09/30/05 - New machine that can change almost anything into Oil
(Thanks Ross for the headsup on this, I saw this plant in operation, processing turkey parts into oil in Carthage, Missouri last year - JWD) A tall, affable entrepreneur has assembled a team of scientists, former government leaders, and deep-pocketed investors to develop and sell what he calls the thermal depolymerization process, or TDP. The process is designed to handle almost any waste product imaginable, including turkey offal, tires, plastic bottles, harbor-dredged muck, old computers, municipal garbage, cornstalks, paper-pulp effluent, infectious medical waste, oil-refinery residues, even biological weapons such as anthrax spores. According to Appel, waste goes in one end and comes out the other as three products, all valuable and environmentally benign: high-quality oil, clean-burning gas, and purified minerals that can be used as fuels, fertilizers, or specialty chemicals for manufacturing. Unlike other solid-to-liquid-fuel processes such as cornstarch into ethanol, this one will accept almost any carbon-based feedstock. If a 175-pound man fell into one end, he would come out the other end as 38 pounds of oil, 7 pounds of gas, and 7 pounds of minerals, as well as 123 pounds of sterilized water. More info at Changing World Technologies
09/30/05 - Piezoelectric film and vibration makes planes lighter
(Thanks Bert for the headsup - JWD) Qantas engineer Ian Salmon tested wing sections covered with a piezoelectric material that vibrates when a current is applied to it. When the tone of the sound was at its most effective pitch, Salmon's wing panel achieved 22 percent more lift than it would have without the piezoelectric hum. Vibrating wings could be used to make planes safer, reduce wing size and provide another element of control for pilots, Salmon said. But don't expect the wings on commercial jets to start humming away any time soon. The technique only works well on smaller planes such as light aircraft and military-style unmanned aerial vehicles like the Predator. It's all about changing the air flow from an unstable laminar flow to a turbulent flow that increases lift, Cummings said. The vibrations change the way the air behaves when it starts to break away from the wing's surface, sucking it closer.
09/30/05 - Update on the LUTEC 1000 magetic motor/generator
The controlled periodic interruption of a rotating permanent magnetic field, by the temporary and precise introduction of another magnetic field, causes the secondary effect of the naturally occurring polarity flip of the permanent magnet influence, to be accessed, harnessed, and applied to assist in the rotors on-going revolution direction. And most importantly, he agrees that this flip effect is influenced by voltage rather than current, and also allows the flip back to the original polarity to naturally occur at no cost of current, so the rotor is driven onwards at a very small cost of electricity. The overall effect of all this allows the motor to run for a relatively insignificant cost of input energy compared to any other electric motor. It is what is causing the Lutec motors and generators to produce such high relative electrical output compared to input, and to run cool. In the example quoted by Jacco Van Der Worp 15 times more output than input is given. We know that we can get much bigger returns than that. In fact at present we are demonstrating 19 to 20 times more output than input, using a switching system Lou has designed. It is not solid state electronics, but may yet prove to be suitable to go into the production of a home use size electricity generator. For those technical types it actually displays a pure coefficient of performance by combining three separate field effect characteristics. So we would say that if one was using the terminology of the day, then technically it’s not a free energy machine, but a highly efficient machine with a C.O.P. of 20+ or able to produce 20 times more output than input.
09/30/05 - New way to produce hydrogen using half the energy
Scientists at North Carolina State University have discovered a nanoscale method for extracting hydrogen from water that requires only half the energy of current hydrogen production methods. The researchers discovered that “defective” carbon nanotubes make it easier to “break” water molecules and extract hydrogen. The current method for extracting hydrogen from water involves heating water molecules to 2,000 degrees Celsius. The high temperature “breaks” the molecule, and hydrogen is released. “We studied water for many months and ran many different calculations, and we ended up showing that if you want to break a water molecule, you spend a lot less energy if you do it on this defective carbon material than if you do it by simply heating the molecule until it breaks,” Buongiorno-Nardelli said. “You can reduce the energy necessary by a factor of two - you can do it at less than 1,000 degrees.”
