seat station wagon, powered by a 18 kWh Altairnano NanoSafe® battery pack is undergoing field trials in Oslo, Norway. The battery pack was recharged three times, in less than ten minutes using a high voltage rapid charging system, for a total of three times to travel a total of 186 miles (300 km) at a top speed of 72 mph (120 kM/h). Go Green expects to ship up to 20 Micro-Vett vehicles to customers in the next several months, and an additional 250 vehicles are planned for shipment in 2008. - Source

10/24/07 - Scientists a step closer to steering hurricanes
The damage done to New Orleans in 2005 has spurred two rival teams of climate experts, in America and Israel, to redouble their efforts to enable people to play God with the weather. Under one scheme, aircraft would drop soot into the near-freezing cloud at the top of a hurricane, causing it to warm up and so reduce wind speeds. Computer simulations of the forces at work in the most violent storms have shown that even small changes can affect their paths - enabling them to be diverted from major cities. But the hurricane modifiers are fighting more than the weather. Lawyers warn that diverting a hurricane from one city to save life and property could result in multi-billion dollar lawsuits from towns that bear the brunt instead. Hurricane Katrina caused about $41 billion in damage to New Orleans. Hurricanes form when air warmed over the ocean rises to meet the cool upper atmosphere. The heat turns to kinetic energy, producing a spiral of wind and rain. The greater the temperature differences between top and bottom, and the narrower the eye of the hurricane, the faster it blows. Moshe Alamaro, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), told The Sunday Telegraph of his plans to "paint" the tops of hurricanes black by scattering carbon particles - either soot or black particles from the manufacture of tyres - from aircraft flying above the storms. The particles would absorb heat from the sun, leading to changes in the airflows within the storm. Satellites could also heat the cloud tops by beaming microwaves from space. "If they're done in the right place at the right time they can affect the strength of the hurricane," Mr Alamaro said. - Source

10/22/07 - Radio-Fuelled Autos may solve gas problem - August 1936
KeelyNet AUTOS operated on radio fuel may become a reality if the present consumption of oil continues and no new oil sources are discovered. One engineer boldly suggests a network of “radio highways” consisting of huge broadcast transmitters capable of sending out signals which would be converted into motive power. Provided with special radio energy converters automobiles would be silently operated by powerful electric motors. By simply throwing a switch on the dash the motors would be put into motion, eliminating starters, noise and dangerous carbon monoxide gas. Fortunately, science has delved into the fuel problem and found a solution for a matter which has for years been on the verge of confronting automotive engineers. - Source

10/22/07 - Heat-recovery tech for drains hits Home Depot
KeelyNet Power-Pipe technology is basically copper tubing that wraps around a residential drain pipe. Cold water is pumped through the tubing and captures the heat from drain water after it comes out taps, dishwashers, washing machines, etc.... The warmed up water from the tube is then sent to the residential hot water tank, which doesn't have to burn as much natural gas or use as much electricity now because the water has been pre-heated by several degrees. It's a simple system, sold in a variety of designs by a number of different companies, that should be required in every home. The company claims the system will pay for itself in two to five years, it can be used in new and old homes, and it can reduce home energy consumption by 5 to 10 per cent. Not bad when you consider the hot water portion only accounts for 20 to 30 per cent of total home energy use. The Power-Pipe comes in three models -- 36-inch, 48-inch and 60-inch long tube models ranging from $600 to $1,000 (Canadian) and including the cost of installation. Just type in "Power-Pipe" in the HomeDepot.ca search engine. "The typical 60-inch Power-Pipe unit can bring you cold water temperature up from 10 degrees C to as much as 24 degrees C," the company says. - Source

10/22/07 - Wind energy on demand
KeelyNet Compressing air for energy isn't a new idea, but its use for wind energy is. When energy demand is low, energy from wind turbines can force air into an underground aquifer. When demand is high, a utility can expand the pressurized air and transform it back into electricity by pumping it to the surface and running it through a turbine. Two compressed-air energy-storage (CAES) installations exist-one in Huntorf, Germany, and the other in McIntosh, Ala.-but neither relies on wind energy for compression or expansion. The project, created by IAMU, is dubbed the Iowa Stored Energy Park. The $200 million undertaking aims to harness about 75 megawatts (MW) of power from wind turbines across Iowa, supplemented with electricity bought at off-peak times delivered by existing power lines. The energy would power motors to compress air and force it 2000 feet below ground into a natural aquifer near Dallas Center, in central Iowa. The Iowa plant should produce 268 MW when running at full capacity, which is enough to power about 75,000 homes. Most of the energy will be used by the municipal utilities in Iowa and in surrounding states that invest in the park. The rest will be sold on the grid. General Compression plans to offer its dispatchable wind turbine system for sale to turbine operators within the next 3 years. The system features a compressed-air wind turbine, a pipeline network that collects and stores compressed air, and a mini power plant of expanders and generators, says Michael Marcus, the company's president. The blowing wind lifts the turbine blades, spinning the compressor. In turn, the compressor pressurizes air and pumps it down the tower into an underground network of pressurized pipes. The pipes collect and store 6-12 hours of wind-generated energy. For longer storage, the technology can also pump compressed air into a nearby salt dome, aquifer, limestone cavern, or depleted gas field, Marcus says. To retrieve that power, the compressor is configured as an expander, which turns the change in pressure as air is released into rotary motion. The expanders are connected to electrical generators. - Source

10/22/07 - REGI US Completes Prototype RadMax Pump
KeelyNet REGI US, Inc. and Reg Technologies have completed a prototype, proof-of-concept pump that is suitable for customer demonstrations. The RadMax Rad Max, based on RandCam/RadMax sliding-vane rotary engine technology (earlier post), is a 12-vane device that produces 48 pump actions every revolution. As a pump for water or fuel, the prototype 140-pound RadMax Rad Max has a theoretical displacement of more than 2,000 gpm at 3,600 rpm. The solution is scalable with minimal design changes, and many of the parts are interchangeable between different sized pumps. - Source

10/22/07 - Raw Seafood Consumption May Cause Round Worm
Lovers of sushi and sashimi, beware. Consumption of raw or undercooked seafood may cause anisakiasis (round worm) infection that can lead to cramping, diarrhea, vomiting and possible small bowel obstruction. While anisakis larvae cannot survive in a human host when ingested, it can produce intestinal problems so severe it requires treatment at the emergency room. - Source

10/22/07 - Earthdiving
KeelyNet Looking up through the glass visor on his spacesuit, Joseph Kittinger could see only the huge, fragile, gossamer-thin silver balloon towering 200ft over his tiny gondola. This helium-filled balloon, Excelsior, had taken him to the edge of space, bathed in solar ultraviolet radiation and in temperatures of -70C. The air pressure was lower than that on the surface of Mars - essentially a vacuum. At that height, there was no wind, no sound ... nothing. And then Kittinger took a last look at the tiny gondola and did something unthinkable: he jumped. From an altitude of 102,800ft, or 20 miles (more than three times the cruising altitude of a commercial airliner or the height of Mount Everest), Kittinger plunged into the void, attaining speeds of more than 700mph as he hurtled towards the earth. Despite breaking a seal on his spacesuit, he survived, landing gently by parachute 13 minutes and 45 seconds later. That extraordinary jump on August 16, 1960, broke the record for the highest parachute jump which stands to this day, a daredevil achievement that makes the antics of today's bungee-istes and base-jumpers look like nursery games. But it may not be a record which stands for much longer. In New Scientist magazine this week, a bizarre project has been revealed which, if it comes to fruition, will not only see Kittinger's extraordinary and little-known record smashed, but will open up near-space to a new breed of extreme sportsmen and women - people keen to get the ultimate kick by jumping not from 20, but from 30 or even 60 miles above the Earth. Led by a consortium of extreme sports enthusiasts and entrepreneurs, the project envisages a small unmanned rocket delivering a human cargo to the edge of the earth's atmosphere - a living cargo which will then leap into the void equipped with nothing but a spacesuit and a parachute. So far, some 460 people have left the Earth's atmosphere, and of those, 22 have been killed either during the flight or in tests - a five per cent fatality rate, far higher than just about any other military or aviation pursuit. - Source

10/22/07 - New Hearing Mechanism Discovered
MIT Professor Dennis M. Freeman, working with graduate student Roozbeh Ghaffari and research scientist Alexander J. Aranyosi, found that the tectorial membrane, a gelatinous structure inside the cochlea of the ear, is much more important to hearing than previously thought. It can selectively pick up and transmit energy to different parts of the cochlea via a kind of wave that is different from that commonly associated with hearing. In short, the ear can mechanically translate sounds into two different kinds of wave motion at once. These waves can interact to excite the hair cells and enhance their sensitivity, "which may help explain how we hear sounds as quiet as whispers," says Aranyosi. The interactions between these two wave mechanisms may be a key part of how we are able to hear with such fidelity - for example, knowing when a single instrument in an orchestra is out of tune. "We know the ear is enormously sensitive" in its ability to discriminate between different kinds of sound, Freeman says. "We don't know the mechanism that lets it do that." The new work has revealed "a whole new mechanism that nobody had thought of. It's really a very different way of looking at things." The tectorial membrane is difficult to study because it is small (the entire length could fit inside a one-inch piece of human hair), fragile (it is 97 percent water, with a consistency similar to that of a jellyfish), and nearly transparent. In addition, sound vibrations cause nanometer-scale displacements of cochlear structures at audio frequencies. "We had to develop an entirely new class of measurement tools for the nano-scale regime," Ghaffari says. - Source

10/22/07 - Ships pollute more than planes
Ships pump out twice as much carbon dioxide as planes, according to new figures from the maritime industry body Intertanko. The body also warns that the industry should brace itself for the attentions of various governments. Bill Box, from Intertanko, told the Independent newspaper: "Shipping has not yet been regulated and for politicians it is the last low hanging fruit." Previous studies from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) have shown that ships emitted levels of CO2 similar to those from the aviation industry. But Intertanko says emissions have risen steeply over the last six years as ships are sailed faster to meet the demands of the planet's growing economy. It said there had also been a general increase in global trade which contributed to the increase in emissions. Ships transport some 90 per cent of goods around the world. The shipping industry is also under pressure to reduce the amount of these other pollutants it produces, such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide and sulphuric acid. - Source

10/22/07 - Daily sex can help to repair sperm, says fertility doctor
A study of men attending a fertility clinic revealed that genetic defects in their sperm fell substantially after going on a programme that required them to engage in sexual activity daily for a week. Fertility doctors commonly advise men trying for a baby to abstain from sexual activity for two to three days, because it boosts the number of sperm they produce. The latest finding suggests that men who have healthy sperm counts but poor quality sperm can improve the genetic material in the cells by engaging in sex more often. Dr Greening, who spoke at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine meeting in Washington yesterday, said: "I'm convinced that ejaculating more frequently, ie daily, improves sperm DNA damage in most men by a decent amount." He believes that the longer sperm are held in the tube that leads from the testicles the more genetic damage they accumulate from free radicals circulating in the body. Allan Pacey, senior andrologist at Sheffield University and secretary of the British Fertility Society, said: "If you ejaculate every day then you're preventing the sperm being in the reproductive tract for too long, so it makes sense that they're less exposed to damage and it's fresher." In 2003 another team of Australian fertility researchers reported that men could reduce their risk of developing prostate cancer by masturbating frequently. The team, at the Cancer Council Victoria in Melbourne, believed that ejaculating prevented the buildup of cancer-causing chemicals in the prostate. - Source

10/22/07 - Criminal Element
Has the Clean Air Act done more to fight crime than any other policy in American history? That is the claim of a new environmental theory of criminal behavior. In the early 1990s, a surge in the number of teenagers threatened a crime wave of unprecedented proportions. But to the surprise of some experts, crime fell steadily instead. Many explanations have been offered in hindsight, including economic growth, the expansion of police forces, the rise of prison populations and the end of the crack epidemic. But no one knows exactly why crime declined so steeply. Jessica Reyes found that the rise and fall of lead-exposure rates seemed to match the arc of violent crime, but with a 20-year lag - just long enough for children exposed to the highest levels of lead in 1973 to reach their most violence-prone years in the early ’90s, when crime rates hit their peak. Such a correlation does not prove that lead had any effect on crime levels. But in an article published this month in the B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy, Reyes uses small variations in the lead content of gasoline from state to state to strengthen her argument. If other possible sources of crime like beer consumption and unemployment had remained constant, she estimates, the switch to unleaded gas alone would have caused the rate of violent crime to fall by more than half over the 1990s. If lead poisoning is a factor in the development of criminal behavior, then countries that didn’t switch to unleaded fuel until the 1980s, like Britain and Australia, should soon see a dip in crime as the last lead-damaged children outgrow their most violent years. - Source

10/22/07 - Taking The Heat Off Inefficient Engines
An incredible 60 percent of the energy that goes into an automotive combustion cycle is lost, primarily to waste heat through the exhaust and radiator system. It's no surprise then that physicists are looking at how to harness this wasted thermal energy and convert it into electricity via thermoelectric devices. Speaking at the NanoTX '07 conference, Clemson University physicist Terry Tritt told attendees that even at the current efficiencies of thermoelectric devices (7 to 8 percent), more than 1.5 billion gallons of diesel could be saved each year in the U.S. if thermoelectric generators were used on the exhausts of heavy trucks. "Thermoelectric energy conversion is a solid-state technology that is environmentally friendly. One of the more promising 'down-to-earth' applications lies in waste-heat recovery in cars." - Source

10/22/07 - Fish Kiss Skin Cleansing
KeelyNet At Dr Fish Spa, customers with dry skin relax in a pool filled with warm water as little Garra Rufa fish numbering in the thousands feed on the dead skin. “The fish, measuring between two and four centimeters each, are nature’s answer to having smooth, clear and rejuvenated skin,” said Dr Fish Spa owner Cecilia Choong. “I had freckles on my face but after allowing Dr Fish to treat me, the freckles turned lighter and are not as visible on my face anymore,” said Choong, adding that the treatment could also lighten skin pigmentation. “The fish even got rid of my corn and cracked heels.” “The fish are toothless and they use their suction power to remove the dead skin. Another customer said “Once I step out of the pool after a one-hour session, I can feel that my skin is lighter and smoother.” - Source

10/22/07 - 22 Natural Ways to Prevent Colds and the Flu
The flu season is just around the corner. And while those flus won’t kill you, they can weaken your immune system to the point that other, more dangerous, germs can take hold in your body. Just think how many times your cold turned into bronchitis or a sinus infection. And given that the average adult suffers two to three colds a year, that’s a lot of opportunities for serious illness - and just as many to prevent one! ... All these are simple ways to help you avoid the flu - but they are not substitutes for medical treatment or advice. Remember that the flu is something that everyone gets once in a while, and there is no 100% guarantee to prevent it. But if you want to decrease your chances of being stuck at home with a pesky flu, use these tips. That doesn’t mean you can’t still call in sick once in a while… - Source

10/22/07 - The music that animals like
New world monkeys such as the marmoset and the cotton-top tamarins dislike music, but if they are forced to hear music, they prefer slow tempos rather than fast ones. Further, when presented with a choice between slow tempo music (say lullabies) and silence, they prefer silence. In contrast humans, when similarly tested, prefer music over silence. Birds like music too. He points out to the work by the Japanese duo S. Watanabe and K. Sato in 1998 and 1999, which showed that some sparrows like music, and prefer music of the classical composer J. S. Bach to that of the modern composer Schoenberg. They prepared a chamber with three perches. One of the end perches had music by Bach playing while the other perch had Schoenberg. Here again the bribe was a few grains of millet and some water. The birds stayed significantly longer on the Bach perch, and retained their preference to other compositions of Bach, and again avoided other pieces of Schoenberg. These results suggest that sparrows have musical preferences. - Source

10/22/07 - Are Boys An Endangered Species?
Half as many boys as girls are being born in some places around the world-and pollution is the prime suspect. Among the Chippewas of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation community living on the shores of the St. Clair River outside Sarnia, Ontario, tribal leaders were puzzling over a variety of health problems-from asthma to cancer to miscarriages-plaguing their families. The Aamjiwnaang-the name means “at the spawning stream”-were shaken when they realized that there was a dramatic disproportion of girls to boys among them. Jim Brophy, director of the Occupational Health Clinic for Ontario Workers’ Sarnia branch, remembers the look of shock on their faces when they suddenly made the connection. “It was like a deep family secret getting out,” Brophy recalls. “They had enough girls for three baseball teams, but not enough boys for even one boy team.” And now, in a number of villages at the northernmost reaches of the Arctic Circle-seemingly remote from any hazardous chemicals-scientists have found a similar syndrome: populations spawning twice as many girls as boys. Based on preliminary data released in September 2007, researchers are blaming high levels of man-made chemicals that have made their way up the food chain, through fish and other marine species, and into indigenous seafood diets. Indigenous Arctic peoples show high levels of chemical contamination, researchers say, because they depend on local fish, marine animals, seabirds and reindeer meat, which are significantly more contaminated than imported food by persistent organic pollutants like PCBs, dioxin and DDT. Also alarming is the decline in male births around the world, a trend some scientists find troubling. In the United States, more boys are being born than girls, but the gap between the two has declined in the last 30 years. - Source

10/20/07 - Above-sea ride sends inventor over the moon
KeelyNet It's neither a plane nor a boat, but the latest invention of Nelson's very own Flying Dutchman has people fascinated. Hira resident Rudy Heeman, a mechanic who has spent the last 11 years building hovercraft in his spare time, has come up with a model that does more than skim the surface. Over the past year, Mr Heeman has built a "wing in ground effect vehicle" - a hovercraft able to fly because of a peculiar set of aerodynamic principles. He said the "hoverwing", which is almost complete, has drawn Atawhai Drive residents out of their houses and motorists out of their cars to watch test flights over the Haven. Mr Heeman said the project had cost tens of thousands of dollars and countless hours of his time. He had built a new workshop, learnt how to become a fibreglass laminator and modified a Subaru car engine to power the vehicle. The hoverwing was an extremely efficient method of transport, and Mr Heeman said the optimum height for it was about 1.5m above the water - he reached 98kmh on his last speed test. Maritime New Zealand spokesman Ross Henderson said a wing in ground effect vehicle was considered to be a maritime craft and fell under maritime law. Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Bill Sommer said the vehicle was not classed as an aircraft because it used an air cushion which relied on water. - Source

10/20/07 - Invention prevents Cancer
Dr. Mark Johnston works at Lancaster Gastroenterology. More than 10 years ago he invented a machine he calls the cyroablater. He built it in his garage but, just recently a handful of hospitals have purchased the technology. It freezes cells in the esophagus that can lead to cancer. It’s used on people with a condition called Barrett's Esophagus, a condition that effects three million Americans. "Barrett's Esophagus has a significantly increased risk of turning into esophageal cancer, which is the fastest growing cancer in the United States," says Dr. Johnston. - Source