09/30/05 - Solar Chimneys - using the power of Spin
The energy released by a large hurricane can exceed the energy consumption of the human race for a whole year, and even an average tornado has a power similar to that of a large power station. If only mankind could harness that energy, rather than being at its mercy. Louis Michaud, a Canadian engineer who works at a large oil company, believes he has devised a way to do just that, by generating artificial whirlwinds that can be controlled and harnessed. He calls his invention the “atmospheric vortex engine”. His idea works on a similar principle to a solar chimney, which consists of a tall, hollow cylinder surrounded by a large greenhouse. The sun heats the air in the greenhouse, and the hot air rises. But its only escape route is via the chimney. A turbine at the base of the chimney generates electricity as the air rushes by. A small solar chimney was operated successfully in Spain in the 1980s, and EnviroMission, an Australian firm, is planning to build a 1,000-metre-high example in New South Wales. But the efficiency of such a system is proportional to the height of the chimney, notes Mr Michaud, which is limited by practical considerations. His scheme replaces the chimney with a tornado-like vortex of spinning air, which could extend several kilometres into the atmosphere. More on the Solar Chimney 1 and Solar Chimney 2.
09/30/05 - Manchester Bobber to tap ocean waves to generate electricity
The Manchester Bobber's inventive features utilise the rise and fall (or 'bobbing') of the water surface. This movement transmits energy, which is then extracted by the mechanics to drive a generator and produce electricity.
The vision is to have a series of Bobbers working together to generate electricity. One concept which is currently being explored is the use of decommissioned offshore rigs as platforms for the devices. The devices unique features include: * The vulnerable mechanical and electrical components are housed in a protected environment well above sea level, which makes for ease of accessibility, * All mechanical and electrical components are readily available, resulting in high reliability compared to other devices, with a large number of more sophisticated components, * The Manchester Bobber will respond to waves from any direction without requiring adjustment, * The ability to maintain and repair specific 'Bobber' generators (independent of others in a linked group) means that generation supply to the network can continue uninterrupted.
09/29/05 - Seaweed as BioFuel
(A local fellow told me Jacque Cousteau had experimented with seaweed to make biofuel with great success..I could not find anything about him involved in it, but found this. - JWD) REMEMBER the names sargassum and Sostera marina: if a group of Japanese scientists is to be believed, the fate of humanity may rest on colossal floating islands of the stuff. The team envisages 100 vast nets full of quick-growing seaweed, each measuring six miles by six miles, floating off the northeast coast of Japan. The seaweed in each net, growing to a weight of 270,000 tonnes a year, will absorb prodigious quantities of greenhouse gases and convert them to oxygen before being harvested 12 months later as a rich source of biomass energy. Dr Notoya believes that Sostera marina and sargassum, herded to the right parts of the ocean, will grow up to 40ft every year, absorbing about 36 tonnes of carbon dioxide in the process. Those seaweeds are also popular fare for a variety of fish whose stocks have dwindled. The most critical part of the plan is to then convert the seaweed into useful energy - a process that draws on technology produced by the Mitsubishi Research Institute. When blasted with superheated steam, seaweed discharges hydrogen and carbon monoxide gases that can be used to create a biofuel, which, in turn, discharges no extra carbon dioxide when burnt.
09/29/05 - Using weird science to bias/change sports wins/losses
That odd feeling of being stared at? It's not a coincidence -- lab studies of remote attention show that the human nervous system reacts when someone is looking at you (even if you're blindfolded). That's why most of us freeze in front of a crowd. We can't handle all that energy unless we're named Curt and can actually feed off negativity. The flip side is that when positive thoughts are directed at the lab subject, his EEG brain waves become more coherent and balanced. Maybe that's what 35,000 Fenway fans do for the Sox's brain waves. Then there's Dr. Wasaru Emoto's studies in Japan. His photographs document that the crystalline structure of water molecules can be changed by the directed positive thoughts of people nearby. It sounds corny, I know, but data are data (see the movie ''What the Bleep Do We Know?" for details). Remember that the human body is 65 percent water, and think again about the impact of fans' good wishes and fervent hopes on all of those Soxian water molecules on the field. As for those ''fans," it's fitting that the word is short for ''fanatic," which comes from a Latin word meaning ''possessed by a demon or a deity." So why not harness this untapped energy? That's where the research on distant prayer comes in. If so-called intercessory prayer from people hundreds of miles from the hospital can help cardiac patients recover (as at least one controlled study has shown), then what happens when the members of Red Sox Nation begin to pray at their local branch of the Church of the Carmine Hose? Maybe players' physiologies are affected as much as heart patients'; maybe batting averages are enhanced as much as electrocardiograms.
09/29/05 - Shredded tires to benefit landfills
Timothy Stark, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Krishna Reddy, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago, recently evaluated the use of shredded tires as a drainage material in waste-containment systems. Shredding tires into chips roughly 4 inches by 6 inches, they report, offers a simple and cost-effective way of providing drainage for modern landfills, remediating older landfills, and disposing of mountains of scrap tires. The drainage layer prevents water from percolating through the waste and polluting the ground water, Reddy said. Typically, the drainage layer is composed of sand or gravel, which must be purchased and transported to the landfill. "Our research shows that replacing the sand or gravel with a layer of tire chips works just as well and costs less," Stark said. "The tires must be shredded for disposal anyway, so there is fairly little expense compared to buying and hauling sand or gravel." The remediation of old landfills could consume huge quantities of scrap tires. "A drainage layer one-foot-thick covering one acre requires about 70,000 tires," Stark said. "A typical landfill covers 10 to 20 acres, and there are about 150 abandoned landfills in Illinois, alone, that are in need of some degree of remediation." Shredded tires also could be used as backfill behind retaining walls and in other locations where sand or gravel is commonly used, the researchers report.
09/29/05 - Aids and Oranges
An Australian pharmaceutical company said on Tuesday a naturally occurring chemical extracted from oranges can be used to treat HIV/AIDS, influenza, SARS and the common cold. Citrofresh International Ltd. said Europe's Retroscreen Virology Laboratory had found its Citrofresh bioflavanoid compound to be effective against the HIV-1 virus, the human influenza A virus including Avian influenza or bird flu, the Urbani SARS virus and the human rhinovirus.
09/29/05 - Beneficial effects of low-level radiation
Hormesis is defined as the stimulating effect of small doses of substances, which in larger doses are inhibitory. In 1981, T.D. Luckey revived `hormesis' with reference to ionising radiation backing it up with 1250 articles. The effects observed included the growth of algae under X-irradiation, growth of peas, increase in life span of invertebrates and insects and seedling stimulation by X-rays. Luckey wrote a very interesting book titled Radiation Hormesis. In 1991, the International Commission on Radiological Protection stated: "There is some experimental evidence that radiation can act to stimulate a variety of cellular functions including proliferation and repair. Such stimulation is not necessarily beneficial. In some circumstances, radiation appears also to enhance immunological responses and to modify balance of hormones. In particular radiation may be able to stimulate the repair of prior radiation damage, thus decreasing its consequences or may be able to improve immunological surveillance, thus strengthening the body's natural mechanisms."
09/29/05 - Pre-Industrial humans impacted environment with grassland burning
‘Looking at the last 2000 years, we’ve found much higher than expected levels of methane from forest and grassland fires until about 1000 years ago when these emissions began to drop dramatically,’ said the paper’s lead author, Dr Dominic Ferretti, of NIWA. ‘This tallies well with both natural climate change and human land use.’ The analysis suggests that over the period 0-1500 AD, the indigenous population of the Americas regularly burned grassland and woodland areas for agriculture and hunting. But the indigenous population plummeted after European explorers arrived, and accordingly so did the extent of the burning and its methane by-product. The results also indicate that methane emissions from wildfires are likely to be higher during warm and dry periods, such as El Niño events, and may therefore increase with future climate change.