10/20/07 - ‘Nanospikes’ Add New Dimension to Microelectronics Research
Through the creation of nano/micro laser texturing and “nanospikes” on the surfaces of semiconductors and metals, Mool C. Gupta, Langley Distinguished Professor in U.Va.’s Charles L. Brown Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is adding a new dimension to these materials’ effectiveness. Gupta, who is also the director of the National Science Foundation’s Laser Industry/University Cooperative Research Center, has long studied the nano- and micro-textures on a variety of materials, such as silicon (Si), germanium (Ge) and metals. This texture, he explains, is like sand on sandpaper - the added hills and valleys make for greatly increased surface area, which, in the case of a Ge or Si photodetector, means greater absorption and reduced reflection of light - but in a more controlled manner. What Gupta has done in creating nanospikes on Ge’s surface is add another, more minute, layer of texture, vastly increasing the surface area and thus effectiveness of the material. Despite their incredibly small size - nanospikes’ tips range from 10-100 millionths of a meter in diameter - these tiny, performance-enhancing nanostructures could have a big impact on many aspects of our everyday lives. “We are now able to successfully texture metals like stainless steel and titanium, one of the more commonly used implant metals for hips or joints,” Gupta says. “As the world’s elderly population grows and as people are living longer, implants like these are much more common. We are working with Dr. Cato Laurencin in U.Va.'s Orthopaedic Surgery Department to see how the cells grow on these laser-textured surfaces - the idea is that if you can have enhanced cell growth and improved osseo-integration, those implants are more likely to be accepted by the body for a long time.” This technology could also be used to help dissipate heat efficiently in computer chips, making computers less likely to overheat when running multiple tasks, and enhance adherence of material surfaces to one another, Gupta adds. - Source

10/20/07 - Can an animal be patented?
KeelyNet While common sense would rail against the idea that an animal could be considered an invention, a mere object like a toothbrush, toaster, or toilet seat, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has been granting patents on animals for over 20 years. The American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS), however, contests the legality of animal patents and recently filed a challenge to Patent No. 6,924,413, issued for rabbits and other animals whose eyes have been purposefully damaged so they can be used to develop treatments for dry eye. Recognizing the merits of our challenge, the USPTO recently decided to open an investigation into the rabbit patent. The USPTO agreed that substantial new questions of patentability were raised. Following a challenge submitted by AAVS in 2004, the USPTO agreed to re-examine a patent issued for beagles who were sickened and then infected with mold. That challenge succeeded when Texas A&M University dropped its claims on the beagles, and AAVS hopes to find additional success with the rabbit patent. In 2002, the Canadian Supreme Court rejected the argument that animals could be patented by finding that mice and other higher life forms were not analogous to patentable subject matter. Because Canadian and U.S. patent laws are similar, AAVS is using this Canadian precedent to argue that the USPTO should not allow the patenting of animals. - Source

10/20/07 - 'Matter Orientation System' to find Maddie
Danie Krugel, the former policeman whose special invention has been used to try to track missing people, visited Portugal in an attempt to find Madeleine. Madeleine, who is now four years old, disappeared while she slept in the room of a hotel complex in Praia da Luz with her younger twins on May 3. Their parents were dining at a restaurant nearby. Krugel's invention featured on Carte Blanche and was used to try to trace what is believed to be the remains of the six school girls who died at the hands of infamous paedophile Gert van Rooyen, back in the 1980s. Krugel - he has been dubbed The Locator - flew to Portugal to assist in the search for Madeleine. He carried out searches at night during his four-day visit to the country so as not to alert the media. Krugel's invention is called a Matter Orientation System and uses a small sample of DNA and "like" material in this case a strand of Madeleine's hair to geographically pinpoint remains. The technology claims it can find missing people, dead or alive but has met with scepticism in scientific and technological circles. While the exact details of how it works remain a closely-guarded secret, a global positioning system is known to help define the search. Krugel offered his expertise to Madeleine's parents, but he was only called in with the knowledge of the Portuguese police two months after she vanished. Krugel tracked a 15-minute forensic route that he believed the kidnapper took. It wound through alleywayss and down to a nearby beach, where the trail went cold, according to Britain's News of the World. Krugel had a proven record of finding people and his methods were extremely credible, while the results matched many other strands of the investigation. Krugel, meanwhile, is back home in Bloemfontein and working with scientists who are testing the invention, he said. - Source

10/20/07 - Inventor Secrets: Cash In On Your Invention, Avoid Scams
Inventing a product is the easy part of the story. "We look at hundreds of ideas on an annual basis," said A.J. Khubani of Telebrands. "We select very few that we actually want to take to market." Khubani may just be the king of invention marketing. He claims his company, Telebrands, has had the most hit products in the history of the infomercial. His advice to new inventors? Don't try to get a patent right away. "The majority of inventions are never commercially successful," said Khubani. "So if an inventor were to go and get a patent for every single one of these inventions, it could end up costing a lot of money -- a huge investment before they actually get some return on that investment." The best advice for any inventor is they should never pay up front. Also, don't go for a full patent right away. Get a provisional patent first -- it costs much less. "Any company that they show it to, to avoid being ripped off -- because there are unscrupulous people there who will steal your idea if it's good -- have everyone sign a non-disclosure agreement, a non-compete agreement, before they show it to anybody," said Khubani. Having a unique product idea is not enough for it to sell. Khubani says it needs to solve a common problem, have broad-based appeal, not be readily available, and -- for television -- it needs to be easy to demonstrate. - Source

10/20/07 - Popular Science Wants Your Inventions!
The very popular Popular Science Magazine is calling for submissions for the next world changing invention... not an invention, as they call it, "born in the R& D labs of universities and corporations," but ones just like most of ours, born while taking a shower or shopping at your local hardware store. Ten inventions will be awarded prizes in a variety of categories, plus there will be a Student Award Category this year, the second year of the PopSci Invention Awards. So, if you've got something on your drawing board that you think will change the world, get it into prototype, and back yourself up with patent applications (an official utility patent would protect you better), trademark, or whatever intellectual property proof you need to substantiate your rights to the invention before you submit. Here are some submission guidelines from Popular Science: # Inventions must be physical objects-no processes or concepts. # There must be a working prototype or something else that demonstrates that the invention actually works. # Inventions must be the work of independent inventors or small teams; outside funding is fine, but inventions created wholly out of universities or other R&D labs will not be considered. # Inventions must be something new, not just an incremental improvement on an existing item. # PopSci will not publish an entry online or in print without notifying the inventor first, but we will seek third-party verification of the technology and significance of the invention. All intellectual-property protection is the responsibility of the entrant. # All entries must be received by Feb 1, 2008. - Source

10/20/07 - Conservation and nuclear power are keys to energy future
KeelyNet Households and offices are a prime source of energy waste. Up to half the energy used for lighting is wasted by obsolete equipment, inadequate maintenance or inefficient use. Lighting improvements are among the most energy efficient steps that have the quickest results and lowest capital costs. Electricity demand would also be reduced if households replaced incandescent lights with compact fluorescent lights, since they need only 25 to 30 percent as much wattage. Although solar and wind energy provide power at times of peak use, they are intermittent sources of electricity that aren't useful when the sun isn't shining or the wind isn't blowing. We need to make greater use of the one proven technology that can make a real difference in the effort to mitigate global warming - nuclear energy. Safe and reliable, nuclear energy has proved itself for over three decades, in the United States and elsewhere. We can't pretend that solar and wind energy is all that will be needed or that some magic invention will bail us out. A combination of conservation and nuclear energy makes the most sense. - Source

10/20/07 - Mechanical 'fish' could tap turbulence for energy
Fish use their bodies to get an energy boost from surrounding vortices, which may be created by other fish in the same shoal, or by stationary objects in the water. But this kind of turbulent flow cannot be used by conventional wind or water turbines, which instead need a steady flow. John Dabiri at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, US, realised that it might be possible for a mechanical system to extract energy from vortex wakes and has developed a mathematical model, based on the way fish move, to help put this into practice. Fish move from side to side in order to exploit the way wakes in flowing water produce vortices that alternately spin clockwise and anticlockwise, as shown in the videos on this page. For a mechanical device to pick up energy from an eddy, Dabiri's model shows that it must also change its angle in a similar way to a fish, to pick up as much energy as possible. "Turbines need wind to get over about 10 metres per second to work," he says. "But we should be able to extract energy all the time. It's like the tortoise and the hare." Over about a year, Dabiri says, the two may harness the same total energy. - Source

10/20/07 - Cold weather really does spread flu
It appears the virus lasts longer in cold, dry air, and our sluggish, cold-weather mucus cannot clear it out. Astonishingly it has taken until the publication of research this week to settle the basic question about how flu spreads, and why it girdles each hemisphere every year during winter. Ironically, that research was made possible by the rediscovery of a report by army doctors in 1919. But in 1919, US Army doctors at Camp Cody in New Mexico reported (Journal of the American Medical Association, vol 72 p1056) that the 1918 flu pandemic had killed their guinea pigs - kept at the time for medical tests. “We didn’t know guinea pigs got flu,” says Palese. They are no longer popular lab animals, and no-one had tried them. So Palese’s team exposed hundreds of guinea pigs to a human flu strain at different temperatures and humidities, in cages that allowed only air to pass from sick animals to well ones. At room temperature, they found flu transmission peaks at low relative humidity (20-35%) and again at 65%. It spread less well at around 50% humidity, and not at all over 80%. This parallels the stability of flu virus in aerosol droplets at different humidities, and also the droplets’ ability to remain airborne. At over 80% humidity, droplets containing flu virus themselves fall out of the air. - Source

10/20/07 - Robot cannon kills 9, wounds 14 in shooting exercise gone wrong
KeelyNet [A]dvanced military weapons are essentially robotic -- picking targets out automatically, slewing into position, and waiting only for a human to pull the trigger. Most of the time. Once in a while, though, these machines start firing mysteriously on their own. The South African National Defence Force "is probing whether a software glitch led to an antiaircraft cannon malfunction that killed nine soldiers and seriously injured 14 others during a shooting exercise on Friday." - Source

10/20/07 - Money Won't Buy Happiness, Enjoy Life in the Middle Class
"Psychologists have spent decades studying the relation between wealth and happiness," writes Harvard University psychologist Daniel Gilbert in his best-selling "Stumbling on Happiness," "and they have generally concluded that wealth increases human happiness when it lifts people out of abject poverty and into the middle class but that it does little to increase happiness thereafter." - Source

10/20/07 - Energy independence vital to national security
The U.S. has become dangerously dependent on foreign and developing transport fuel from agricultural products is in its national security interest, former CIA director James Woolsey said. "The people who produce large amounts (of oil) have a lot of leverage that we don't want them to have," he said. Woolsey said the fact that so much of the oil used by U.S. consumers comes from the Middle East gives some nations in that volatile region an inordinate amount of power. He said a terrorist attack in the right place could cause oil prices to rise as high as $200 a barrel. Light, sweet crude for November delivery settled at $87.40 a barrel Wednesday. The way to break the stranglehold, he said, is to develop alternative fuels. He predicted the main alternatives would be biofuels, such as ethanol and butanol, and electricity in the form of plug-in hybrid vehicles. Woolsey said the government should encourage the continued free-market development of alternative forms of energy, including wind and solar power, and not push any one solution over another. "What we're talking about in the long run is having rural America and farms be able to supply the raw material for not just some of what we do, but a lot of what we do, in both fuels and chemicals." - Source

10/20/07 - Life is harder now, some experts say
Shopping malls are packed every weekend. Restaurants can't open fast enough. Everyone seems to be wearing designer shoes, jackets and jeans and sipping $4 lattes. Credit card commercials constantly advocate splurging and, it seems, U.S. consumers are all too ready to comply. So what's the problem? Why do so many middle class Americans with so much stuff say they feel so squeezed? If they are dogged by debt, isn’t it their own fault? Perhaps, some experts say, things are not as they appear. - Source

10/20/07 - Cross-species transplant is step toward diabetes cure for Humans
With an eye on curing diabetes, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have successfully transplanted embryonic pig pancreatic cells destined to produce insulin into diabetic macaque monkeys - all without the need for risky immune suppression drugs that prevent rejection. - Source

10/18/07 - Artificial Tornado in German Museum to Save Lives
KeelyNet An artificial tornado in Germany's Mercedes-Benz Museum was recognized Monday by the Guinness Book of Records as the world's tallest man-made twister. The air swirl, created by air jets in the multi-storey gallery of the remarkable spiral building, does no harm. In fact it was installed to save lives if fire ever breaks out. Testers from Guinness, a British-based publisher, confirmed the museum's tornado was 34.43 metres high. The 144 jets take seven minutes to get the 28 tons of air moving at top speed, creating a low-pressure column at the "eye" of the circulation to suck in smoke and carry it up to vents in the roof. The purpose is to stop suffocating smoke spreading into exhibition areas if fire ever breaks out. Museum chief executive Michael Bock said the system was unique worldwide and was specially designed for the building. Carbon dioxide vapor fed into the tornado to make it visible shows it as a twisting column about 40 centimetres wide. - Source

10/18/07 - Video - Most Astonishing Health Disaster of the 20th Century
(Thanks to Paul Carlson for this headsup. - JWD) For over 100 years conventional medicine has seized control of the US health care system and as a result we have over 800,000 people who are killed by interacting with this system. It is likely that over 50 million Americans have died prematurely from this abuse. Source

10/18/07 - Heat reflective paint for commercial roofs from Solar Cool
KeelyNet The earth’s atmosphere is designed to perform as a natural greenhouse, sustaining just the right level of vital gases and heat to sustain life. Stated simply, the problem comes from our excessive production of gases that upset the natural greenhouse balance. It makes sense then to utilise every method at our disposal to reduce energy demand and to cut back in every way possible on contributing further to harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Sydney roofing company, Solar Cool, go a step further on the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) comment by providing a solution. For the last 10 years Solar Cool have been applying Insultec heat reflective paint to commercial roofs, achieving outstanding reductions in air conditioning usage. Solar Cool’s Insultec is a unique Australian invention that repels 85% of ultraviolet and 90% of infra red light, and effectively stops the transfer of radiant heat through the treated surface. By applying Insultec, reductions in internal temperatures by as much as 200C have been recorded. Numerous Australian companies have harnessed the insulation properties of Insultec heat reflective membrane to slash their need for air conditioning, such as the Bureau of Meteorology who reduced air conditioning usage by 50% in their Queensland base at Charleville and L & J Robinson of Alice Springs who cut 4 hours per day off their air conditioning use. - Source

10/18/07 - Effort On To Make Electricity Efficient
80% Of Home Light Is Inefficient. For most of us, the campaign to reduce greenhouse gases will eventually have to involve more than driving a hybrid car. The drive to discover new methods of conservation is on, which may become as simple as flicking a switch. In an era when we quantify the outputs of carbon footprints, wind power, solar arrays, and miles per gallon, have you ever heard of lumens? "Typically in California, eighty percent of our homes use very inefficient light sources," said Siminovitch. "I would say that any particular time we have 20 or 30 emerging technologies," said Siminovitch. For instance, lights that sense your presence, shining brightly only when needed, and then shutting back down to reduce power. A chip responds to the grid and modulates power when needed. Let's say it's a hot day, with threats of brown outs. This chip automatically reduces power by fifteen percent, so instead of brown outs, you get dim outs. Imagine a light that doesn't need electricity at all. To see this one, Siminovitch took us to the roof, where a parabolic reflector captures and then focuses rays from the sun. - Source

10/18/07 - Manhood Attack Ad "Very Successful"
KeelyNet The TV ads show women shaking their little finger - a gesture used to symbolise a small penis - as speeding male motorists race past. In a government-commissioned survey, about 60% of young men said the ad had made them ponder their driving habits. The ads have attracted complaints of sexism since they began in June. But New South Wales (NSW) Roads Minister Eric Roozendaal said a few dented egos was a small price to pay if the adds help save a life. "Wiggling your pinkie has cut through to that crucial age group of young drivers - they're using it as a way to slow their mates down and stop them acting recklessly on our roads," he told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper. The A$1.9m (£805,000) campaign "Speeding. No-one thinks big of you" has been running on TV, in cinemas, at bus shelters and online since June. The NSW Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) said it introduced the campaign because the shock tactics of previous adverts, showing disturbing images of death and injury in road crashes, had not worked. The new ads included one young driver revving his engine and rushing through traffic lights in front of two young women and another racing past a female pedestrian. After both incidents the women wave their little fingers in slow motion with knowing glances. Speeding is a factor in about 40% of road deaths in NSW each year, according to RTA figures. - Source

10/18/07 - Smart windows could make air conditioning superfluous
The ultra-thin plastic foils, which can be applied to glass or used as laminates between layers of glass, can vary their degree of transparency, thereby automatically regulating the amount of light and heat radiation that passes through them. When the foils are used in buildings or vehicles, the need for air conditioning is kept to a minimum. The new investment will provide ChromonGenics with the capacity to manufacture large volumes of its foil based technology at competitive prices. The application of the technology will provide these sectors with a cost effective solution to the growing requirements for energy consumption reduction and the need for greener and more energy efficient buildings and vehicles. The technology creates new ways of using windows. In buildings it can help reduce energy consumption in them by up to 50%. Estimates from the International Energy Agency show that 'smart' windows, can radically curtail the cooling needs of buildings and may even make air conditioning superfluous. Buildings alone use 40% of the energy consumed in the European Union. The marketplace for ChromoGenics technology, which is also applicable to other non window application areas, such as auto-dimming rear-view mirrors, is estimated to be worth $20 billion by 2017. - Source

10/18/07 - DIY coil winding machine
KeelyNet This will probably be more useful to custom speaker builders, but coil winding has always been a bit tedious. [iwicom] put together a simple coil winder using a hand drill, a magnet, a reed switch that triggers a pedometer. Aside from the coil winder, I love the idea of using the pedometer as a cheap event counter. / Comment #6 - Having built a lot of coil winders, I find it much easier to do this using power: drill a hole about 5" in from the end of a mandrel, put a couple of 3/8" sealed bearings (like from newer bicycle hubs: they can be thrashed) on the mandrel, clamp the bearings in the vice, and put a power drill on the one end of the rod. Stick a piece of wire through the hole and spin it up. You can use a pedometer or a rotation-counter. It's way faster and easier on your wrists than using a hand drill, and after the first million windings, your wrists will thank you. Wear a glove on the hand guiding the wire onto the winding: if you get any skin caught between the wire going onto the winding and the winding itself it'll just clip that chunk of skin right off and that leaves a big nasty hole. - Source

10/18/07 - Acupuncture Reduces Pain, Need For Opioids After Surgery
Using acupuncture before and during surgery significantly reduces the level of pain and the amount of potent painkillers needed by patients after the surgery is over, according to anesthesiologists who combined data from 15 small randomized acupuncture clinical trials. - Source

10/18/07 - HOWTO wash your hands and beat the flu
KeelyNet Wash your hands before and after preparing food, after using the toilet, and any time they are grossly contaminated. (In between, use pump-action alcohol-based hand-sanitizer.) The single best way to prevent the flu is to wash your hands. But not everyone knows how to do it. Here's how: 1) Turn on the water and get it to a temperature you like. 2) Lather up using soap. (Soap does not kill germs. A bar of soap is a great medium for growing germs. The surfactant action of soap helps the running water flush the germs away. That's how it works. It's purely mechanical. Antibacterial soap is a waste of time and money, and just helps breed antibiotic-resistant bugs.) 3) Rub your hands vigorously together, paying special attention to the fingernails, getting up onto the wrists, for as long as it takes you to sing one stanza of The Star Spangled Banner or two verses of Little Mattie Groves. 4) Rinse off the soap with the running water. 5) Dry your hands with a paper towel. 6) Use the expended paper towel to turn off the water. - Source

10/18/07 - Renewable energy sources require more power lines
The watchdog that oversees North America's power grid says the full promise of renewable fuels cannot be harnessed without first building more power lines that can carry this cleaner energy to consumers. In an annual report, the North American Electric Reliability Corp. of Princeton, N.J., said increasingly popular state government rules requiring a certain percentage of electricity to be from renewable sources will require massive investments in transmission capacity. Even without an increase in the country's dependence on renewables, the grid watchdog said electricity use is growing twice as fast as the resources used to generate and transmit it, and that power companies will need significantly more transmission capacity to ensure high levels of service reliability. Although Sergel's group would not provide a cost estimate for meeting this goal, the utility industry expects to spend $38.1 billion on transmission projects between this year and 2010, compared with $37.8 billion spent since 2000. (The future is onsite power generation, no more grids. - JWD) - Source

10/18/07 - Fixing the Power Grid
KeelyNet Big batteries will fight blackouts and could make renewable power economically viable. Large-scale power storage is crucial to our energy future: the Electric Power Research Institute, the U.S. utility industry's leading R&D consortium, says that storage would enable the widespread use of renewable power and make the grid more reliable and efficient. The AEP system uses a sodium-sulfur battery about the size of a double-decker bus (see below), plus power electronics to manage the flow of AC power in and out of the DC battery. Though new to the United States, the system has been used at the megawatt scale in Japan since the early 1990s; the battery was produced by NGK Insulators of Nagoya, Japan. - Source

10/18/07 - Computer Software to Predict the Unpredictable
"Professor Jerzy Rozenblit at the University of Arizona was awarded $2.2Million to develop software to predict the unpredictable - specifically relating to volatile political and military situations." "The software will predict the actions of paramilitary groups, ethnic factions, terrorists and criminal groups, while aiding commanders in devising strategies for stabilizing areas before, during and after conflicts. It also will have many civilian applications in finance, law enforcement, epidemiology and the aftermath of natural disasters, such as hurricane Katrina." - Source

10/18/07 - Africans are less intelligent than Westerners, says DNA pioneer
KeelyNet Celebrated scientist attacked for race comments: "All our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours - whereas all the testing says not really" One of the world's most eminent scientists was embroiled in an extraordinary row last night after he claimed that black people were less intelligent than white people and the idea that "equal powers of reason" were shared across racial groups was a delusion. James Watson, a Nobel Prize winner for his part in the unravelling of DNA who now runs one of America's leading scientific research institutions, drew widespread condemnation for comments he made ahead of his arrival in Britain today for a speaking tour at venues including the Science Museum in London. The 79-year-old geneticist reopened the explosive debate about race and science in a newspaper interview in which he said Western policies towards African countries were wrongly based on an assumption that black people were as clever as their white counterparts when "testing" suggested the contrary. He claimed genes responsible for creating differences in human intelligence could be found within a decade. The furore echoes the controversy created in the 1990s by The Bell Curve, a book co-authored by the American political scientist Charles Murray, which suggested differences in IQ were genetic and discussed the implications of a racial divide in intelligence. The work was heavily criticised across the world, in particular by leading scientists who described it as a work of " scientific racism". He has also suggested a link between skin colour and sex drive, positing the theory that black people have higher libidos, and argued in favour of genetic screening and engineering on the basis that " stupidity" could one day be cured. He has claimed that beauty could be genetically manufactured, saying: "People say it would be terrible if we made all girls pretty. I think it would great." - Source / Updated 10/18/07 - Scientist 'mortified' - "To all those who have drawn the inference from my words that Africa, as a continent, is somehow genetically inferior, I can only apologise unreservedly. That is not what I meant. More importantly from my point of view, there is no scientific basis for such a belief." "The overwhelming desire of society today is to assume that equal powers of reason are a universal heritage of humanity. "It may well be. But simply wanting this to be the case is not enough. This is not science. To question this is not to give in to racism. "This is not a discussion about superiority or inferiority, it is about seeking to understand differences, about why some of us are great musicians and others great engineers." - Source

10/18/07 - Video - John the Revelator
Funny takeoff of a song by Dupeche Mode, making comments about W. - Source

10/16/07 - Power your Home with Lightning
KeelyNet Illinois-based inventor Steve Le Roy has developed a device that intentionally generates lightning in order to harvest energy from the electrical discharge produced. As mentioned in this month’s Business Week’s Green Tech forum, Le Roy took his cues from a coiled transformer created by Nikola Tesla at the turn of the century. Each small three-foot bolt generates enough electricity to illuminate a 60-watt light bulb for 20 minutes. But a full-scale system, LeRoy believes, could power 30,000 homes for a day with just one lightning bolt. Given that the average Midwest thunderstorm releases enough electrical energy to power the entire U.S. for 20 minutes, who knows what the potential is for the harvesting of lightning fields and arrays of bolt conductors. - Source

10/16/07 - Invention Secrecy Up Slightly in 2007
At the end of Fiscal Year 2007, there were a total of 5,002 invention secrecy orders in effect under the Invention Secrecy Act of 1951, up from 4,942 the year before. U.S. government agencies imposed secrecy orders on 53 patent applications filed by private inventors in FY 2007, prohibiting their disclosure or export, according to statistics obtained by Secrecy News this week from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The so-called "John Doe" secrecy orders imposed on private inventors are a constitutional anomaly since they appear to infringe on private speech. But their constitutionality has never been successfully challenged in court. - Source

10/16/07 - Mark's Motor/EcoNouveau fashion
KeelyNet In today's episode of Boing Boing tv: Mad Professor Mark Frauenfelder shows us how to make a motor with simple materials. A perfect office time-waster! And Xeni Jardin interviews Bahar Shahpar, a designer participating in the EcoNouveau project who makes chic, environmentally-friendly clothing. - Source

10/16/07 - U.S. Slaps ‘Secret’ Tag on Private Patents
Federal agencies imposed "John Doe" gag orders on 53 new patent applications in fiscal 2007, bringing the total to 5,002, according to documents acquired by a government secrecy tracker. Controls ranging from export restrictions to requirements for secure storage to curbs on even acknowledging the inventions exist were placed on the creators. “It’s a fascinating side alley where technology intersects with policy and national security,” said Steven Aftergood, who directs the Project on Government Secrecy for the Washington-based Federation of American Scientists. For inventors and any venture capital backers, the secrecy orders may not be entirely bad news, he said. “In many cases involving national security-related inventions, the government is their main or only customer anyway, so the secrecy order doesn't bother them too much,” said Mr. Aftergood, who responded to questions via e-mail and telephone. A declassified 1971 memo obtained by the FAS from the Armed Services Patent Advisory Board gives an inkling of the types of patents Washington would like to keep under wraps. A 26-page list includes items with obvious military applications like torpedo-propulsion systems, radiological warfare devices, and noise devices used in psychological warfare. Since that last was drawn up, however, some of the items, such as “computer-generated map image hardware and software” have moved into the civilian marketplace. A more recent list of patent secrecy categories remains under wraps, Mr. Aftergood said. The Armed Services Patent Advisory Board was terminated in 1997, but its functions were shifted to the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. Mr. Aftergood said little is known about how the secrecy orders, required under the Invention Secrecy Act of 1951, are applied. “Almost by definition, inventors or companies don't publicize the fact that they are under a secrecy order,” he said. Still, gag orders may not harm inventors and venture capital backers economically. - Source

10/16/07 - Scientist's Laser Engine May Revolutionize Space Travel
KeelyNet Last December, Dr. Young Bae unveiled a unique invention: the Photonic Laser Thruster (PLT) with an amplification factor of 3,000 in December, 2006. The engine promised to provide a novel new means of transportation in space. Word spread fast and before long Dr. Bae had visitors from some of aerospace's strongest organizations--NASA JPL, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), and AFRL (Air Force Research Laboratory) --among others. In the past, photons thrusters have been relegated to science fiction as they were considered too unpractical for modern space flight. While such a device would have the advantage of nearly constant thrust, unlike a fuel rocket, photons have no mass so it could take years to equal the speed of traditional propulsion techniques. Part of the Photonic Laser Thrust's secret lies in amplifying and bouncing the photon beam. The photon beam is bounced back and forth between a set of mirrors, creating a powerful net propulsion force. Dr. Bae Young built the PLT using off the shelf components at the Southern California laboratory of the Bae Institute. The patent pending device uses an egg-size laser head to produce a laser so powerful, only massive weapons and commercial grade lasers are able to match it. The laser generates 35 uN of thrust and is scalable to much larger amounts of propulsion. Dr. Young Bae has stated that the device could propel a spacecraft to speeds well beyond 100 km/sec. He recently announced that a spacecraft utilizing the PLT could transit the 100 million km to Mars in less than a week. Aside from being used as propulsion, the device could be used to control a group of objects in space to carefully fly together in formation--think something like an Air Force jet squadron. - Source

10/16/07 - Cancer Vaccine Company on Verge of Breakthrough
Brian Lowe is chief operating officer of ImmunoVaccine Technologies Inc., a Halifax company whose single-dose VacciMax provides long-term protection with no significant side effects and requires no booster shot. Scientists initially injected the mice with cancer cells, which formed huge tumours and made them very ill. Within 14 days of receiving the vaccine, each one became tumour-free and perfectly healthy. The mice were re-injected and no new tumours formed. The trials were repeated three times with the same results. - Source

10/16/07 - Microsoft's "mind reading" patent
KeelyNet Filed on August 9, 2007, the patent application, #20070185697, describes a method of classifying EEG data in a way that separates the wheat from the chaff. From the patent application: When studying how humans interact with computing devices, it is desirable to be able to determine the effectiveness of a computer-user interface, i.e., a user interface. A traditional way of determining the effectiveness of a user interface is to present a computer user, i.e., a user, with a task, observe the user as he or she operates the user interface to complete the task, and ask the user questions before, during, and/or after the task is performed. The observed behavior and answers to the questions are characterized and quantified. The quantified results are analyzed to determine the effectiveness of the user interface. Cognitive neuroscience techniques can be used to provide a more direct way to determine the effectiveness of user interfaces. A typical cognitive neuroscience technique involves attaching electrical sensors, ie., sensors, to various points on a user's scalp. The sensors are then connected to an electroencephalograph (EEG). One use of an EEG is to sense electrical changes within the brain that correspond to certain brain states. It is possible to determine the effectiveness of a user interface by analyzing a user's brain states before, during, and/or after a user performs a task using the user interface. - Source

10/16/07 - Hens Respond To Classic Music
Farming officials said they believe listening to radio station Classic FM helps birds relax and increase the number of eggs they lay. Gloucester farmer Charles Bourns, Poultry Board Chairman of the National Farmers Union said he saw a huge rise in production after playing classical music to his chickens. "I have tried pop music, but it is too changeable, with lots of talking - the birds prefer Classic FM, much to my children's disgust", he told Farmer's Weekly magazine. He plays classical music 24 hours a day to his birds and as well as increasing productivity he believes helps the birds growth rate. - Source

10/16/07 - History of religion in 90 seconds
KeelyNetHow has the geography of religion evolved over the centuries, and where has it sparked wars? Our map gives us a brief history of the world's most well-known religions: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism. Selected periods of inter-religious bloodshed are also highlighted. Want to see 5,000 years of religion in 90 seconds? Ready, Set, Go! - Source

10/16/07 - New Plastic to Cut CO2 Emissions and Purify Water
"Researchers have lots of imagination. After developing plastic as solid as steel, other scientists from in Australia, Korea and in the U.S. have created a plastic which could cut CO2 emissions and purify water. Their new material mimics pores found in plants and is exceptionally efficient. As said one of the lead researchers, 'it can separate carbon dioxide from natural gas a few hundred times faster than current plastic membranes and its performance is four times better in terms of purity of the separated gas.' Now it remains to be seen if commercial companies are interested, either for water desalination or for natural gas processing plants." - Source

10/16/07 - Reconfigurable Open-Source Hardware
KeelyNet The Bugbase will let people design their own consumer electronics. Users choose modules with different functionality--say, a camera module, a GPS receiver, and a motion sensor--and snap them into the base. They can then use the company’s software-development environment to download or write applications that control the modules. CEO Peter Semmelhack explains that the foundation of the device is the Bugbase, a minicomputer running Linux that users can program. It has ports for up to four device modules, which snap in and out of place. Among the first modules the company expects to offer will be a GPS system, a camera, a motion sensor, and an LCD screen. But it also plans to offer new modules at a rate of about four per quarter, and it's encouraging other manufacturers to follow suit. Users of the Bug can put modules together as they see fit and then write or download code to make them operate as required. They are then free to share designs and programs with other users. The Bugbase will be about the size of an iPhone, and its modules will be about two and a half square inches. Semmelhack says that the product will be truly open source: not only will source code for the software interface be freely available, but so will device schematics. - Source

10/16/07 - Why Global Warming and Peak Oil are Irrelevant
Peak Oil is a “distraction” and global warming? Well, global warming will take care of itself. It’s the bottom line, stupid. Amory Lovins makes these arguments, (without actually calling you stupid, and with a breathtaking whirlwind of statistics that he has - miraculously - cached in his brain) in the course of explaining why the energy source of the future is clean and limitless. Because it’s no energy at all. If oil runs out next year, or in the next decade, that will matter less than the rise of competitive sources of energy in the marketplace. Petroleum will go the way of whale oil, which in 1850 was the world’s fifth largest industry, Lovins said. That powerful industry lasted precisely until coal-based oils provided a cheaper alternative to the common lighting fuel. You don’t hear much about whale oil anymore. “Whalers were astounded,” Lovins said, “when they ran out of customers before they ran out of whales.” He sees the same irrelevance in global warming, at least as a catalyst to inspire a change in the fuels burned by the world’s economic engine. He sees efforts to persuade federal governments and international bodies to set limits on carbon dioxide as misguided. - Source

10/16/07 - It's ALL about the Oil, stupid
KeelyNet We ain't going nowhere! - It has been estimated, by the Council on Foreign Relations, that Iraq may have a further 220 billion barrels of undiscovered oil; another study puts the figure at 300 billion. If these estimates are anywhere close to the mark, US forces are now sitting on one quarter of the world’s oil resources. The value of Iraqi oil, largely light crude with low production costs, would be of the order of $30 trillion at today’s prices. For purposes of comparison, the projected total cost of the US invasion/occupation is around $1 trillion. Who will get Iraq’s oil? One of the Bush administration’s ‘benchmarks’ for the Iraqi government is the passage of a law to distribute oil revenues. The draft law that the US has written for the Iraqi congress would cede nearly all the oil to Western companies. - Source

10/16/07 - Study raises notion of 'printing' tissue, and one day organs
The inkjet printer may appear to be an unlikely solution to the organ donor shortage problem, but it might not be as far-fetched as it sounds. Scientists have already used inkjet printers to "print" bacteria, yeast and even human stem cells and they are exploring how to use the office workhorse to create 3D cell structures in a tissue matrix. - Source

10/16/07 - Vision-inducing drug makes new inroads in Peru
KeelyNet A powerful hallucinogenic vine, long revered by Amazon Indians as a tool for peering deep into the psyche, is drawing interest from urban Peruvians and enticing foreign visitors to Peru. Known as the "vine of souls" in the Quechua language of the ancient Inca empire, ayahuasca contains dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a chemical resembling the structure of psilocybin in psychedelic mushrooms. Banned in the United States but legal in Peru, ayahuasca increasingly draws foreigners and has grown into a million dollar business. It is also seeping into Peru's medical mainstream as a handful of psychologists and doctors tout its therapeutic benefits. (There is a movie here called 'Memorias' about DMT, an excellent film. Check out this interesting file. There is also a legal hallucinogen called 'Salva Divinia', prohibited only in Australia. It also induces visions. My interest is in the possibility of communicating with intelligences in other realms and possibly bringing back useful information. - JWD) - Source

10/16/07 - uClue: Paid answer/research service
Uclue is a professional, fast, and inexpensive research service. How does it work? Post a question, and set the fee that you are willing to pay for an answer. The team of Uclue researchers will look it over, and one of them will likely 'lock' it, and get to work on an answer. If a researcher needs more information, or if the fee isn't quite right for the amount of work involved, the researcher will post a Clarification Request, and you will be notified by email that your input is being sought. - Source

10/16/07 - 50 Fun Facts About Credit Cards
KeelyNet I was a little bored one day and thought I’d try to find fifty fun facts about credit cards that I didn’t know before hand and put them all in once place for you all to munch on and enjoy over the weekend. I broke the fun facts into these general categories: Historical Nuggets (with subcategories for each major card company), Useful Things That Make You Go Hmmmm…, Technobabbliciousness, Legal Ways You’ve Been Hosed & Un-Hosed, and Department of Holy Crap They Make A Ton of $$$$$. Historical Nuggets obviously covers the history of cards and the various companies. The Useful Things That Make You Go Hmmmm… covers some useful consumer information that may one day come in handy in your daily life. Technobabbliciousness covers some interesting facts about the technology behind credit cards. Legal Ways You’ve Been Hosed & Un-Hosed covers various court rulings and other legalese that explain why the environment is the way it is (like ridiculous fees and interest rates!). Finally, Department of Holy Crap They Make A Ton of $$$$$ is just a collection of mind-boggling statistics that should make you think twice about starting your own credit card company. - Source

10/16/07 - Spacecraft Tests Ion Engine
NASA's Dawn spacecraft successfully completed the first test of its ion propulsion system over the weekend. The system is vital to the success of Dawn's 8-year, 4.9 billion-kilometer (3-billion-mile) journey to asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres. "We evaluated the engine's capabilities at five different throttle levels," said Jon Brophy, the Dawn project's ion propulsion manager at JPL. "From flight idle through full throttle, the engine performed flawlessly." Dawn's ion engines are extremely frugal powerhouses. The 27 hours of thrusting from the ion engine resulted in the consumption of less than .28 kilograms (10 ounces) of the spacecraft's xenon fuel supply -- less than the contents of a can of soda. Dawn's fuel tank carries 425 kilograms (937 pounds) of xenon propellant. Over their lifetime, Dawn's three ion propulsion engines will fire cumulatively for about 50,000 hours (over five years) -- a record for spacecraft. - Source

10/14/07 - Video - Where do Shooting Stars come from?
KeelyNet Have you ever wondered what shooting stars are or where they come from? The answer is here! Video



10/14/07 - Video - You're STILL gonna DIE!
KeelyNet If you haven't heard this yet, for sure check it out, so true, so enjoy life while you are here! Video



10/14/07 - New-School 'Aether' May Shed Light on Neutron Stars
Among scientists, it is widely believed that there is no such thing as an aether - a medium pervading all space that allows light waves to propagate, similar to how sound needs air or water - but a part of its spirit may live on. A group of University of Maryland (UM) physicists have proposed a modern spin on the aether of old and have used it to make new predictions about the behavior of neutron stars. Physicists once thought light waves propagated in a special medium, the “luminiferous aether.” This implied that the speed of light would depend on the reference frame of the observer, but experiments performed at the turn of the 20th century established that light in a vacuum always travels at the same speed, independent of the reference frame. Maxwell's electromagnetic theory of light, together with Einstein's discovery of special relativity, provided the explanation: there is no such aether, and all reference frames are equivalent. The UM researchers - Christopher Eling, Ted Jacobson, and Coleman Miller - describe their aether as a preferred state of rest at each point of spacetime. This preferred state would not be the result of something known, such as a gravitational field or cosmic background radiation, but may, they say, arise from the structure of empty space in quantum gravity theory. The new aether violates Lorentz symmetry, the principle stating that the laws of physics must have the same form no matter the reference frame. In other words, if a person drops a ball while standing in their house, in a moving train, or in a rocket shooting through space, the laws of physics describing the ball's motion are the same within each frame. This concept is one of the foundations of special relativity. - Source

10/14/07 - Department of Energy Turns 30, But There’s Little to Celebrate
KeelyNetThis week, the Department of Energy (DOE) is celebrating its 30th anniversary. I hope they hold it down. There is not much to cheer about. When creation of the department was first bruited, the United States was importing 30 percent of its oil needs. Now it imports 60 percent. Keep the champagne on ice. Over the course of its history, DOE has spent hundreds of billions of dollars with little to show for it. If, as President Jimmy Carter envisioned upon creating the department, it was supposed to improve energy supplies, it has failed absolutely. I believe, but do not know, that DOE has succeeded in the stewardship and renewal of the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile. While the genius of the national labs is uncontested, so is the duplication of their effort and their own bulwarks against reform. Do we need so many of them? Is something learned by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, studying hybrid vehicles, when they are being studied in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, at the National Transportation Laboratory? And why is government investing in technologies that are established in the market? - Source