09/29/05 - Microgrids and Peer-to-Peer power networks
Microgrids are small community networks that supply electricity and heat. Microgrids, say the researchers, could easily integrate alternative energy production, such as wind or solar, into the electricity network. "This would save something like 20 to 30% of our emissions with hardly anyone knowing it," he told the BBC News website. "A microgrid is a collection of small generators for a collection of users in close proximity," explained Dr Markvart, whose research appears in the Royal Academy of Engineering's Ingenia magazine. "It supplies heat through the household, but you already have cables in the ground, so it is easy to construct an electricity network. Then you create some sort of control network." That network could be made into a smart grid using more sophisticated software and grid computing technologies. As an analogy, the microgrids could work like peer-to-peer file-sharing technologies, such as BitTorrents, where demand is split up and shared around the network of "users".
09/29/05 - Brain blood flow pattern reveals liars
A scientist at the Medical University of South Carolina has found that magnetic resonance imaging machines also can serve as lie detectors. The study found MRI machines, which are used to take images of the brain, are more than 90 percent accurate at detecting deception, said Dr. Mark George, a distinguished professor of psychiatry, radiology and neurosciences. The MRI images show that more blood flows to parts of the brain associated with anxiety and impulse control when people lie. More blood also flows to the part of the brain handling multitasking because it is hard for people to keep track of lies they have told.
09/29/05 - Senator Dodd targets out-of-control price gougers
Now that President Bush has lectured the general public about driving habits, says Senator Christopher Dodd, he should turn his attention to his friends in the oil industry and lecture them about grabbing big profits. “This is clearly price gouging by the big oil companies, some of whom boast about increasing prices while cutting back production,” Dodd said. “These people are out of control. And they can get away with it because they've got an administration that's their pal." Dodd is co-sponsoring legislation that would end excess profits and instead provide companies with incentives for exploring alternate sources of energy.
09/29/05 - Seaweed could make junk food healthier
The highly-fibrous seaweed extract, alginate, could be used to increase the fibre content of cakes, burgers and other types of food which usually contain large amounts of fat and a low degree of healthy nutrients, say the team. They believe it will be a valuable weapon in the international battle against obesity, diabetes and heart disease and diseases such as bowel cancer. The paper shows that alginate has been proved to strengthen mucus, the body's natural protection of the gut wall, can slow digestion down, and can slow the uptake of nutrients in the body. Moreover, alginate is high in fibre and has been proved to be palatable and safe, and as such is already in widespread use by the food industry as a gelling agent, to reconstitute powdered foods, and to thicken the frothy head of premium lagers. Studies have shown that eating high-fibre diets can help reduce the incidence of diseases such as bowel cancer. Good sources of fibre are fruit and vegetables, brown bread and cereals like bran flakes.
09/29/05 - What makes an idea spread in a 'viral' way
For an idea to spread, it needs to be sent and received. No one "sends" an idea unless: a. they understand it, b. they want it to spread,
c. they believe that spreading it will enhance their power (reputation, income, friendships) or their peace of mind, d. the effort necessary to send the idea is less than the benefits. No one "gets" an idea unless: a. the first impression demands further investigation, b. they already understand the foundation ideas necessary to get the new idea, c. they trust or respect the sender enough to invest the time. Notice that ideas never spread because they are important to the originator. Notice too that a key dynamic in the spread of the idea is the capsule that contains it. If it's easy to swallow, tempting and complete, it's a lot more likely to get a good start.