10/14/07 - Gas-saving invention sparks memories
(See 10/08/07 KeelyNet post. - JWD) - A story published by the Sun last week about a 48-year-old Port Charlotte man's invention that he claims allows cars to get as much as 400 miles per gallon didn't seem all that astonishing to 78-year-old North Port retiree Peter Simmons. In fact, it brought back fond memories. After reading the story, Simmons, a retired electronic instrumentation engineer, contacted the Sun to reminisce about the early days in his distinguished career, in which he worked to reinvent a vapor carburetor similar to the Port Charlotte man's device. “I'm quite sure it got 120 to 150 miles per gallon,” Simmons recalled. “Those numbers I remember. They're cast in concrete in my brain, because every time we got up to 145 mpg or better, we'd say, 'Gee whiz!'” The article was about John Weston, who invented the Air Vapor Flow System. The invention consists of a tank mounted under the hood of a car that vaporizes gasoline by agitation. The car runs on fumes drawn from above the level of liquid gasoline in the tank. Simmons said he and Lewelling began tinkering with the goal of creating what they dubbed the “Pogue type 2” carburetor. It was based on the concept of the Pogue carburetor, invented by Canadian Charles Nelson Pogue in 1927. It used a radiator-like device to heat the gasoline. An article about the Pogue carburetor in the May 1936 edition of the Canadian Automotive Trade magazine carried the headline: “Prominent automotive men convinced over 200 mpg possible.” “Really, I was the guy who handed the spanners (wrenches) to Lewelling, and offered suggestions,” Simmons quipped. Simmons said they carefully measured the mileage they achieved and he's convinced it reached as high as 150 mpg. The results were tempered by two caveats: it ran only on “white gasoline,” a pure form of gasoline which was not readily available except to the military, and the mileage was based on imperial gallons, which are one-sixth bigger than U.S. gallons. / Vapor methods and details are described in the $15 downloadable eBook 14 Ways to Save Money on Fuel Costs / - Source

10/14/07 - Cell-squirting needles could 'weave' new organs
KeelyNet The most advanced form of bioprinting borrows technology from the office. A solution of cells dubbed "bioink" is used in standard inkjet printing heads to make layers of cells on the microscale. But the technique gives a limited degree of precision, says Suwan Jayasinghe at University College London. "The drops that come out of the inkjet printer needle are generally around twice the needle diameter," he says. "The printers use a 60-micrometre needle, so the droplets are at least 100 µm in diameter." Those needles can also damage larger cells, Jayasinghe continues. "Some cells, like neonatal cardiomyocites - baby heart cells - can be 100 µm across," he says. Squeezing them through an inkjet needle can make them rupture and die. Jayasinghe is developing an alternative approach, called Pressure Assisted Spinning. Three needles nested inside one another separately deliver cells, a viscous polymer and pressurised air. The cells and polymer mix are drawn out and mixed by the pressurised air, explains Jayasinghe. "Imagine standing next to a motorway with fast moving cars," he says. "The cars create an air pressure that would pull you along." Because the polymer is viscous, it does not break up into droplets but flows out in a continuous stream of sticky thread like spider silk. Living cells are spaced along the 50-nanometre-wide thread's length. Cells are handled gently because they are delivered by a relatively wide needle - the thread is shaped by air pressure, not mechanical force. Scanning the needle across a surface can build up a flat sheet of the material (see image, right), doing that over a 3D shape can produce a scaffold of cells ready to grow into any shape, for example, a particular bone or piece of tissue. Jayasinghe thinks sheets of the material might be useful externally as bandages. - Source

10/14/07 - Solar Cells Crystallized Out of Molten Silicon
Digital World Tokyo reports on a more efficient process for manufacturing solar cells. It involves dropping molten silicon from a height of 14 m; surface tension causes tiny spheres 1 mm in diameter to form; the silicon crystallizes in the 1.5 seconds of free-fall. The spheres can be mounted on surfaces of any shape. They capture light from many directions, increasing their solar efficiency. Kyosemi is the company behind the Sphelar technology. Some of the pages on this site date to 2003 and the status of most listed Sphelar products is either "under development" or "engineering sample is available." - Source

10/14/07 - 'Electromagnetic Wormhole' Possible, Say Mathematicians
KeelyNet The team of mathematicians that first created the mathematics behind the "invisibility cloak" announced by physicists last October has now shown that the same technology could be used to generate an "electromagnetic wormhole." "Imagine wrapping Harry Potter's invisibility cloak around a tube," says Greenleaf. "If the material is designed according to our specifications, you could pass an object into one end, watch it disappear as it traveled the length of the tunnel, and then see it reappear out the other end." Current technology can create objects invisible only to microwave radiation, but the mathematical theory allows for the wormhole effect for electromagnetic waves of all frequencies. To create cloaking technology, Greenleaf and his collaborators use theoretical mathematics to design a device to guide the electromagnetic waves in a useful way. Researchers could then use these blueprints to create layers of specially engineered, light-bending, composite materials called metamaterials. Last year, David R. Smith, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Duke's Pratt School, and his coauthors engineered an invisibility device as a disk, which allowed microwaves to pass around it. Greenleaf and his coauthors have now employed more elaborate geometry to specify exactly what properties are demanded of a wormhole's metamaterial in order to create the "invisible tunnel" effect. They also calculated what additional optical effects would occur if the inside of the wormhole was coated with a variety of hypothetical metamaterials. Assuming that your vision was limited to the few frequencies at which the wormhole operates, looking in one end, you'd see a distorted view out the other end, according the simulations by Greenleaf and his coauthors. Depending on the length of the tube and how often the light bounced around inside, you might see just a fisheye view out the other end, or you might see an Escher-like jumble. Greenleaf and his coauthors speculated on one use of the electromagnetic wormhole that sounds like something out of science fiction. If the metamaterials making up the tube were able to bend all wavelengths of visible light, they could be used to make a 3D television display. Imagine thousands of thin wormholes sticking up out of a box like a tuft of long grass in a vase. The wormholes themselves would be invisible, but their ends could transmit light carried up from below. It would be as if thousands of pixels were simply floating in the air. - Source

10/14/07 - Go nuclear for a third industrial revolution, says EC
We are on the brink of the "third industrial revolution", according to José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission - who believes it means nations may have to embrace nuclear power. However, not all of Europe shares his view. At a separate nuclear energy conference in Vienna last week, environment ministers from Austria, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Norway and Italy declared that global growth in nuclear power would severely increase the risks of nuclear proliferation. "Some European countries are almost religiously opposed to nuclear power," says Hans-Holger Rogner of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. - Source

10/14/07 - Real Flying Saucer Eyed by Defense Dept.
KeelyNet The disc-shaped device can take off vertically from any surface, land practically anywhere, and if it accidentally contacts a building or cliff, it won't explode into a fireball, like those rascally helicopters. These features could make the aircraft uniquely suited to flying in urban war zones, aiding with search and rescue in disaster areas, inspecting crops and pipelines, and taking aerial photographs (read: surveillance). You can take it down to a foot in diameter and we are told it is fully scaleable up to a large-sized craft," said David Steel, director of GFS Projects in Peterborough, England. "GFS" stands for Geoff's Flying Saucer, after Geoff Hatton, the engineer and inventor who originally conceived of the idea. Although flying saucers are a favorite among extra terrestrials, Earthbound engineers have had a more difficult time getting the vehicles off the ground. Some designs will hover, but they can't move up or down to navigate over a hill or building, for example. Other designs do not lend themselves to maneuverability or steering. Hatton's design accomplishes both. The vehicle looks something like an upside-down bowl with a propeller on top. When the propeller spins, air gets pushed down over the outer surface of the bowl. That action creates lower air pressure on top of the craft and higher air pressure below, giving the vehicle lift. Air flaps around the edge of the saucer to prevent it from spinning like a top and allow the controller to steer it. According to Steel, the saucer is more stable and easier to fly than a helicopter and because it has fewer moving parts than a helicopter, it's easier to build and maintain. - Source

10/14/07 - How to Dump Outlook -- And Your Bloated Phone
Until this week, my setup was pretty typical. I used Microsoft Outlook for e-mail, calendar, contacts, to-do lists and notes, which I synced with my smart phone. New phones, new online calendaring and contact solutions, and new ideas have been tantalizingly close to improving upon the old Outlook and smart phone combination. But I just couldn't figure out how to take advantage of all the new goodies, while still retaining the control and power of Outlook and mobile PIM data. I couldn't figure it out, that is, until I FIGURED IT OUT. (via therawfeed.com) - Source

10/14/07 - "Water Hobo" sprays yard-cutters with water
KeelyNet Ken was tired of little punks cutting across his yard, so he built a "Water Hobo." It consists of an infrared vision system that detects and tracks people that trample across his lawn and uses an automatically-activated water nozzle to soak them. Be sure to watch the videos. / Waterhobo - I can shoot about 30 feet and can cover a field of fire of about 30 feet. I can also control the movement of the barrel by a servo and a Phidget device. In this version in the top bunker "Window" I have a web camera mounted to the barrel and it shows the video of what it sees as the barrel moves. I control this all via a web page that was written in C# and using ASP 2.0 with a little bit of Ajax thrown in. But as I have said before media player force me to version 2. So what is version 2 and what lessons did we learn in version 1? Well in version 1, I found out latency is not your friend; you have about 6 seconds to before target was out of range and also that cheap water hoses will burst under pressure. "Rabbits" are stupid, if they walk to close to either house they feel enclosed, so they walk right down the middle, giving a great field of fire. They also react to sound, it will either make them stop and look for the sound or at the least keep walking but look for the sound, and this offers great photo shoot opportunities. / - Source

10/14/07 - The Facts (and Myths) Behind Cold Fusion
This article discusses the history and current state of the science of cold fusion, along with controversies on feasibility and its theoretical potential. - Source

10/14/07 - Pig Power
KeelyNet "Back in the old days, people knocked on my door and complained about the smell," said Ong-Arj, who owns 4,000 pigs in Nakhon Pathom, 55 km (35 miles) west of Bangkok in the heart of Thailand's hog country. "Now? They hardly even notice. People around here are happy to show you how to get to my house," Ong-Arj told Reuters after showing off a biogas plant he designed himself during a tour of his 9.7 hectare (24 acre) enclosed pig farm. Using a simple system to capture the methane gas from pig manure and convert it into electricity, Ong-Arj slashed his power bill by thousands of dollars and cut gas emissions that harmed the environment and annoyed his neighbours. "The smell has gone. The flies have gone and I have more cash in my pocket," said the 35-year-old father of two. Thailand has begun to embrace biogas - created from sewage, manure or grass - as a cheap, environmentally friendly way of slashing its reliance on imported fuels. Ong-Arj looked at a biogas pilot project at Chiang Mai University, but it was too costly. After cajoling his bankers into a 1.5 million baht loan, he set to work designing his own system. "Co-generation units cost millions of baht. So I did my own research and modified a car engine myself," he said, adding his 30,000 baht unit was easier to repair than pricier foreign models. The pig waste is flushed into a covered 20 metre by 60 metre (66 ft by 196 ft) lagoon, about the size of six tennis courts. As it decomposes it produces methane - a colorless, odourless gas - which is used to fuel two electric generators that produce 500 kilowatts a day. That is more than enough to run three pig houses, a feedmill and the family home - saving Ong-Arj about 600,000 baht ($17,543) a year in electricity costs. "My air conditioning can run all day and all night now," Ong-Arj said, adding he hoped to sell his excess power to the provincial power grid and lure other farmers to biogas.- Source

10/14/07 - Full scalp transplants from cadavers may cure baldness in future
The most effective current solution for baldness is hair-replacement surgery, in which follicles are painstakingly moved in small bunches from the thick hair on the back of the head to the barren acreage on top. But what if it were possible to move an entire, full and durable scalp from another person, albeit a dead one, all at once? That prospect set hundreds of hair-restoration specialists atwitter at a late-September scientific conference in Las Vegas, where transplantation expert Maria Siemionow presented research that many believe will make such a thing a reality one day. Today, the recipient of any transplant must stay on fairly toxic and expensive medication for life, which makes it untenable to do transplants for anything less then life-essential organs. It remains untested in humans. The scientist told her audience at the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery's convention that her aim is to make full-scalp transplants possible for severe burn and trauma victims. But that didn't keep listeners from imagining the cosmetic applications. Spending on hair-restoration surgeries in 2006 topped $1.2 billion worldwide, a figure that does not include spending on proven drugs such as Propecia and Rogaine or any number of disreputable gadgets and balms sold online or on late-night television. And, with the exception of trauma or burn victims, virtually none of that spending is covered by health insurance. A full set of hair-replacement surgeries can cost as much as $10,000; Propecia can cost $50 a month, and Rogaine retails for about $20 a month, usatoday.com reports. - Source

10/14/07 - Netherlands bans magic mushrooms
KeelyNet Calls for a re-evaluation of the drug grew after a 17-year-old French girl jumped from a building after eating magic mushrooms during a school trip to Amsterdam in March. Other incidents involving the drug have included an Icelandic tourist jumping from a balcony and breaking both legs and a Danish tourist driving his car wildly through a camping ground, narrowly missing sleeping campers. "It's a shame, the media really blew this up into a big issue," said Chloe Collette, owner of the FullMoon shop, which sells magic mushrooms in Amsterdam. - Source

10/14/07 - US demands air passengers ask its permission to fly
Under new rules proposed by the Transport Security Administration (TSA) (pdf), all airline passengers would need advance permission before flying into, through, or over the United States regardless of citizenship or the airline's national origin. - Source

10/12/07 - Windbelt, Cheap Generator Alternative
KeelyNet Shawn Frayne, a 28-year-old inventor based in Mountain View, Calif., saw the need for small-scale wind power to juice LED lamps and radios in the homes of the poor. Conventional wind turbines don’t scale down well-there’s too much friction in the gearbox and other components. “With rotary power, there’s nothing out there that generates under 50 watts,” Frayne says. So he took a new tack, studying the way vibrations caused by the wind led to the collapse in 1940 of Washington’s Tacoma Narrows Bridge (aka Galloping Gertie). Frayne’s device, which he calls a Windbelt, is a taut membrane fitted with a pair of magnets that oscillate between metal coils. Prototypes have generated 40 milliwatts in 10-mph slivers of wind, making his device 10 to 30 times as efficient as the best microturbines. Frayne envisions the Windbelt costing a few dollars and replacing kerosene lamps in Haitian homes. In a conventional wind generator, gears help transfer the motion of the spinning blades to a turbine where an electric current is induced. The Windbelt is simpler and more efficient in light breezes-a magnet mounted on a vibrating membrane simply oscillates between wire coils. - Source

10/12/07 - Orbiting solar panels' day may be near
A new federal study released Wednesday concluded that continued increases in oil prices may finally make the generation of solar power in orbiteconomically competitive. The report urged the government to sponsor a demonstration of the technology to spur private investment in the concept. Since the Space Age began 50 years ago, scientists have dreamed of launching acres of photovoltaic cells into orbit and beaming the electricity electromagnetically to Earth's surface but have stumbled over the project's high cost and the technical difficulties. The report estimated that in a single year, satellites in a continuously sunlit orbit could generate an amount of energy nearly equivalent to all of the energy available in the world's oil reserves. Mark Hopkins, senior vice president of the National Space Society, said space-based solar energy could generate so much power that it could transform the United States from an energy-importing country into an energy-exporting nation. "It is the largest energy option which is available to us today in the sense that it would derive more power potentially than all of the other power sources combined," Hopkins said. - Source

10/12/07 - End of the World ... Sex? Drink? Looting? What Do You Do?
An oncoming asteroid, comet, or other such Extinction Level Event (E.L.E.) is rapidly coming ... what do you do? Well, a survey by Ziji Publishing to mark the U.K. release of "Cloud Cuckoo Land" by debut novelist Steven Sivell showed a variety of responses. The survey of Brits indicated the majority, 54%, would spend it either with or on the phone to their loved ones. 13% would kick back with a drink, 9% would spend it in the missionary position (sex), 3% in prayer. 2% would eat really, really bad food for themselves (why not; indulge yourself) while another 2% would loot. - Source

10/12/07 - Low-tech Inventions That Help Change Lives
"The current issue of Popular Mechanics is featuring their Breakthrough Awards program for inventors. Some of the winning inventions help improve the living conditions for people in third world countries using low-tech materials and assembly methods. Technologies like this cookstove for people in Darfur, and in the case of this Windbelt developed by Shawn Frayne, could be used to provide cheap, clean energy alternatives. The website features fascinating, inspiring videos talking about the inventor's 'eureka moment', focusing on the inventor as well as the technology." - Source

10/12/07 - Donated blood quickly loses its oomph
KeelyNet Donated blood quickly loses some of its life-saving properties as an important gas dissipates, US researchers say, in a finding that explains why many patients fare poorly after blood transfusions. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, have found that nitric oxide in red blood cells is the key to transferring oxygen in the blood to tissues. This gas appears to break down almost immediately after red blood cells leave the body, rendering much of the blood stored in blood banks impaired, says Dr Jonathan Stamler. "If you don't have nitric oxide in there, you can't get oxygen into the tissues," says Stamler, whose work appears online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. But if you restore this gas, banked blood appears to regain this ability, he says. They also tested the theory on dogs. When given stored blood, the flow of oxygen-rich blood was impaired. But when they added nitric oxide back to stored blood, blood flow was restored. "Nitric oxide opens up the tiny blood vessels, allowing red blood cells to pass and deliver oxygen," Stamler says. "If the blood vessels cannot open, the red blood cells back up in the vessel and tissues go without oxygen. The result can be a heart attack or even death." Nitric oxide might also influence the flexibility of the saucer-shaped blood cells, the researchers say. - Source

10/12/07 - Gore climate film's 'nine errors'
A High Court judge who ruled on whether climate change film, An Inconvenient Truth, could be shown in schools said it contains "nine scientific errors". The judge said nine statements in the film were not supported by mainstream scientific consensus. The nine errors alleged by the judge included: # Mr Gore's assertion that a sea-level rise of up to 20 feet would be caused by melting of ice in either West Antarctica or Greenland "in the near future". The judge said this was "distinctly alarmist" and it was common ground that if Greenland's ice melted it would release this amount of water - "but only after, and over, millennia". # Mr Gore's assertion that the disappearance of snow on Mount Kilimanjaro in East Africa was expressly attributable to global warming - the court heard the scientific consensus was that it cannot be established the snow recession is mainly attributable to human-induced climate change. # Mr Gore's reference to a new scientific study showing that, for the first time, polar bears had actually drowned "swimming long distances - up to 60 miles - to find the ice". The judge said: "The only scientific study that either side before me can find is one which indicates that four polar bears have recently been found drowned because of a storm." - Source