09/29/05 - The Implosion Researcher and buzzwords to fool the unwary
I've been reading the BBC's health website - on the importance of drinking water - and it seems we missed a very exciting discovery: "Implosion researchers have found that if water is put through a spiral, its electrical field changes and it then appears to have a potent, restorative effect on cells." This, speaking as someone who now writes for the news pages, is "news". They even have further details on the water research: "In one study, seedlings watered with spiralised water grew significantly faster, higher and stronger than those given ordinary water." So Dr Quentin Arbuthnot (FRS) inquires innocently to the BBC complaints department, with his eminently reasonable questions: "What is an implosion researcher? And what is the electrical field of water?" he begins. "How does your correspondent believe it 'changes', and how was this measured?" Too vague. Bring it back to the specifics, Quentin: "What, pray, was the 'potent restorative effect on cells' and how was this measured? And please, what is the reference for the research referred to, which shows that seedlings in this special water grow 'significantly faster, higher, and stronger'?"
That was the beginning of August. Three weeks later, Quentin receives the following: "Thank you for your interesting comments. The author of this piece is getting in contact with the researchers who provided the information and will endeavour to get answers to each of your questions." That was a month ago. A clarification: this is not a cultural issue, and this is not about alternative science versus western medicine. It is about the far simpler issue of a proper media organisation presenting made-up marketing rubbish as if it was scientific fact.
09/29/05 - Cow Power
"Manure is heated in that pit, methanogenic bugs create methane and it's burned in that Cat (Caterpillar brand) engine and that Cat engine is running a generator producing electricity." Two dairy farmers in Stephenson County are using the convertors to create renewable energy, not just for their farms, but for nearby homes. During an interview Wednesday Scheider told 13 News, "As we speak energy is going out on the grids." For every 5 cows, they get a kilowatt of energy. That's enough electricy for one house. Scheider says, "We're not having to burn fossil fuels to create it so that's a good thing." State Representative Jim Sacia adds, "We have this renewable energy literally coming out the back end of a cow." After the manure is burned, the leftover product is used as cow bedding, so it's a dual benefit for the farmer. And it also takes away a lot of the smell.
09/29/05 - Universal Remote Codes
Universal remote controls are a dime a dozen these days, and I bought one as a backup to my other remotes. The only problem with these things is that you need to know the codes of the remotes you want to emulate, and those codes are usually in the manual. Of course I tend to lose manuals like pens, so I figured I would put the codes online where I could find them. In time the site evolved as more links were added, and here we are today.
09/29/05 - Skyscraper farms
Tens of thousands of empty storage containers are stacked in towers along I-95 across from the harbor in Newark, New Jersey. They're heaped there in perpetuity, too cheap to be shipped back to Asia but too expensive to melt down. Where many might see a pile of garbage, Lior Hessel sees, of all things, an organic farm. Those storage containers would be ideal housing for miniature farms, he believes, stacked one upon another like an agricultural skyscraper, all growing fresh organic produce for millions of wealthy consumers. And since the crops would be grown with artificial lighting, servers, sensors and robots, the cost of labor would consist of a single computer technician's salary. OrganiTech can supply a complete set of robotic equipment plus greenhouse for $2 million. A system the size of a tennis court can produce 145,000 bags of lettuce leaves per year -- that's a yield similar to a 100-acre traditional farm. According to the company, it costs 27 cents to produce a single head of lettuce with its system, compared to about 18 cents per head of lettuce grown in California fields. Factor in the transportation costs and suddenly the automated greenhouse grower saves as much as 43 cents a head. Add to that the fact that OrganiTech's system is entirely free of pesticides (the greenhouses keep positive air pressure inside the structure, so few if any insects can fly in) and are grown hydroponically (without soil) so nutrients, fertilizers and water requirements are one-third to one-fifth the needs of soil-grown lettuce. That means the lettuce can be marketed as water-friendly and organic, which adds to the premium consumers are willing to pay.