10/12/07 - Are Insect Robots Spying On Anti-War Protesters?
KeelyNet The Washington Post reports that anti-war protesters in Washington, D.C., and New York claim to have seen FLYING INSECT SPY ROBOTS hovering over the crowds. The article then goes on to provide a really nice snapshot of the state of mini-drone research (almost all of which are the size of large birds, not tiny insects). This is red meat for the tinfoil hat people. Despite FBI denials, the idea that the government is using insect robot technology to spy on protesters will probably become part of the "conventional wisdom" among paranoid conspiracy theorists. Here's why the sightings are false: 1) the technology for insect-size drones isn't deployable yet; 2) if it was, the data gleaned would be inferior to cameras and microphones you could get at Best Buy (you don't need insect drones in an easy-to-access place like American cities); 3) if the "government" had the technology, it wouldn't waste it on a bunch of middle-class citizens wandering around with anti-war posters -- it would be used in Tehran or Iraq. For the same reason that nobody sighted UFOs until humans started flying into space, and that only religious fanatics see Jesus's face in their pancakes, people who have heard about robotic insect research are jumping to the conclusion that the dragonflies they saw are really government drones. (via therawfeed.com) - Source

10/12/07 - Anti-AIDS Vaccine Developed in Russia
Researchers from State science centre of virology and biotechnology “Vector”, located in Novosibirsk, have developed an anti-AIDS vaccine, which now needs to be tested clinically. We all know that the world desperately needs a vaccine to fight AIDS, however, three latest vaccines, developed in America and other countries, have failed clinical trials. Russian scientists claim there still is a hope, since their vaccine proved to be effective due to its polymorphism. Such polymorphic vaccine can fight HIV-virus, which is highly mutable. The vaccine heads for the first stage of clinical trials, which will take three years. In case the vaccine succeeds, it should prove its safety for patients and then will starts saving those suffering from HIV. - Source

10/12/07 - Fairly realistic flying car offered for 2009 delivery
KeelyNet Terrafugia Inc is a startup founded by a group of MIT engineers and flying enthusiasts in 2006. It completed an initial funding round in December. The Transition isn't a PAV (personal air vehicle); it's a normal light aircraft which can fold its wings at the touch of a button and become a car, and which runs on unleaded. That's pretty much it. The only extra touch is that a Transition® is intended to qualify as an FAA "Light-Sport Aircraft", which means a somewhat less onerous regulatory regime. A "Sport pilot" licence is easier and cheaper to get than an ordinary private pilot's licence, requiring only 20 hours logged; and there are breaks on maintenance, medical checks etc. An existing pilot's licence is also fine. The Terrafugia people reckon that the advent of the Light-Sport category, combined with recent advances in materials and aero engines, mean that an airworthy and road-legal plane can now be built affordably. They say the market for it is there, with 600,000 licenced pilots who could already fly the Transition® in the States. "The Transition® is for pilots," says the company. "It is not intended for use by short-distance commuters, by people running errands, or for any trip through city traffic or under 100 miles. Instead... if you travel between 100 and 500 miles at a stretch, particularly if your trip is either starting or ending in a more suburban or rural area, then the Transition® is for you. If you don't already have a pilot's license, you will need to get one... The Transition® is for pilots, businesspeople [and] weekend travelers..." All in all, this sounds a lot more realistic than a ducted-fan flying saucer from the endlessly written-up Dr Paul Moller (who was busted by the SEC in 2003 for flogging fraudulent "Skycar" stock on the internet and other financial misdeeds). It also sounds a lot more feasible than a silent, super-efficient short-takeoff NASA PAV with accompanying automatic air-traffic miracles. For your $148k you get two seats, cruising speed of 115mph in the air (or normal motorway performance on the ground), 25 miles per gallon flying on super unleaded, and 460 miles flight range. One of the weaker stats on the spec sheet (pdf) is the useful load - just 550lb. Up to 120lb of that will be taken up by fuel, so the Transition won't get airborne freshly topped up with two heavyish people. It certainly won't carry much baggage, unless flown solo or with very little fuel. - Source

10/12/07 - Admins Accuse Microsoft of Hotmail Cap
"The Register is fielding reader tips that Hotmail has placed Draconian limits on the number of Hotmail recipients who can receive an email. The first 10 Hotmail addresses included in a mass email go through just fine, according to these reports. But any additional addresses are returned to sender with a message that reads: "552 Too many recipients." (Microsoft denies it has placed any such restriction on the number of senders.) This would appear to be a violation of RFC 2821, which states: "Rejection of messages (for excessive recipients) with fewer than 100 RCPT commands is a violation of this specification." - Source

10/12/07 - Robot Can Perceive 3D Objects With One Camera
KeelyNet Germany's MVTec Software showed off this week an industrial robot that can detect objects in any 3D position using ONLY ONE CAMERA. It does this by referring to the object's CAD model. By looking at the object with one camera, it knows the object's exact orientation, and can thereby grab and manipulate it during manufacturing. What's interesting about this is that the robot mirrors how humans think about objects -- by carrying around a 3D understanding of the shape of objects, which allow us to grab them precisely. - Source

10/12/07 - A Portrait of Europe's Aging Population
There are currently more elderly people than children living in the EU, as Europe's young population has decreased by 21 percent - or 23 million -- in 25 years, 10 percent of which in the last ten years alone. Only 16.2 percent of today's EU population is less than 14 years old, while one sixth (16.6 percent) is 65 years or more. In addition one out of every 25 EU citizens is over 80 years old. - Source

10/10/07 - Biofuels 'Emit More Greenhouse Gases than Fossil Fuels'
KeelyNet A team of researchers led by Nobel-prize winning chemist Paul Crutzen has found that growing and using biofuels emits up to 70 percent more greenhouse gases than fossil fuels. They are warning that the cure could end up being worse than the disease. German Nobel-prize winning chemist Paul Crutzen and his team of researchers have calculated the emissions released by the growth and burning of crops such as maize, rapeseed and cane sugar to produce biofuels. The team of American, British and German scientists has found that the process releases twice as much nitrous oxide (N2O) as previously thought. They estimate that 3 to 5 percent of nitrogen in fertilizer is converted and emitted, as opposed to the 2 percent used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its calculations. The study, published in the scientific journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, finds that the growth and use of biofuels produced from rapeseed and maize can produce 70 percent and 50 percent more greenhouse gases respectively than fossil fuels. - Source

10/10/07 - Program Puts Far-Out Technology Into Use Today
To get better robots off the drawing board and onto the battlefield, grease their wheels. Adapting small robots to do more on their own, such as find bombs, is one project in a Congress-backed tech transfer program called CCAT. The program finds new ideas and funds them. The point 19 to fast-track useful technology. CCAT looks to commercially spin out what's built in government labs and also to "spin in" commercial inventions for Department of Defense use. "We realized a lot of innovation these days is often going on in these very small companies," said Stephen Lieberman, head of tech transfer at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, or SPAWAR, in San Diego. "We're trying, in a sense, to grease the skids so these companies can better interface ... with people in the DOD." CCAT is an industry, government and academic partnership that also works with outside investor groups. It backs promising technologies -- so far 145 of them -- and mentors their makers. CCAT members include San Diego State University's research foundation and its entrepreneurial center; California State University, San Bernardino's office of tech transfer; the University of California, San Diego's engineering school and its entrepreneurship center; tech nonprofit Connect; and the Navy's SPAWAR program. To date, 131 companies and organizations have received CCAT funding for their technologies. "A pretty high percentage, considering risk level, have been successful," said tech investor and consultant Mike Elconin, a CCAT board member. "It's one thing to invent something. It's another thing to have it be produced and affordable for the government," Elconin said. "So a key to a lot of the success of those types of technologies is to have a private company license the invention from the inventor, whether at a university or government lab, and turn it into a business. Then sell the product back to the government, among others." - Source

10/10/07 - Artificial life with artificial DNA
Controversial DNA scientist Craig Venter claims that his team has constructed a synthetic chromosome out of laboratory chemicals and will very soon declare the creation of the first artificial life form on planet. A team of 20 scientists chaired by the Nobel honouree Hamilton Smith, has constructed the synthetic chromosome that is 381 genes long and contains 580,000 base pairs of genetic code, and using lab-made chemicals at the J Craig Venter Institute. It will be transplanted to a living bacterial cell and in the final stage of the process, it is anticipated to take control of the cell and in effect become a new life form. The new life form will depend on its ability to replicate itself and metabolise on the molecular machinery of the cell into which it has been shot, and in that sense it will not be a wholly synthetic life form. However its DNA will be artificial. Venter talks about tailor-made critters that eat sugar and produce cleaner-burning fuels such as butane or propane for our nation's use. Another example is a designer bacteria that can ''eat'' carbon dioxide and help reduce the amount of that greenhouse gas which can trap heat in the Earth's atmosphere and, some fear, produce global warming. - Source

10/10/07 - Invention outguns speed camera
A SCIENTIST escaped a speeding fine after a mobile phone system he devised showed that a police speed camera clocked him at 12mph more than he was going. Police claimed Dr Phillip Tann was doing 42mph in a 30mph limit, but records from his own invention convinced prosecutors he was doing less than the permitted 30mph. / Userful Comment: Laser speed cameras are notoriously inaccurate - for a programme BBC got a reading of a wall "travelling" at 24mph due to "slippage" - a slight tremor in the operator's hand which gave a faulty reading. One Vauxhall driver was actually advised that he had been caught driving at over 400mph yet the camera partnerships, relying on the work for their career, insist that the cameras are accurate and meet Home Office approval (which, as far as it goes, is accurate). Yet drivers who ask for the video tape of their alleged offence are refused this, being given a "still" instead. / Central to the accuracy of the system is that it can measure data over distances of less than half a metre compared to traditional GPS devices which work on distances of around five metres. Dr Tann, who has been working on the global positioning device for two years was driving through Sunderland collecting road data for the system when he was clocked by a police mobile speed camera. Knowing his speed was an exact 29.177196mph he did not give it a second thought until he received a letter and fine from Northumbria Police. Knowing he could prove his speed through the tracking system he has designed he challenged it through the courts. The system, which can be installed on a mobile phone, records the location and speed of the handset on a computer database. The design has already received government funding, with an NStar proof of concept award. - Source

10/10/07 - Canadian Acne Invention Uses Lights To Clear Skin
KeelyNet Some call it the "zit zapper," but a more technical description of Tanda is a portable light wand lined with little blue LED lights that actually kill the bacteria that cause acne. "In each troubled area you want to do it for three minutes," says Tanda inventor John Kennedy. "Then you go to the next area ... it beeps every 30 seconds so you know where to move it around." Tanda not only promises to get rid of mild to moderate acne, but prevents it from coming back. It costs $295 and is available at Holt Renfrew as well as your dermatologist's office. "It sounds ridiculous," admits user Jean Stilwell. "But for me it's a miracle, it's the only thing that works." - Source

10/10/07 - The 'standy-by' electricity vampires
Most modern electronics come equipped with either standby or "sleep" functions. First made widely available on computers and TVs, this state of limbo was created to avoid time-consuming waits when machines start up. We've all spent dozens of hours cumulatively waiting after we push the start button as our computers read and load all the programming code necessary to get ready. In the era of vacuum tubes, it took televisions several minutes before the picture became visible. In standby, a machine is not really turned off. It goes into a state of reduced activity that requires only minimal power consumption. The downside is that even at vastly reduced power levels, millions of machines running all day, every day adds up to huge amounts of wasted energy. With oil prices at record highs and the climate under threat from excessive consumption of fossil fuels, this is neither smart nor desirable. Do an inventory in your home and you will be shocked. "They're the little red-eyed monsters that silently suck up energy, leaching electricity via vampire fangs gripping power sockets," wrote Steve Dow in the Sydney Morning Herald last month. Dow had a consultant check his home, where just a TV, DVD player, stereo, computer, modem, wireless router and microwave were left in standby mode. He was astonished by the result: "Bypassing standby or sleep mode and switching appliances off at the power point, where practical, would cut our power use by 10%." - Source

10/10/07 - Modern Phrenologists ''Predict'' Terrorism With Biometrics
KeelyNet "Scientists" at the University at Buffalo have reinvented phrenology in the form of a set of biometrics that produce a numerical score indicating the probability that you are about to commit a terrorist act. Computer and behavioral scientists at the University at Buffalo are developing automated systems that track faces, voices, bodies and other biometrics against scientifically tested behavioral indicators to provide a numerical score of the likelihood that an individual may be about to commit a terrorist act. "The goal is to identify the perpetrator in a security setting before he or she has the chance to carry out the attack," said Venu Govindaraju, Ph.D., professor of computer science and engineering in the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. - Source

10/10/07 - Politicizing Science
According to a blog posted on the Daily Tech site, Dr. James Hansen--head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Science--has been caught with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar. The blog cites an editorial in Investors Business Daily purporting that the Open Society Institute (Funded by George Soros) provided nearly three-quarters of a million dollars of 'legal and media' aid to Dr. Hansen, who claimed over a year ago that NASA tried to silence him. He is also quite vocal on the fact that the climate of the earth is in jeopardy. While OSI does fund some worthwhile projects, the motivations of their founder, George Soros, are questionable. He has stated openly that he wishes to remove President Bush from office, by any means necessary and would give his entire fortune to someone who could guarantee that it could be done. He has refuted those comments (made in the September 11, 2003 edition of The Washington Post) as humorous; but based on his own donations to groups supporting democrats, it seems he might well indeed want Bush out of office. Not only that, but there is other evidence as well of his involvment with a highly secretive society called Democracy Alliance who seem to feel the need of our government to be only of Democrats. The short of this is: Scientists involved in public policy really need to be cautious on who they accept monies from. It makes them seem malleable to the will of the donor. In the Publich Policy Arena; scienctists need to be squeeky clean--We made a stink out of $25,000 donated by Exxon to the global warming naysayers, we should do no less here. - Source

10/10/07 - Vatican Archives Exonerate Knights Templar
It has spawned endless flights of speculation and has even become popularly attached to the stigma surrounding Friday the 13th. But the arrest, expurgation and subsequent controversy surrounding the fall of the Knights Templar in the dawning years of the 14th century may now finally have a little more light cast on them. Accused of myriad crimes, the Templar Order was destroyed in 1307; its Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, burned at the stake. But were the knights heretics as the French king maintained? It seems not. A new book set to be published by the Vatican and based on recently discovered documents long misfiled in the voluminous Secret Archives reportedly "absolves them" rather completely. Will the release of the book put the brakes on the cottage industry that has developed around templar lore? Probably not. But it will be available on October 25th. - Source

10/10/07 - Weaving Batteries into Clothes
KeelyNet A novel machine that makes nanostructured fibers could be the key to a new generation of military uniforms that take on active functions such as generating and storing energy. Among the machine's many potential uses is assembling fibers that act as rechargeable batteries. Angela Belcher, a professor of biological and chemical engineering at MIT, says that some of the sample structures the device has made could be useful for combining positive and negative battery electrodes and electrolytes into individual threads. Such threads could be woven into uniforms and paired with threads that act as fuel cells or photovoltaics. - Source

10/10/07 - Self-Sufficient Lunar Habitat Designed
"Cosmos Magazine reports on a design for a lunar habitat that is 90 to 95 percent self-sufficient. The proposed habitat uses a closed-loop life support system that recycles and regenerates air, water, and food, reducing the need for costly supply trips. The north pole of the moon is chosen as a location because of its access to sunlight and useful resources. About 11 astronauts could live and work in the habitat for 2 to 3 years. The project would also help the environment on Earth with recycling and other sustainable practices." The designers say it could be 20 to 30 years before such a habitat could be up and running on the moon. - Source

10/10/07 - Stalling Cars Via OnStar
GM will be installing OnStar systems on almost 1.7 million 2009-model cars that will allow law enforcement (or anyone who cracks the system) to remotely shut down vehicles. Here is the AP's writeup, which like most MSM coverage doesn't mention any privacy implications. - Source

10/10/07 - Infomercialscams.com
The views expressed on this website are not that of infomercial scams.com, but rather those of extremely pissed off customers who believe that they have been scammed by infomercial products and/or companies. In most cases, the complaints appearing on this website represent only a small portion of customers who have purchased such products and services. Accordingly, this website should not be used to depict the overall efficacy of any product or service. WARNING: Infomercial scams.com features 100% uncensored, graphic, and offensive language. - Source

10/10/07 - Massage Me Controller, Feels Good To Not Be A Gamer
KeelyNet The Massage Me controller is either the greatest or worst invention of all time-we still have yet to decide. Essentially a controller built inside a wearable vest, one user plays games on the back of another user who plays getting a massage. Clearly the invention of a non-gamer, the Massage Me creates a gaming paradox: is gaming still gaming when its' no longer fun? (Maybe WoW users can elaborate on that for us.) But the website makes the whole concept look so romantic... - Source

10/10/07 - Blood Vessels Grown From Patient’s Skin
From a snippet of a patient's skin, researchers have grown blood vessels in a laboratory and then implanted them to restore blood flow around the patient's damaged arteries and veins. It is the first time blood vessels created entirely from a patien's own tissues have been used for this purpose, the researchers report in the current issue of The New England Journal of Medicine. Cytograft Tissue Engineering of Novato, Calif., made the vessels, in a process that takes six to nine months. Because they are derived from patients' own cells, they eliminate the need for antirejection drugs. And because they are devoid of any synthetic materials or a scaffolding, they avoid complications from inflammatory reactions. - Source

10/08/07 - Weston man claims device can boost car mileage to 500 mpg
KeelyNetInventor John Weston of Port Charlotte, claims to have invented a device that can turn virtually any car into a gas-miser that can run as far as 500 miles on a single gallon. Called the Air Vapor Flow System, or AVFS, the device functions by vaporizing gasoline before it gets inducted into the engine. That saves fuel and reduces pollution because it allows the engine to burn more of the fuel that gets sucked into the combustion chamber, he contends. The device works on small, industrial engines or larger automobile engines regardless of whether they have carburetors or fuel injection systems, according to Weston. The device consists of a small, plastic tank that gets mounted under the hood of a car. Some hoses from the engine's air intake housing are run to the top of the tank so that the engine draws in vapors from above the level of the liquid gasoline. The device also has some additional features that affect its efficiency and safety that Weston is not disclosing. In an impromptu demonstration conducted for this reporter last week, Weston installed one of the devices into his battered 1992 Geo Storm. Scientifically, the results can be described as intriguing but inconclusive. Weston's car ran well on the vapors from the device when the level of the liquid in the tank was within a certain margin. The engine ran either too rich or too lean when the level was above or below that margin. Weston is convinced that the car traveled 14.8 miles on about 4 ounces of gasoline during the test. If accurate, that would amount to some 473 miles per gallon. However, an exact measurement was not obtained due to the testing method. Weston recently tested one of his AVFS tanks on a gasoline-powered utility generator. Without the device, the generator ran for 3.5 hours. With the device, it ran for 14 hours on the same amount of fuel, he said. AVFS testing on a small engine by the firm Adiabatics Inc. in Columbus, Ind. The results showed it reduced hydrocarbons 71 percent and carbon monoxide 25 percent. The rate of fuel consumption was reduced by 15 percent to 30 percent. But the device increased emissions of carbon dioxide 12 percent and nitrogen oxides 296 percent. Those are greenhouse and smog pollutants. Weston said those emissions increased because Reg Tech's engineer failed to properly adjust the vapor/air mixture. "Not all engineers are mechanics," Weston said. / Vapor methods and details are described in the $15 downloadable eBook 14 Ways to Save Money on Fuel Costs - Source

10/08/07 - Revive a Dead Laptop Battery in the Freezer
KeelyNetLooks like a little freezer time can save more than just a dead hard drive: according to this video over at Metacafe, you can also revive a dead laptop battery by freezing it for 14 to 15 hours. We haven't tried this trick ourselves, but a little cursory research using The Google shows that it's been discussed and recommended online before. - Source

10/08/07 - New monitor will slash electricity usage
A Danish company believes it has found the answer not only to cutting consumers’ electricity bills in half but also slashing energy usage across the country. Syd Energi has just patented a computerised electricity monitor called ‘Electronic Housekeeper’ that regulates energy usage for all appliances and heating and cooling systems in the home. The apparatus shuts off or reduces the current to appliances when electricity prices are at their highest. Industry experts say the invention can cut consumers’ yearly electricity costs in half. - Source