09/29/05 - Freeze dried burials ecologically beneficial
Swedes will then have the chance to bury their dead according to the pioneering method, which involves freezing the body, dipping it in liquid nitrogen and gently vibrating it to shatter it into powder. This is put into a small box made of potato or corn starch and placed in a shallow grave, where it will disintegrate within six to 12 months. People are to be encouraged to plant a tree on the grave. It would feed off the compost formed from the body, to emphasise the organic cycle of life. The technique was conceived by a Swedish biologist, Susanne Wiigh-Masak, 49, who said: "Mulching was nature's original plan for us, and that's what used to happen to us at the start of humanity - we went back into the soil. "But we need to tell people in this day and age that this can once again be a dignified and comfortable option." According to Mrs Wiigh-Masak's method, which she has called "promession" - the promise to return to the earth what emerged from the earth - the dead body is frozen and dried, using liquid nitrogen. A mechanical vibration then causes the body to fall apart within 60 seconds before a vacuum removes the water. Then a metal separator picks out metals such as artificial hips and dental fillings.
09/28/05 - Selling the Moon
My favorite economics professor tells a story about a group of college students that share a refrigerator. The refrigerator often runs out of food because the students are more interested in eating the food than stocking it. The dishes in the sink tend to pile up. These are classic cases of overconsumption and underinvestment when there are not exclusive property rights, a problem economists call the “Tragedy of the Commons”. The Moon has a similar problem. It is a commons. The property rights there are not exclusive. If there is one person who wants to squat on a homestead on the Moon and build a shack and another who wants to build a rocket port, who should get to? In the first-come-first-serve world of races to claim and use common property, the shack would get built if the shack builder got there first. In the property rights world, a rich shack builder who likes a view could get the shack built only if he could pay (or was not willing to take) the money offered by the rocket port developer. The land could lie fallow for years while the rocket port builder gathered the money. It might never get developed.
09/27/05 - Plasma Pencil to cut away bacteria and in future, tumors
Scientists have unveiled a 'plasma pencil', a handheld device that generates a thin plume of charged gas that can kill bacteria, and could one day etch away tumours without damaging surrounding tissue. Plasmas are soups of charged ions and electrons. They are generated anywhere that atoms are stripped of their electrons: in solar flares or around lightning bolts, for example. Their violent birth means that the ions move very quickly, so plasmas have temperatures of thousands of degrees. But Laroussi's device produces a room-temperature plasma that can be used safely on patients. "I have put my hand in the plume many times without anything happening," says Laroussi, who describes the device in the journal Applied Physics Letters1. Although the beam has no effect on skin, previous experiments in Laroussi's lab have shown that Escherichia coli bacteria are killed when the plasma breaks open their cell walls. Now the team hopes to use the pencil to clean up the plaque-generating bugs that lie in the nooks and crannies of our mouth. The five-centimetre-long plasma plume is generated when a stream of helium gas containing a trace of oxygen passes between two high-voltage copper electrodes. Helium is very difficult to ionize, but the plume's oxygen molecules break into two highly reactive oxygen atoms, which then attack the bacteria. The key to keeping the plasma pencil cool is its kilovolt electric field, which switches on and off thousands of times a second. This kicks the light electrons into high speeds, while the heavier ions are too weighty to be moved much by each zap of voltage. "It gives the electrons a lot of energy very quickly," says Laroussi. Unlike conventional chemical treatments that kill bacteria, there are no residues to wash away afterwards. "It's essentially a chemical etching process where the reactive chemicals are being generated at the flick of a switch," says Graham. The plasma pencil might eventually be used by doctors to kill off tumour cells, he adds. Surgical blades can often damage surrounding tissue, but the plasma pencil could be adapted to eat away at the cancer cells a few layers at a time.