10/08/07 - Advances In Conversational Robots
KeelyNetAt Neiman Marcus, $75,000 will get you a Swami Conversational Robot. A cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence robot that recognizes family members, can carry on conversations, develops relationships, and answers questions with fact-based advice, now that's going to freak out the kids. Say, "Hey" to the Swami. The OMG factor on this dude is off the charts. You'll swear he's human, right down to his facial expressions. How does he do it? Revolutionary character-engine artificial intelligence software. Micro-camera eyes. More than 30 robotic micro motors. All running off a PC laptop (included, of course). - Source

10/08/07 - New Phone Prototype Gives Wellness Check
KeelyNetIt can take your pulse, check your body fat, time your jogs and tell you if you have bad breath. It even assesses stress levels and inspires you with a pep talk. Meet your new personal trainer: your cell phone. The phone, unveiled this week at the CEATEC electronics show outside Tokyo, has an inbuilt motion sensor that detects body movement and calculates how many calories you burn. The sensor can tell whether you're walking, running, climbing stairs, or resting, and counts the calories accordingly to tally daily totals, Tobita said. "It's with you wherever you go, like a portable personal trainer," he said. Like Nike Inc.'s +Nike technology, the handset also keeps track of jogs, letting users set targets and keeping track of time, distance, and calories burnt - all while listening to music through headphones. Hold the phone with outstretched arms, and it turns into a mini body fat calculator. A sensor at the top of the phone takes your pulse from your fingertip. Worried about bad breath? Use the phone's breathalyzer. After Tobita blew on a tiny hole on the side of the handset for about three seconds, the screen flashed, "Not too bad." The Wellness phone, developed by NTT DoCoMo and Mitsubishi Electric Corp., also asks questions to assesses stress levels and offers advice. - Source

10/08/07 - Universe explained by quantum randomness
Look around you - at the sun in the sky, a tree swaying in the breeze, a woman walking her dog down your street. You may think all these things have a cause. Einstein did. He hated the idea of quantum randomness underlying everything, which is why he declared, "God does not play dice". Tough, says Stephen Hsu of the University of Oregon in Eugene. "Not only does God play dice with the universe but, if he did not, the complex universe we see around us would not exist at all. We owe everything to randomness." Hsu came to his startling conclusion by comparing the amount of information in today's universe with that in the first moments of creation. According to standard cosmology, the universe grew enormously in the first split second of its existence, blowing up from a tiny patch of vacuum. "Because the patch was exponentially smaller ... - Source

10/08/07 - Video - Total Immersion 3D for TV Augmented Reality
KeelyNetFrench company Total Immersion has created a product called D’Fusion, which integrates 3D GRAPHICS INTO LIVE TV. They've given dry tech demos before, the the true potential of this incredible technology can only be fully realized on JAPANESE TV. Here comes the COOL VIDEO! Here comes the REALLY COOL VIDEO!! (props to TV In Japan) - Source - the Raw Feed

10/08/07 - $25 Head-Mounted Display (Hacker Apps)
KeelyNetSo it’s 2007: shouldn’t there be more cyborgs? Well, for a mere $25.00 (or less), you can be one big step closer to being one yourself. How so, you ask? Click the following link to to find out! A few months ago, the rather clever folks at Wild Planet released a nifty (though rather clumsily named) little “toy” called the “Spy Video Car”. I cannot stress enough how well engineered this gadget is. For around $100 (much less on eBay), you get: * A nicely-styled motorised car base with decent-for-a-toy steering and an almost silent powertrain * A two-channel R/C set, also of decent-for-a-toy quality * A color capable video transmitter/receiver with a few hundred feet of range * A miniature B&W CCD video camera (similar to one of these) * A very bright 8mm IR LED and, best of all, a… * A video headset containing a Kopin 300M B&W LCD screen, optics, backlight, and a PAL/NTSC driver board. This guide will be all about re-purposing the later, though I will do similarly for the camera and video rx/tx set eventually. I should also mention that you can buy the headset separately here , but please don’t be greedy as I don’t think they’ll last long. What’s interesting is that the “replacement” headsets I bought are newer and much improved versions of the original one included with the car (one would assume that the newer cars come with the newer headsets, but I cannot verify this)... (via http://www.hackaday.com ) - Source - Spy Video Car Source

10/08/07 - Russian Password cracking Software
Moscow-based ElcomSoft has released its $3,999 Elcomsoft Password Recovery Bundle - Forensics Edition. The software CRACKS PASSWORDS protecting more than one hundred file formats and programs, including Windows, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Money, and Visio files and PDF files, according to a company press release. Target customers include law enforcement, security and forensics specialists, but I'm sure they'll sell it to anyone. - Source

10/08/07 - Scientists Deliver 'God' Via A Helmet
KeelyNet"Scientific American is reporting on scientific work done to map the euphoric religious feelings within the brain. As a result, it's now quite possible to experience 'proximity to God' via a special helmet: 'In a series of studies conducted over the past several decades, Persinger and his team have trained their device on the temporal lobes of hundreds of people. In doing so, the researchers induced in most of them the experience of a sensed presence - a feeling that someone (or a spirit) is in the room when no one, in fact, is - or of a profound state of cosmic bliss that reveals a universal truth. During the three-minute bursts of stimulation, the affected subjects translated this perception of the divine into their own cultural and religious language - terming it God, Buddha, a benevolent presence or the wonder of the universe."" - Source

10/08/07 - Heart Corset to Reduce Congestive Heart Failure
Scientists have designed a new "heart-reinforcing corset" to help combat congestive heart failure. While there isn't a large degree of understanding of the condition, many believe that the heart expands in order to pump more blood as a reaction to damage or valve problems. This expansion generally exacerbates the problem, so the new reinforcing band is attempting to control the expansion of the heart thereby reducing the chance of failure. - Source

10/08/07 - Norway's Statkraft to build world's first osmotic power plant
KeelyNetOsmotic power is a renewable energy source. Calculations indicate that the technology could contribute around 1600 TWh on a global basis annually, according to the Norwegian power producer. Osmotic power is based on the natural process of osmosis. In an osmotic power plant, seawater and fresh water are separated by a membrane. The seawater draws the fresh water through the membrane, thereby increasing the pressure on the seawater side. The increased pressure is used to produce power. Osmotic power is clean and emission-free, and could become competitive within a few years, said Statkraft's CEO, Bard Mikkelsen. The research work is supported by The Research Council of Norway. The prototype plant will be built at the paper pulp manufacturer Sodra Cell Tofte's plant at Hurum in Buskerud, Norway. The location will provide the osmotic plant with a good supply of fresh water and seawater, along with access to the established infrastructure. The construction of the prototype is expected to be completed by the end of 2008. The osmotic power plant will produce between 2-4 kW of energy, Statkraft said. - Source

10/08/07 - Brain Heatsink Could Reduce Epilepsy
"Attaching a heatsink to the brain can reduce the severity of epileptic seizures, Japanese researchers say. They've developed a surgically implanted heat conduit that connects a brain region to a heatsink on the outside of the skull. Seizures get worse when they abnormal activity of brain cells overheats the brain and causes more abnormal firing patterns." - Source

10/08/07 - Crime and Punishment: Why Do We Conform to Society?
KeelyNetWhether you subscribe to the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule or some instinctive moral code, society functions largely because most of its denizens adhere to a set of norms that allow them to live together in relative tranquility. But, why is it that we put a vast amount of social resources into keeping stealing, murdering and other unfair (not to mention violent and illegal) acts to a minimum? Seems it all comes down to the fact that most of us don't cotton to being punished by our peers. Jorge Moll, principal investigator of the cognitive and behavioral neuroscience unit at the Rede Labs-D'Or Hospitals in Rio de Janeiro, says the most interesting findings were that individual scores on Machiavellianism predicted "how much a given subject will change his behavior depending on the presence of punishment," and "that the level of activity within the lateral orbitofrontal cortex is strongly related to Machiavellian personality style." - Source

10/08/07 - Indonesia Aims to Plant 79 Million Trees in one day
Indonesia, which is losing its forests faster than any other country, hopes to plant 79 million trees in a single day ahead of a major U.N. climate change meeting this year, a forestry ministry spokesman said Friday. The trees, mostly eucalyptus and teak, will be planted across the world's fourth-largest nation on Nov. 28, said the spokesman Masyhud. A Greenpeace forest activist, Hapsoro, said the planting of trees was admirable, but was almost pointless in the face of Indonesia's rapid deforestation. The environmental group said in May that Indonesia was losing its forests faster than any other country, with the equivalent of about 300 soccer fields destroyed every hour. The forestry ministry did not contest the statement. - Source

10/08/07 - In search of the NAFTA highway to hell
KeelyNetRoad plans in Texas have conspiracy theorists in an uproar. I am driving along a mostly empty road in rural Fayette County, Texas, about an hour east of Austin, looking for the NAFTA superhighway -- the one that Stephen Harper, George W. Bush and Felipe Calderón mocked as a conspiracy theory when they were asked about it at their trilateral meeting in Montebello, Que., in August. Critics, who say that behind the leaders' denials lurks a larger, nefarious plan to unite North America, fear that such a roadway will eventually be a four-football-stadium-wide artery connecting Mexico, the U.S. and Canada, with special fast lanes and minimal border checks. It will bring, they say, drugs, illegal immigrants, cheap goods from China, and who knows what else from Mexican ports up into the heart of North America. Maps on critics' websites portray the colossus as running somewhere around here in central Texas, east of Interstate 35, among the cattle pastures, the occasional pickup truck, and the signs that say "Drive Friendly." - Source

10/08/07 - Microsoft Aims to Apply Spam Study to HIV
Researchers at Microsoft are studying similarities between HIV and e-mail spam. The two are similar in one important respect: Both mutate as they spread. Scientists hope they can apply studies of how spam can be stopped to developing an AIDS vaccine. - Source

10/06/07 - Grass-munching bugs could charge rural phones
KeelyNet A bacteria-powered cellphone charger could keep people in developing countries talking, even when they live far from the grid. MFCs use electrons released by feeding bacteria on sugars, starches, and other organic material, to produce electricity. They have potential in many areas, from sewage plants that are powered by the sludge they are processing, to powering an MP3 player, like Sony's prototype unveiled in August 2007, or even aquatic robots. The team's BioVolt prototypes run on less-refined fuel than Sony's glucose-gobbling battery, the bacteria instead digest the cellulose in plant waste. "There's a lot of cellulosic feedstock in rural areas," team member Gerardo la O' says. But for MFCs to be competitive in developing countries, they need to be cheaper. "We're using a non-platinum catalyst, so that allows us to lower the cost," la O' says. Most MFCs use platinum as a catalyst to combine oxygen with electrons and hydrogen ions into water, as part of the electrochemical reaction that produces power. BioVolt is currently patenting its catalyst and is unwilling to divulge what it is made from. But the team says it is cheap enough for one of the devices to cost only about $2 in parts. It would currently take around 6 months to charge a phone's battery using a BioVolt. But they can be connected together, and la O' says further refinement of the catalyst and design should increase the power output around 100 fold. - Source

10/06/07 - Swell Fuel makes waves with ocean energy
KeelyNetA Houston-based businessman claims to have developed a way to get better efficiency from ocean energy schemes. "People have been trying to perfect ocean energy technology for 150 years," said Chris Olson, owner and president of Swell Fuel. "We have come up with a method that is simple, inexpensive and it works." Using a lever-operated, pivoting float anchored to the ocean floor, Swell Fuel's ocean energy converters are designed to withstand pounding waves. The wave motion triggers the movement of the lever, which, in turn, produces electricity. The company's goal is to generate 350,000 kW per year per unit and link together multiple units, providing a significant source of electricity. With one patent already granted and several awaiting approval, Olson foresees an immediate need for his invention, particularly in developing areas of the world. "This is not a theoretical concept, these units are already making electricity and need to go in the water and provide power for those who need it," noted Olson. - Source

10/06/07 - Tiny 'Tin Whiskers' Imperil Electronics
KeelyNetThe culprits? Tiny splinters - whiskers, they're called - that sprout without warning from tin solder and finishes deep inside electronics. By some estimates, the resulting short-circuits have leveled as much as $10 billion in damage since they were first noticed in the 1940s. Typically measuring under a millimeter long, tin whiskers look like errant strands of static-charged hair, erupting in every direction from tin-based materials like solder. Their cause is hotly debated. Other metals also grow whiskers, but not like tin. Trouble arises when the whiskers bridge separate parts of increasingly miniaturized circuit boards. They also can flake off and interfere with sensitive optics. While scientists debate their cause, they agree on one thing: Small amounts of lead mixed with the tin have been remarkably effective at preventing whisker eruptions for decades. Tin whiskers have left a trail of destruction in a string of important machinery, chronicled in an extensive database of publicly disclosed failures kept by researchers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Last year, for example, NASA engineers testing parts for the space shuttle Endeavour discovered that millions of tin whiskers were causing an electronic box to inaccurately point the shuttle's engine, knocking the rocket's trajectory off-kilter, according to Henning Leidecker, chief engineer of the electronic parts office of NASA's Goddard and a tin whisker expert. It turns out NASA had approved the pure-tin-coated clamps used for holding circuit boards in place back when the electronics were made in the 1980s, before NASA adopted its current rule requiring a small amount of lead in its tin coatings. "These whiskers have the potential to destroy missions," Leidecker said. Failures blamed on tin whiskers have run the gamut of devices and manufacturers. In the 1980s, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recalled some pacemakers because of a high failure rate caused by tin whiskers. In 1998, PanAmSat Corp.'s $250 million Galaxy IV communications satellite, which provided service to tens of millions of pagers across North America and thousands of pay-at-the-pump gas station machines, was deemed a total loss after two processors failed. The main spacecraft control processor, which governs the satellite's positioning and other functions, failed for an unknown reason, and the backup couldn't be used because tin whiskers had shorted it out a year before. At least 10 other satellite failures have been blamed on tin whiskers, according to the NASA database. Over the past two decades, also according to the NASA database, nuclear power plants have been temporarily shut down at least seven times after tin whiskers in the alarm system circuit boards triggered false alarms, alerting managers to threats that didn't exist. There have been no reported injuries. - Source

10/06/07 - Starving is like ecstasy use for anorexia sufferers
Anorexia and ecstasy use activate some of the same brain pathways, according to researchers who used mice to arrive at their conclusions. The findings hint that the condition works in a similar way to drug addiction, and may also point the way towards new drug treatments for the eating disorder. Those diagnosed with anorexia nervosa restrict their food intake even though they may be in desperate need of energy. The condition has one of the highest mortality rates for any mental disorder, and there are few effective treatments currently available. Valerie Compan at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Montpellier, France, is one of a growing number of researchers who believes that anorexia works in a similar way to addiction and that sufferers become "hooked" on the self-control involved. - Source

10/06/07 - Tokyo 2007 Preview: More pix of Suzuki's PIXY + SSC
KeelyNetDetails of Suziki's new car package is comprised of the PIXY single-person pod and the SSC (Suzuki Sharing Coach) twin-pod mothership. Short of concrete info on how it works, we do have additional photos of Suzuki's womb-like pods and their communal express ride to baggage claim... or the supermarket or wherever. We'd love to explain why the side panels on the SSC open the way they do (the sills seem a bit high for non-PIXY'd passenger access), but we can't, as the details are still largely under wraps. - Source

10/06/07 - How to Make a Beer Battery
KeelyNetBeer batteries create energy from bacteria that feed on waste water. The technical term for them is "microbial fuel cells" (MFCs), and they earned the nickname beer batteries because beer company Fosters has funded the development of MFCs in Australia that run on waste water produced by the beer-making process. The best part about beer batteries, though, is that you can make them at home, based on instructions developed by a high school student named Abbie Groff. She won an international science fair prize for her work. - Source

10/06/07 - Super-Light Plastic As Strong as Steel
"A new composite plastic built layer by layer has been created by engineers at the University of Michigan. This plastic is as strong as steel. It has been built the same way as mother-of-pearl, and shows similar strength. Interestingly, this 300-layer plastic has been built with 'strong' nanosheets of clay and a 'fragile' polymer called polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), commonly used in paints and glue, which acts as 'Velcro' to envelop the nanoparticles. This new plastic could soon be used to design light but strong armors for soldiers or police officers. The researchers also think this material could be used in biomedical sensors and unmanned aircraft." - Source

10/06/07 - WiFi-detecting t-shirt
KeelyNetOver on Boing Boing Gadgets, our Joel has found a battery-powered, WiFi-detecting t-shirt from ThinkGeek that lights up when you're near a live network. Like Joel, I want a t-shirt that can distinguish between closed and open nets. - Source

10/06/07 - Scientist Invents Computer Pillow to Stop Snoring
A German scientist has come up with a solution for snoring -- a computerized pillow that shifts the head's sleeping position until the noise stops. "The pillow is attached to a computer, which is the size of a book, rests on a bedside table, and analyses snoring noises," Bazargani told Reuters. "The computer then reduces or enlarges air compartments within the pillow to facilitate nasal airflow to minimize snoring as the user shifts during sleep," he said. The ergonomic pillow can also be used for neck massages. - Source

10/06/07 - Scientists Make a Foldable Oven Out Of Cloth
KeelyNetA folding oven woven out of soft cloth could be on sale as early as next year as predicted by scientists who demonstrated a prototype today. Despite weighing only a few hundred grams, the lightweight electrical oven can be made hot enough to roast chicken, according to the researchers who developed it. Thin and flexible conductive elements are woven into the oven's highly heat-resistant fabric, said the researchers, who demonstrated the folding kitchen appliance to reporters at an exhibition in Taiwan today. The oven's internal temperature can exceed 300 degrees without damaging the soft fabric, they claimed. The oven is designed to be extremely portable and it can be folded. - Source

10/06/07 - Rocket-Powered 21-Foot-Long X-Wing Model Actually Flies
KeelyNetThe X-Wing model is huge. At 21 feet long and with a wingspan of over 19 feet it is, in fact, big enough to fly a kid in. It will be powered by solid-fuel rockets and uses three full parachutes to land. The wings, including the root sections and the outer panels are about 8' long and weigh 60 pounds a piece, including the motors. The motion mechanism had to be able to move all four of these simultaneously, while keeping them in position relative to each other. Additionally, the motion hardware had to be strong enough to keep the wings in position once they were at the extents of their travel. They used an electric motor from a RC helicopter, reducing its 40,000 revolutions per minute to generate enough torque to move those massive wings. Still, the wings will take 35 seconds to travel from open to closed. Hopefully, they will be able to change before the flight ends, so they can get the full effect in the air. The wings also hold the engines. Andy told us they are using "four solid rocket motors which are Class M, the kind that produce a red flame"-which as you probably know, it's also the same color of the X-Wing engines' glow. - Source

10/06/07 - Tubes Now for instant URLs from your hard drive
KeelyNetTubes is the easiest and most powerful way to extend your desktop to the web and the web to your desktop. HOW DO YOU USE IT? Simply drop anything onto a tube icon on your desktop and Tubes instantly provides a URL to that file. Now you can send the URL to anyone and they can access your file as if right off your hard drive. No upload required. / Sharing unlimited - Most any file type can be included in your Tubes and tubesites. You can create a tube to make sure that all of the files you want are on the computer that you want (home, work, laptop, desktop). Tubes allows you to keep control of your original and makes sharing files with a set of family members or a project team at work as easy as a one step invite. Drag and Drop Instant Websites - We didn’t stop after we made sharing anything impossibly easy. Impossibly, we made it even easier. Just drag and drop your stuff to a tube on your desktop and it is instantly assembled into your very own website, what we call a tubeSite. That’s right, now you can share anything with anyone on the web - every tubeSite gets its own URL. You can even provide guest URL access to any file inside any tube on your hard drive. And unlike mere websites, when you change anything - right on your desktop - your tubesite changes automatically. This also means your family, your students or your colleagues can edit your website. - Source

10/06/07 - Plants form networks to communicate
KeelyNetRecently [Josef] Stuefer and his colleagues were the first to demonstrate that clover plants warn each other via the network links if enemies are nearby. If one of the plants is attacked by caterpillars, the other members of the network are warned via an internal signal. Once warned, the intact plants strengthen their chemical and mechanical resistance so that they are less attractive for advancing caterpillars. - Source

10/06/07 - Mirror mirror in the sky, save us from asteroids flashing by
KeelyNetA NETWORK of mirrors harnessing the destructive power of the sun might save the world from disaster, space experts believe. If an asteroid should be discovered on a catastrophic collision course with our planet, researchers at Glasgow University say mirrors are the best way to save us from annihilation. Up to 5,000 could be used to focus sunlight on to the asteroid, melting the rock and altering its orbital path away from the Earth. The doomsday scheme was devised after a team at the university compared nine methods of deflecting near-Earth objects - asteroids and comets. The results were unveiled at the Jodrell Bank observatory in Cheshire as part of celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the launch of the Soviet satellite Sputnik 1, which marked the start of the space age. The research team compared the mirror technique with eight others, including different types of nuclear explosion and fixing a propulsion system to the asteroid. The nuclear options and the mirrors would be more effective than the others, but scientists fear the risk of flying debris from a nuclear blast. The orbiting mirrors would be used to focus sunlight on an area of the asteroid between 0.5 and 1.5 metres wide, heating the rock to around 2,100C - hot enough to melt the surface of the asteroid and create a thrust which would nudge it off course. The team found that the orbit of an asteroid measuring 150 metres across could be sufficiently modified by a network of 100 mirrors in a few days. For an asteroid the size of the one believed to have wiped out Earth's dinosaurs, a 5,000-strong fleet of spacecraft would need to focus a beam of sunlight on the surface for three or more years. - Source

10/06/07 - Creative Recycling of your old PC
KeelyNetGiven the Moore's law that the power of computers doubles every 24 months, we end up with a lot of useless devices and obsolete hardware, that you sure can recycle in a normal way, but it's much more fun to recycle it in a wild and unusual ways! Let's see how to give a new life to the computing zombies of yesteryear. - Source

10/04/07 - Inventor says his new device will improve heating systems and cut CO2
KeelyNetStan Whetstone, a 61-year-old inventor from Barlby, near Selby, has begun to market the Tadpole, his patented green device. When tagged on to existing central heating systems, it is claimed the Tadpole will significantly increase efficiency and reduce energy consumption, CO2 emissions and energy bills. Stan, the managing director of Aquastan Heating Ltd of Barlby, says that by fitting a £195 Tadpole to his own gas heating system at home, he has seen an improvement in efficiency by about 30 per cent over the last 12 months. And he estimates that he has slashed his household CO2 emissions by as much as two-thirds of a tonne a year, bringing down his heating bills from an average of £600 per year to £420. He said: "The Tadpole works on the simplest of principles, improving the efficiency of heating systems by minimising the dissolved air which makes the water in boilers slower to heat. "With the air removed, boilers reach higher temperatures much faster, resulting in much less energy from gas, electric or oil being required. "As added benefits, The Tadpole works silently, without vibrations, and even reduces the need to bleed systems, as the oxygen which contributes to the corrosion is no longer present. "It can be fitted to most central heating systems which operate on a stored water or an immersion heater' principle, whether gas, electric or oil is the energy source." He calculates that if just ten per cent of the 13 million UK homeowners with a gas boiler heating system "tagged on a Tadpole" to improve efficiency by 30 per cent, the net reduction of CO2 emissions could be more than 1.25 million tonnes a year. He said: "The average household gas central heating bill of £700 claimed by National Energy Action could be brought to below £500 with the use of a Tadpole, although savings would vary depending on the age, size and type of heating system." It is available to buy on the internet at www.tagonatadpole.com. - Source

10/04/07 - Rocks could be novel store for wind energy
JUST A SHORT drive west out of Des Moines, Iowa, amid fields of corn and soya, there's a dip in Route 44. Here, near the small community of Dallas Center, a short gravel road runs north to a cluster of houses and across the street there's a farm machinery dealer's yard. It seems to be an unremarkable corner of the Midwest, yet almost a kilometre beneath that dip in the road is something that could change the way we use wind power. If all goes to plan, it could allow the world's most appealing renewable energy source to compete head-to-head with fossil fuels as a way of generating electricity. My guide for the day is one of the architects of this project, the Iowa Stored Energy Park (ISEP), and he is happy to pull off the road for me to take a few snaps of the gently rolling terrain... - Source

10/04/07 - Don’t invent, evolve
KeelynetThe inventor’s trial-and-error approach can be automated by software that mimics natural selection. “I HAVE not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” So said Thomas Edison, the prolific inventor, speaking of his laborious attempts to perfect the incandescent light bulb. Although 10,000 trial-and-error attempts might sound a little over the top, an emerging technique for developing inventions knocks even Edison’s exhaustive approach into a cocked hat. Evolutionary design, as it is known, allows a computer to run through tens of millions of variations on an invention until it hits on the best solution to a problem. As its name suggests, evolutionary design borrows its ideas from biology. It takes a basic blueprint and mutates it in a bid to improve it without human input. As in biology, most mutations are worse than the original. But a few are better, and these are used to create the next generation. Evolutionary design uses a computer program called an evolutionary algorithm, which takes the initial parameters of the design (things such as lengths, areas, volumes, currents and voltages) and treats each like one gene in an organism. Collectively, these genes comprise the product’s genome. By randomly mutating these genes and then breeding them with other, similarly mutated genomes, new offspring designs are created. These are subjected to simulated use by a second program. If a particular offspring is shown not to be up to the task, it is discarded. If it is promising, it is selectively bred with other fit offspring to see if the results, when subject to further mutation, can do even better. - Source

10/04/07 - Planet Saving Carbon
KeelyNetPoor carbon. It’s getting a bum rap. It’s blamed for drifting around in the atmosphere and warming up the planet. No one ever blames its oxygen partner in carbon dioxide. If carbon wasn’t so attached to oxygen in the first place it wouldn’t be there. Carbon’s a bad guy. So people think. Wrongly. Axion Power International has been making a pretty much all-carbon electrode that replaces the negative electrode (the cathode) ordinarily made of lead in lead acid batteries. Their relatively simple invention is the lead/nano-Carbon (PbC(tm))-acid battery. The company says this: “The resulting PbC-acid battery offers energy storage approaching lead acid batteries, coupled with far longer cycle life and power output approaching super-capacitors. These low-cost devices recharge rapidly and are environmentally friendly because they use substantially less lead - up to 60% in some applications. Axion has been producing prototype PbC-acid batteries at its lead-acid battery plant in New Castle, Pennsylvania for over a year using the same cases, positive electrodes, separators, electrolytes and manufacturing equipment as its specialty lead-acid batteries. The only notable manufacturing difference is the use of its proprietary carbon electrode assemblies that replace the lead-based negative electrodes. Early results from seven months of demonstration testing at an integrated wind and solar power installation in Ontario are very encouraging.” “Axion believes its PbC-acid batteries are only class of advanced battery that can be assembled on existing lead-acid battery production lines with no significant changes to production equipment and fabrication processes. It also believes it will be able to manufacture carbon electrode assemblies in volume at low cost using standard automated production methods that are commonly used in the electronics industry. When its electrode manufacturing methods are fully developed, Axion believes it will be able to sell carbon electrode assemblies as virtual plug-and-play replacements for the lead based negative electrodes used by all other battery manufacturers.” Axion will be providing its proprietary lead/nano-Carbon (PbC)-acid batteries. as well as an advanced battery management system for an 18-month, 250 kW/750 kWh demonstration project funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The project will use Axion batteries to provide additional power at peak demand periods. The batteries will be provided to Gaia Power Technologies, Inc., the prime contractor with NYSERDA. Axion will receive $225,000 for its batteries, power management system and related services. It’s the cost that should open eyes. Axion’s batteries are about $200-250 per kilowatt. A similar grid-buffering project by American Electric Power (AEP) with sodium sulfur (NAS) battery technology will cost about $4500 per kilowatt. Axion Power International http://www.axionpower.com / The full technical description of Axion's proprietary PbCTM technology is a "multi-celled asymmetrically supercapacitive lead-acid-carbon hybrid battery." Like a lead-acid battery, our battery consists of a series of cells. Within the individual cells, however, our construction is more complex. Where the negative electrodes in lead-acid batteries are simple sponge lead plates, our negative electrodes are five-layer assemblies that consist of a carbon electrode, a corrosion barrier, a current collector, a second corrosion barrier and a second carbon electrode. These electrode assemblies are then sandwiched together with conventional separators and positive electrodes to make our battery, which is filled with an acid electrolyte, sealed and connected in series to the other cells. - Source

10/04/07 - Flooded Homes May Be Thing Of The Past Thanks To New Invention
KeelyNet“The Sentinel Hydrosolutions Leak Defense SystemTM is installed on the incoming water line to a home, apartment, or business and constantly monitors water flow,” said Traczewski. “The owner sets the target water flow and the amount of time that is allowed to elapse before an alarm sounds and the water is shut off.” According to Scott Shaw, Sentinel Hydrosolutions COO, the Leak Defense System can measure water flow as little as eight ounces an hour. “Not only will the system prevent potential disasters from a plumbing leak, it can literally pay for itself in the short-term by alerting homeowners to leaky appliances such as toilets and slab leaks that often go undetected for years,” said Shaw. “A study done recently in Portland, Oregon revealed that silent toilet leaks can account for up to 300 gallons of water a day going down the drain without anyone even noticing. That’s about $500 a year literally down the toilet.” More information is available on their website at www.leakdefensesystem.com or toll-free at 866-410-1134. - Source

10/04/07 - The Vacuum strikes back
Modern physics has shown that the vacuum, previously thought of as a state of total nothingness, is really a seething background of virtual particles springing in and out of existence until they can seize enough energy to materialize as *real* particles. In high energy collisions at accelerator labs, some of the original beam energy can be consumed by ripping particle-antiparticle pairs out of the vacuum. Sometimes this process is the very reason for doing the experiment, but sometimes it is only a detriment. - Source

10/04/07 - The Science of Knots Unravelled
KeelyNetTangled telephone cords and electronic cables that come to resemble bird nests can frazzle even the most stoic person. Now researchers have unraveled the mystery behind how such knots form. Smith and UCSD colleague Dorian Raymer ran a series of homespun experiments in which they dropped a string into a box and tumbled it for 10 seconds (one revolution per second). They repeated the string-dropping more than 3,000 times varying the length and stiffness of the string, box size and tumbling speed. Digital photos and video of the tumbling strings revealed: Strings shorter than 1.5 feet (.46 meters) didn't form knots; the likelihood of knotting sharply increased as string length went from 1.5 feet to 5 feet (.46 meters to 1.5 meters); and beyond this length, knotting probability leveled off. Observations could only go so far. “It is virtually impossible to distinguish different knots just by looking at them,” Raymer said. Raymer developed a computer program to try and mimic their observations. From the model, they created a simplified "lifecycle" of a knot from tidy beginning to titanic tangle. Once dropped, the string formed concentric coils. Next, the string's free end weaved through the coils, with a 50 percent likelihood of crossing under or over the coil and following a path to the left or right. The best knotting came from very flexible, long string contained in a large box. "A highly flexible string placed in a very large container will have a higher probability of becoming knotted than a stiff one that's confined in a smaller container," Smith told LiveScience. The researchers suggest that cramped quarters limit the tumbling motion that facilitates the string weaving through the coils. That would explain why knots were less likely to form in smaller compared with larger boxes. While there is no magical knot buster, Smith advised what all sailors, cowboys, electricians, sewers and knitters know: to avoid tangles, keep a cord or string tied in a coil so it can't move. - Source

10/04/07 - UC Berkeley Posts Full Lectures to YouTube
Berkeley is now using YouTube as an important teaching tool. Today marks the first time a university has made full course lecture available via the popular video sharing site. Featuring over 300 hours of videotaped courses initially, officials hope to continue to expand this program. - Source

10/04/07 - Chilli compound fires painkiller
KeelyNetA chemical from chilli peppers may be able to kill pain without affecting touch or movement. This might in theory mean a woman in labour could have an epidural without losing the ability to move her legs, or the sensation of her baby being born. Conventional local anaesthetics affect all nerve cells. But the researchers Harvard team, writing in Nature, said that with capsaicin, the chilli chemical, they can target just pain receptors. - Source

10/04/07 - Self-Discipline May Reduce Alzheimer's Risk
People who are meticulous and finish what they start may have a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, according to a study involving Catholic nuns and priests. The most conscientious and self-disciplined individuals were found to be 89% less likely to develop this form of dementia than their peers over the course of the 12-year study. Volunteers also underwent regular neurological examinations and cognitive tests. Over the lifetime of the study, 176 of the 997 participants developed Alzheimer's disease. However, those with the highest score on the personality test - 40 points or above - had an 89% lower chance of developing the debilitating condition than participants who received 28 points or lower. "These are people who control impulses, and tend to follow norms and rules," Wilson told New Scientist. Previous studies suggest that exercise and intellectual stimulation can decrease the risk of Alzheimer's disease. But the link between self-discipline and a reduced risk of the illness remained strong even after researchers discounted these factors from their study. Subjects still had a 54% lower chance of developing the condition. Exactly why conscientiousness should have an impact on Alzheimer's risk remains unclear, says Wilson. He notes that brain autopsies conducted on 324 of the study's participants failed to resolve the mystery. - Source

10/04/07 - Useless Body Parts (w/pics)
KeelyNetHere is a list of body parts we could all do without. Male Nipples - Lactiferous ducts form before the sex of the fetus is determined. Men have the necessary tissue to produce milk. Wisdom Teeth - Humans used to have to chew a lot plants to get enough food to survive, therefore the extra teeth. Today, only about 5% of the population has a healthy set of Wisdom Teeth. Extrinsic Ear Muscles - Three muscles that made it possible for early man to move their ears independently of their heads, the way that dogs and cats can. These muscles are why some people can learn to wiggle their ears... - Source

10/04/07 - Tattletail GPS System Can Tell on You in Court
A lot of us gizmo goons use GPS all the time now, but it may not have occurred to many of us that our mild-mannered and innocent GPS units are constantly gathering data, including rate of speed, location, and time of day... - Source

10/04/07 - Drug-Spotting 'Meth Gun' Now Being Tested
KeelyNetA county sheriff in Arizona is now field-testing a CDEX METH GUN, which is a $500 device that can spot even tiny quantities of methamphetamine residue on clothing and other surfaces using ultraviolet light. The gun goes into production later this year. Future improvements will detect other drugs, according to the company. Every evangelical church should have one! - Source

10/04/07 - Local Pooch Knows When You're Gonna Die
When Libby the 14-year-old therapy dog enters the room, folks light up. It's when Libby plants her feet firmly on the ground and refuses to enter a room that things get more complicated. Her owner says the therapy poodle knows when someone is about to die. "The first few times, I really didn't put it together," said Marge Stiller, the poodle's owner and trainer. Stiller said when Libby won't pass the threshold, it's because "she has the ability to know -- I don't want to say predict -- know when a person is going to be passing away within 24 hours." And Marge said Libby's track record is pretty "dog-gone" good. - Source

10/04/07 - RSIZR -- Intelligent Image Resizing
rsizr is a [free online] Flash application that lets you resize JPG, PNG, and GIF images on your computer. With rsizr, in addition to normal image rescaling and cropping, you can also resize images using a new image resizing algorithm called seam carving (a method of image retargeting) that tries to keep intact areas in your image that are richer in detail. - Source

10/02/07 - Controversial drug DCA to get first human trials
KeelyNetA potential anti-cancer treatment that attracted massive public interest earlier this year is to be tested on 50 people with brain tumours. The drug, dichloroacetate (DCA), disables the energy-producing mechanism in cancerous cells, although concerns remain over toxicity and side effects such as nerve damage. The Canadian researchers, meanwhile, sought permission from Health Canada to carry out an authorised trial - and now they have it. "We've obtained human ethics approval as well, and we plan to start immediately," says lead researcher Evangelos Michelakis. The team has so far raised $800,000 in public donations to fund the trial. / Click Here and you can help fund this effort. - Source

10/02/07 - It came from space
KeelyNetA team of Canadian and Bolivian geologists have confirmed that a meteorite - not a wayward spy satellite or strange volcanic eruption - carved out a steamy crater in a remote corner of Peru last week. Border police wouldn't let the geologists take their car into Peru, insisting on escorting them to the crater - then restricted them to a half-hour visit. But Jackson says it was long enough to confirm a space rock smashed into the ground near Lake Titicaca on Sept. 15. Local residents heard a thunderous explosion and saw a huge fireball streak across the sky just before noon. Many later claimed to have been sickened by fumes from the crater. The geologists have concluded the "mysterious gases" were steam produced by the heat generated as the space rock smashed into the ground. The geologists saw no sign of illness and believe the symptoms reported last week were the result of fear. "A lot of people there were scared out of their wits," said Jackson, who said Canadians would be just as frightened if a meteorite carved out a crater in their backyard. "I am sure there would be people here with all sorts of migraine headaches and intestinal complaints." No one was hurt, but some debris thrown by the impact punched a hole in the corrugated iron roof of a home about 150 metres southwest of the crater. The crater measured 11 to 12 metres across - much less than the 30 metres that had been reported by some media - and was probably about three metres deep, Jackson said. The Earth is constantly bombarded with rocks and debris from outer space, but most burn up in the atmosphere and never hit the ground. - Source

10/02/07 - Controlling for Size May Also Prevent Cancer
Scientists at Johns Hopkins recently discovered that a chemical chain reaction that controls organ size in animals ranging from insects to humans could mean the difference between normal growth and cancer. The study, published in the Sept. 21 issue of Cell, describes how organs can grow uncontrollably huge and become cancerous when this chain reaction is perturbed. Pan and colleagues previously had discovered in fruit flies that too much Yap supercharges growth-inducing genes and causes organs to overgrow. In the new study designed to see if the same effect occurred in mammals, the research team genetically altered mice to make high levels of Yap protein, but only in liver cells. These animals’ livers grew to be five times the size of a normal mouse liver and often were dotted with large tumors. “We were totally amazed,” says Pan. “Five times is just a huge effect.” When the researchers next looked at a variety of human cancer cells, they found that 20 percent to 30 percent contained increased levels of Yap. “We think it might be the extra Yap in these cells contributing to their cancerous growth,” says Pan. - Source

10/02/07 - Ministry to turn garbage into gas
KeelyNet Energy policymakers hope to turn garbage into gas under an ambitious programme aimed at developing over 10,000 small-scale biogas programmes nationwide over the next five years. The programme, run by the Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency Department, focuses on tapping methane generated from solid waste into a cooking-gas substitute for LPG. Pisamai Sathienyawon, a senior scientist and a DEDE consultant, said shopping mall food courts, large restaurants and fresh markets would all be targeted for participation in the programme. The DEDE now plans to provide machinery and equipment for producing biogas free of charge to 400 public schools in Greater Bangkok next year. By 2011, support would be offered to 1,400 schools nationwide, at an initial cost of 60,000 baht per school. But each project is expected to break even within just two years, thanks to the energy savings generated from biogas. The government had previously focused on large-scale biogas projects processing at over five tonnes a day of solid waste. Processing plants, typically located at factories and large communities, generate electricity with financial support from the government and incentive privileges from the Board of Investment. The DEDE project however aims at a much smaller scale, processing 10 to 20 kilogrammes of waste per day to generate methane of 2.5 cubic metres. The methane in turn is equivalent to two kilogrammes of cooking gas. - Source