09/27/05 - High Oil Prices: Bitter, But Necessary Medicine
Oddly enough, some carmakers are even starting to take a serious interest in battery-powered cars again. Mitsubishi has accelerated its time table and plans to introduce an all-electric car by 2008, followed by Subaru. At least two Chinese carmakers also have electric cars in development. Abandoned by the larger OEMs like GM and Toyota in the late 1990s because of cost issues -- and not reliability or range, as it turns out -- electric cars using state-of-the-art battery and drive technology -- including electric motors in the wheels -- promise 200 km (125 miles) of driving range between charges for a fraction of the current cost of gasoline. Whether we like it or not, high oil prices are with us to stay and the sooner we adapt to them, the less disruptive future declines in global oil production will be. Driving 25 miles in a conventional gasoline car will cost you -- at today's price --about $2.60 for fuel. The same trip in an efficient battery car will cost you between 30-60 cents depending on local utility rates. If you drive 125 miles a week commuting to and from work, you only have to recharge the car on weekends at a total cost of around $1.50-$3.00 compared to $13.00. Batteries in the car should not need replacing for at least 100,000 miles. That's more than 15 years of driving 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year. And the "electric fuel” comes from largely indigenous sources including coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydroelectric and increasingly, wind and solar.
09/27/05 - Blind Item #34 - Hitachi Videocam with hard drive
(In line with an earlier post about the $800 JVC videocam that uses a 30gb hard drive for about 7 hours recording time - JWD) Hitachi is bringing out a video camera weighing less than one pound which uses a 260Mb hard disk to store video information. A very powerful chip compresses to MPEG standards giving 30 mins of better than VHS video. It can also store 3000 JPG still pictures. Costing less than 2000 dollars this camera could lead to a revolution in document storage and film production as unlike tape it gives instant access.
09/27/05 - Scientists testing wind power systems in Georgia
In northwestern Georgia, an alliance of the state's electric cooperatives has erected a tower on top of Rocky Mountain near Rome, Ga., to measure wind speeds and directions. But initial results from the first two months of the study are showing the area has slow wind speeds of 6 to 10 mph. But off the coast of Savannah, Ga., the Atlanta-based Southern Co. is working with researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology on a similar study to determine the feasibility of offshore wind turbines. There, the research platforms are showing much faster wind speeds _ 16 mph _ than in the north Georgia mountains, he said. One advantage of developing wind-generated power in southeast Georgia is that it's close to population centers. Location is one problem with existing wind-energy producers, such as turbines located in the plains of west Texas. Once electricity is produced there, it's expensive to get the energy to customers, Bulpitt said.
09/27/05 - Blind Item #33 - Microdot for theft prevention and recovery
Police in England are starting to sell for about $25 a solution which has 1000 microdots of information that can be painted on to computers etc. Each dot is only the size of a full stop and the information can be read with a magnifier. There has been a marked reduction of theft of equipment marked with such dots. More than 60 letters and numbers can be put on each of the identical dots.
09/27/05 - Out of Gas? What can be done?
Today, I will present a specific legislative example and general legislative options available primarily at the federal level to minimize or delay the consequences that inevitably follow peak oil. I believe the scenarios that result from post peak oil range from moderate to severe depending on how coherently we act as a nation. Based on what I've seen from both the Democratic and Republican parties, I'm not optimistic. The mainstream media also seems clueless.
09/27/05 - Bush urges Congress to pave the way for new refineries
"The storms have shown how fragile the balance is between supply and demand in America," Bush said. "We need more refining capacity." No new U.S. refinery has been built since 1976. U.S. gasoline demand has grown to over 9 million barrels per day (bpd) but a maze of permitting requirements and landowner objections has blocked new projects. "It's clear that the president and his allies in the House are using Katrina as cover for ramming through proposals to weaken the Clean Air Act," said Kevin Curtis, vice president of the National Environmental Trust. Democrats are also skeptical. They say oil companies are disinclined to build new plants because tight capacity keeps profits healthy. However, expanding existing plants is a less costly way to gain extra gasoline production -- and could become even cheaper if the "new source review" rule is gutted.