10/02/07 - Energy harvesting: the quest for ‘free’ supplies has come of age
People have been fascinated by the idea of ‘free’ energy for hundreds of years, with many scientists and engineers attempting to create perpetual motion machines, even after the law of Conservation of Energy became generally accepted. Unfortunately, losses due to mechanical friction and air resistance mean that no machine can be built that will continue to move forever with no need for additional energy after an initial input. Another view of ‘free’ energy is renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and wave energy, where the supply is unlimited and no financial payment has to be made to use the energy ­- even though considerable investment has to be made in suitable energy-harvesting equipment. If only small amounts of energy are required for a given application, several other options are available. For example, self-winding wrist watches have been manufactured for over 80 years, and kinematic powered quartz watches have been on the market for around 20years. Other electrical and electronic technologies offer additional possibilities. Electricity can be generated from heat anyplace where a temperature difference occurs. That could be on the body, on radiators to meter the heating costs, when monitoring the cooling chain during the transport of refrigerated goods, or in air conditioning systems. - Source

10/02/07 - OAP Invents Car of the Future (Revisited)
KeelyNet
(I looked at the patent reference in the 09/28/07 news item about Willie Gallacher who created an electro-magnetic drive motor which he believes could replace the combustion engine. I typed up the PDF application as you can see its a low voltage EV Gray type air cooled pulse motor. - JWD) / From the patent; An electro-magnet engine which operates via electro-magnetic force which is applied from four electro-magnets and four permanent magnets combined. An adjustable pulse generator/vibrator may be provided to control the switching of several solid state relays. The piston thrust of the engine is made up of the rejection and attraction states which turn a crankshaft in a similar way to a conventional combustion engine. / A battery charger/regulator working in unison witht he four alternators. The combined current produced from the four alternators going directly to the battery charger/regulator giving a flow of current as demanded, which be be much more than that required to activate the four electro-magnets. By adding a four to one ratio, current is available at a lower speed of vehicle, 500 X 4 = 2000 watts at 30MPH. The battery charger/regulator because of technical reasons has to be placed as near to the batteries as possible. / A speed control potentiometer is provided between the batteries and the control box in order to regulate demand. The control box performing the function of supplying the electro-magnets with the required current. / The entire duty of the bi-polar magnets will be the pulling and rejection of the inner pistons which in turn revolves the crankshaft which propels the vehicle when gear is engaged. Each of the eight magnets will be laminated to avoid the buildup of eddy currents and therefore avoid the buildup of heat (which reduces the magnet power - JWD). The four permanent magnets are assisting this pulling and rejecting. / The coercivity of the four permanent magnets willb e 20% greater than that of the electro-bi-polar magnets. As long as this situation exists no de-magnetisation will take place. / Even though eventually the four permanent magnets will reuire to be charged, magnetised, the four magnets are easily removed from the cylinder head. / The Crankshaft - This is a two-stroke system, pistons two and three work together as one unit. Pistons one and four also work as one unit, being attracted on one stroke and being rejected on the other. When pistons two and three are rejecting, when poles are the same, pistons one and four are attracting at this same moment when poles are the opposite which means a powerful thrust of the pistons and a powerful turning of the crankshaft. Although pulling and rejecting it is one movement. The nearest the two magnets will be to each other in the one chamber will be 10mm. This could well be much less. / Alternators - The alternators have been adjusted to increase output at low speeds (eg. 500rpm). A stator winding with smaller wires anda lower number of turns have been used. This decreases output at high speeds which is acceptable as current is required quickly. Specially designed rotor blades, small and positioned to give maximum wind displacement effect, 500 X 4 = 2000 watts at 30mph. / Batteries - The four 6 volt batteries will be of the lead gel deep cycle type. This type of battery can retain a charging current of 80% of the capacity for approximately 10 to 15 minutes, thus being able to cope with a constant charge/discharge cycle. Because the battery can be efficiently charged in such a way within a short period of time it is fully charged without any extra load being placed on it, than is really necessary. Battery capacity could be 360AH/24 volts. / Wind Displacement (cooling) - I have eight rotary blades per alternator, arranged to use every passage of air. With the alteration of the wiring in the alternator, at 30mph more than enough power is produced to activate the four electro-magnets. Even with the air gap the total pulling and rejection power of the 8 magnets is at least 2 tons on each stroke. / Claim - An electro-magnetic system for the powering of a land vehicle. A non-magnetic cylinder block that has no cylinder head attachment. There are four cylinders in the block as one would find today in a four stroke combustion engine. There are four bi-polar electro-magnets and four permanent magnets in the invention. There is an adjustable pulse generator/vibrator to control the switching of the solid state relays. The four permanent magnets have a south pole definition. These permanent magnets are attached to the piston assembly and accordingly the crankshaft which can have a deeper stroke than the drawing illustrates. This is a 24 volt system, comprising four 6 volt batteries. Lead gel, being used in a quick charge/discharge operation. A starter motor for a kickstart will be used. A two push button is used for on and off start/stop. A speed control potentiometer is provided between the batteries and the control box in order to regulate the demand of the electro-magnets. There is a battery charger regulator working in conjunction with the combined current produced from the four alternators and will produce more energy than that required to energise the four electro-magnets, 56 amps. The result is a very powerful thrust and pull which combined equals at least that of a combustion engine. This force of the electro-magnet can be increased considerably, as can any magnet. The magnets used were 70mm. / To view Willie’s invention in full, log on to the Intellectual Property Office website at www.ipo.gov.uk and enter patent number GB2434255. - Source

10/02/07 - UFO and ET secrecy
KeelyNet(From a Canadian online newspaper. - JWD) The UFO problem is a real one. It has involved military personnel around the world for more than fifty years, and is wrapped in secrecy. Over the years, however, enough pieces of the puzzle have emerged to give us a sense of what the picture looks like. What I have tried to do is very simple: to use as many of those pieces as possible in constructing a clear, straightforward, historical narrative of the UFO problem, focusing on the national security dimensions. Because the subject of UFOs has become little more than a cultural joke, it is important to stress at the outset why it is not a joke, not entertainment, but something worthy of serious attention. Some will dismiss this all as "conspiracy theory," one of many dotting the American landscape. In popular culture, the very term serves as an automatic dismissal, as though no one ever acts in secret. Let us bring some perspective and common sense to this issue. The United States is comprised of large organizations - corporations, bureaucracies, "interest groups" and the like - which are conspiratorial by nature. That is, they are hierarchical, their important decisions are made in secret by a few key decision-makers, and they are not above lying about their activities. Such is the nature of organizational behaviour. "Conspiracy," in this key sense, is a way of life around the globe. "We think we're Luke Skywalker," says a friend of mine, "when we're actually Darth Vader." America is a country with a bad conscience, nominally a republic and free society, but in reality an empire and oligarchy, vaguely aware of its own oppression, within and without. I have used the term national security state" to describe its structures of power. It is a convenient way to express the military and intelligence communities, as well as the worlds that feed upon them, such as defence contractors and other underground, nebulous entities. Its fundamental traits are secrecy, wealth, independence, power, and duplicity. The UFO cover-up (precisely the right phrase) is one secret among many within the American national security state. Like other areas within its domain, the UFO problem has been handled secretly, with great deception, and significant resources. The secrecy stems from a pervasive and fundamental element of life in our world: that those who are at the top of the heap will always take whatever steps necessary to maintain the status quo. - Source

10/02/07 - Bio-Feedback for Home Energy
In US Pat 6,993,417, entitled “System for energy sensing analysis and feedback,” energy-related information is gathered by way of EMAC (Energy Monitoring And Control) points. EMAC points communicate with a network and are typically installed at electrical junction boxes used for power plug receptacles and wall switches. Portable EMAC points are also described and claimed in the issued patent. “This invention implements a sort of Bio-Feedback for Home Energy," said Osann, “increasing user awareness and enabling more effective and efficient energy usage.” Divisional Application 11/825,975 entitled “Temperature Control System with Multiple Networked Sensors” includes a single smart thermostat that controls a single HVAC source according to information received through a network from multiple temperature sensors placed at different locations within the space. “This mitigates the common problem in multi-cubicle or multi-office environments with a single thermostat where temperatures vary substantially across the space, and with the time-of-day,” Osann added. The system is also applicable to HVAC systems for the home. - Source

10/02/07 - Seabrakes - a must have for offshore sailors?
KeelyNet(This might have aerodynamic applications. - JWD) Sea winds could blow anything from 40 to 100 knots and caused lethal following seas. Inventor John Abernathy now recalls: ‘Conditions were so severe that day that the sea started breaking aboard - we broached, and then we got pooped. I had already tried a conventional sea anchor and the parachute style drogue in these conditions and nothing had worked. ‘As it happened I had an old stainless steel bucket on board that was rolling around the deck, hitting me on the shins. In desperation I hacked it with a tomahawk and made some holes to create less drag, put some rope through it and threw it over. In an instant it went from a life and death situation to going back and putting on the kettle. The difference was so incredible, I immediately thought, ‘I am on to something here!’ - Source

10/02/07 - Tether mishap 'slingshots' capsule into space
KeelyNetA small space capsule has been lost in Earth orbit after a space tether experiment went awry on Tuesday. The capsule will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere and parachute down at an unknown location. In theory, the set-up should have acted as a giant pendulum, providing enough momentum to send Fotino back to Earth. Watch a video animation of the process here. But the mission hit a snag, literally, when the tether failed to unwind at full speed. Instead of deploying to 30 km, it reached only 8.5 km before releasing Fotino. The idea is for an orbiting satellite to lower its return capsule towards Earth on the end of a long tether. As the tether is extended, the Coriolis effect causes it to swing ahead of the satellite. Once fully deployed, gravity becomes the dominant force and the capsule begins to swing back towards the vertical. Finally, when sufficient momentum is built up and when the tether is at the right point, the capsule is released, sending it back through the Earth’s atmosphere. - Source

10/02/07 - 'Floating Bridge' Property of Water Found
KeelyNet(This brings to mind rheology and electrostatic speakers. - JWD) When exposed to a high-voltage electric field, water in two beakers climbs out of the beakers and crosses empty space to meet, forming the water bridge. The liquid bridge, hovering in space, appears to the human eye to defy gravity. Initially, the bridge forms due to electrostatic charges on the surface of the water. The electric field then concentrates inside the water, arranging the water molecules to form a highly ordered microstructure. This microstructure remains stable, keeping the bridge intact. The scientists reached the microstructure hypothesis after observing that the density of the water changes between the beaker edges and the center of the bridge. A microstructure consisting of an arrangement of water molecules could have a similar density variation. In their experiments, the scientists also discovered the existence of high frequency oscillations inside the bridge, and they observed corresponding inner structures with a high-speed camera and visualization system. Unlike the much slower surfaces waves, these high frequency oscillations weren’t caused by surface tension. Rather, the scientists predict that the oscillating structures were triggered by the waviness of the voltage supply itself. - Source

10/02/07 - Make Noise Reduction Headphones for $20
KeelyNetYou can head down to your local stereo store and get fleeced for about $150 (or more) to buy a good pair of noise reduction headphones; or you can watch this video demonstration from Metacafe on how to hack your very own noise reducing headphone set for around $20. You can find the headphones that the video talks about at any home improvement store-all together, this simple DIY project takes about five minutes. - Source

10/02/07 - The amazing Golden Ratio
KeelyNetArtists reckon that the "Golden Ratio", also called the "Golden Section Phi" and nature's most astonishing number, is the ratio that controls the proportions of all beautiful objects. It is said that a well-proportioned face must lie in what is called a "golden rectangle" of dimensions in the ratio of approximately 1 to 1.6. Not only living forms, but also works of art and buildings, including the splendid domes of Persia and the Athens Parthenon, are found to adhere to this rule. In biology it controls the distribution of the leaves around the stem of a plant such that they receive the maximum amount of light. It was found that the distribution of their angle of rotation or distances from one another followed terms as in the sequence 1/2, 1/3, 2/5, 3/8, 5/13, 8/21, 13/34, in which the numerator a(n) of the quotients represents the number of turns we climb, say, around the stem in such that any one leaf returns to a position exactly above the point where it started, whereas the denominator b(n) represents the number of leaves in between. A fascinating phenomenon associated with the Golden Ratio is its regular appearance in such objects of nature as nautili and other shells. Such shells imitate a curve called in mathematics the "logarithmic spiral", first investigated by Jacob Bernoulli in the 18th century. This was the second curve in history, next to the circle, to have its length calculated, since although it has an infinite number of loops, its length approaches a finite value. - Source

10/02/07 - Clean Tough Stains With White Vinegar
KeelyNetNo need to scrub fruitlessly at toilet bowl rings, try pouring in some white vinegar (maybe a cup or two) and leaving it overnight. Everything came off in about a minute after that. The tip goes on to add that if you're in a hurry, you can leave the vinegar in there for as little as twenty minutes; I've gotten this to work on showers and sinks as well. - Source

10/02/07 - Orion receives award for saving energy
Orion Energy Systems received the Super Nova Award from the Alliance to Save Energy at a gala event on Sept. 20. "Orion has transformed the industry with a high intensity fluorescent technology platform called the Illuminator," said Petri. "This platform uses half the energy of traditional high intensity discharge lighting systems and typically provides significantly more light. I have been to Orion to see the product myself, and it is really an ingenious invention. "This technology has been adopted by over 78 of the Fortune 500 companies and has saved consumers over $202 million in energy costs. In my district alone, 151 businesses are using Orion products to reduce their energy expenditures." - Source

10/02/07 - Unutterably Evil
KeelyNetWhy do atheists speak out? This is why. I confess to being puzzled by the idea that I should consider a being who consigns anyone who does not worship him to his satisfaction to an eternity of agonizing torment as "wise," when my own, pitifully inadequate notions of human wisdom tell me that a being like that is by definition a horrendously wicked and evil tyrant. Any God who refuses to make his existence unambiguously clear, and then is willing to consign individuals to eternal torture simply for doubting his existence, can only be unutterably evil, and the fact that Christians think that such a God is a paragon of all that is good is a view that quite simply perverts any meaning the notion of "goodness" could possibly have. For a Christian to hold such a view and still think he is "better off than the atheist" reveals the intellectually and morally corrupting force of Christian "faith" more powerfully than any atheist critique ever could. - Source

10/02/07 - 'Cold Fusion Torch' Free Energy Device; developed in Ohio Basement
(SPOOF/HOAX/JOKE) Today, Dr. Collier, a 76 year old retired physicist from Ohio State University discovered an unlimited power source following the research done by Dr. Edward Mullove a friend and colleague previously from MIT. A Fusion Torch is a concept for the application of ultra-high temperature plasmas found in fusion reactors. Dr. Collier discovered how to contain this reaction in a very small space at very low temperatures using a magnetic field. He said he finally discovered a way to control the reaction in such a way so that he could "Turn the thing off without blowing up my house!" He said his most difficult problem was having enough energy to start and stop the device. His neighbors often complained of power outages in the area and strange vibrations shaking the ground in the neighborhood. However, once started, it could power it's own "containment field" with almost no loss of the overall power output. The device literally makes no noise beyond a slight hum on start up. He said the loss of maintaining the magnetic field is less than .000000000000000386%. This reporter was stunned at the results of a device the size of a trash can, powering Dr. Colliers entire house for a week on the energy from a single banana peal. The ramifications of the device on the open market are mind boggling. "No more grid based energy systems for one good example!" Dr. Collier exclaimed. He has hired three private security firms for protection of the device and hopes to introduce it on the open market this year. He promises that "gas prices with drop to .22 per gallon within a year of this device reaching the market." He said with a grin on his face. - Source

10/02/07 - How to Block Your Number
KeelyNetIf you want to block your cell phone number from showing up on other phones (for whatever reason), you can do it temporarily simply by dialing *67 before the number you're calling. According to tech how-to site How To Do Things, you won't have any way to tell this is working (it does), but if you want to reassure yourself just call another phone number that has caller ID to double-check that your number, indeed, is blocked. - Source

10/02/07 - 6 die from brain-eating amoeba in lakes
It sounds like science fiction but it's true: A killer amoeba living in lakes enters the body through the nose and attacks the brain where it feeds until you die. Even though encounters with the microscopic bug are extraordinarily rare, it's killed six boys and young men this year. The spike in cases has health officials concerned, and they are predicting more cases in the future. / This is a heat-loving amoeba. As water temperatures go up, it does better. In future decades, as temperatures rise, expect to see more cases. The amoeba typically live in lake bottoms, grazing off algae and bacteria in the sediment. People become infected when they wade through shallow water and stir up the bottom. If someone allows water to shoot up the nose the amoeba can latch onto the person's olfactory nerve. The amoeba destroys tissue as it makes its way up to the brain. People who are infected tend to complain of a stiff neck, headaches and fevers. In the later stages, they'll show signs of brain damage such as hallucinations and behavioral changes. Once infected, most people have little chance of survival. - Source

10/02/07 - Secede from the United States?
KeelyNet(Odd this was posted Sept. 27, 2007 and is now not found except in cache. - JWD) Please explain the Vermont secessionist movement and why many Vermonters support it. Why do you support it? What do you think might happen to Vermont if secession does not happen? RW: The Vermont secession impulse is born out of our understanding that the United States - once a great republic - has become an unsustainable Empire governed by a very few... - Source

10/02/07 - Why Is US Grad School Mainly Non-US Students?
KeelyNetI am a new graduate student in Computer Engineering. I would like to get my MS and possibly my Ph.D. I have learned that 90% of my department is from India and many others are from China. All the students come here to study and there are only 7 US citizens in the engineering program this year. Why is that? I have heard that many of the smarter Americans go into medicine or the law and that is why there are so few Americans in engineering. Is this true? - Source

10/02/07 - New AT&T: We'll cut off your Internet connection for criticizing us
AT&T has brought down new Terms of Service for its network customers. From now on, AT&T T can terminate your connection for conduct that "tends to damage the name or reputation of AT&T T, or its parents, affiliates and subsidiaries." So AT&T customers aren't allowed to write/podcast/vlog critical things about AT&T, its billing-practices, or its cooperation with illegal NSA wiretapping, on pain of having their connections disconnected. - Source

$5 Alt Science MP3s to listen while working/driving/jogging
KeelyNetNo time to sit back and watch videos? Here are 15 interesting presentations you can download for just $5 each and listen to while driving, working, jogging, etc. An easy way to learn some fascinating new things that you will find of use. Easy, cheap and simple, better than eBooks or Videos. Roughly 50MB per MP3. - Source

15 New Alternative Science DVDs & 15 MP3s
An assortment of alternative science videos that provide many insights and inside information from various experimenters. Also MP3s extracted from these DVDs that you can listen to while working or driving. Reference links for these lectures and workshops by Bill Beaty of Amateur Science on the Dark Side of Amateur Science, Peter Lindemann on the World of Free Energy, Norman Wootan on the History of the EV Gray motor, Dan Davidson on Shape Power and Gravity Wave Phenomena, Lee Crock on a Method for Stimulating Energy, Doug Konzen on the Konzen Pulse Motor, George Wiseman on the Water Torch and Jerry Decker on Aether, ZPE and Dielectric Nano Arrays. Your purchase of these products helps support KeelyNet, thanks! - Source to Buy

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