09/27/05 - Patent office scrutinized as lawsuits rise
(An earlier news item here had suggested a Wikipedia type patent submission system - JWD) Despite the hiring of more examiners, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office can't keep up with a rising flood of patent applications. The number of applications filed each year for new inventions has increased 85 percent over the past decade. Inventors have to wait more than two years after an application is filed to be granted a patent. Faced with this crunch, the government is granting many patents that shouldn't be granted, according to many observers. Nearly 74 percent expect to spend more money on patent litigation over the next three years. IT firms, in particular, say they have been besieged by lawsuits from patent "trolls" who have obtained patents not to develop new products, but to shake down possible patent infringers. "Left unchecked, these practices stand to disrupt the activities of true innovators, and impede their ability to deliver products and services to consumers."
09/27/05 - Using TV to get rich with your inventions
Thanks to HSN's 89-million-home reach, shoppers have taken a onetime struggling single mom from an office in her dad's Deer Park body shop to this estate. This inventor turned supreme on-air seller and company president is a self-made multimillionaire. She's essentially her own archetype, because her personal backing is as important as her products. Many carry the Good Housekeeping seal, but more important, they've got woman-next-door Mangano behind them. She's on the air some 120 hours a year live at HSN, bubbling with enthusiasm for her products' every little attribute, oozing with pride at the problems they solve, demonstrating in minute detail how they'll make your life better, more organized and less time-stressed. Consider her the next generation Ron Popeil, the 1960s father of televised retailing with his Veg-O-Matic. The idea is the easy part. Getting it designed, produced and sold is the tough stuff. She can't say enough about the value of electronic retailing, pitching directly to the consumer. "You can present the product and have them understand it," she says. "My whole success stems from taking my invention on television and demonstrating it. It's a wonderful reaching-out to the American public."
09/27/05 - Risks of patents
In a little-noticed opinion this month, a federal appeals court ruled against the Crater Coupler patent holders and upheld a sweeping interpretation of the controversial "state secrets privilege" -- an executive power handed down from the English throne under common law that lets the government effectively kill civil lawsuits deemed a threat to national security, even if the state is not a party to the suit. As such, it is a potentially worrying development for inventors -- particularly those developing weapons, surveillance and anti-terror technologies for government contractors -- who may find infringement claims dismissed without a hearing under the auspices of national security. After about a year of development and testing, Lucent had good news for the inventors: The device passed all the tests, shaming a competing, clunky design that French says resembled an old thermos. But when the inventors got on the phone with Lucent's lawyers to discuss license terms, the company dropped a bomb. "Almost the first thing they said was, 'Well, we don't have to do anything, because this is under some sort of provision for military secret stuff where we don't have to pay anything,'" says French.
09/27/05 - Students ride horses to school to save on gas costs
Mellissa Evans thought she had found a new way to rein in her expenses as gasoline prices escalated. The Tooele High School senior began hoofing it to school this week on her 11-year-old gelding, Nighthawk. Joined by junior Chapa Stevenson and her horse, Wink, the pair made the 30-mile trek between their homes in Rush Valley and school twice a day on horseback. But school officials told them Thursday that horses on school grounds are against the rules. In Rush Valley, Mellissa Evans' mother, Karren, is disappointed her daughter can't ride her horse to school anymore to help offset the expected price increases. "It took hours for her to get to school," she said. "But hay is much cheaper than gas."
09/27/05 - To Patent or Not to Patent?
When it comes to inventing, the very first thing you need to do is protect your idea before anyone can steal it, right? Well, if you base your decision on TV commercials or the many invention websites out there touting patent services, the answer is a resounding "Yes!" However, if you base your decision on a little business sense--and the fact that your idea is an opportunity, not just an invention--then the answer is more likely, "No--but maybe later." Before you invest thousands of dollars in securing a patent, there are steps you should take to ensure that it's a smart business move. After all, only 2 to 3 percent of all patented products ever make it to market.
09/26/05 - Straka Solar Collector
Straka’s invention is a new type of solar concentrator that promises some relief from the petroleum-based energy crunch that has grown to crisis proportions since Hurricane Katrina struck two weeks ago. The faceted, trough-like design of Straka's collector focuses the sun’s rays toward a photovoltaic strip that can produce 90 watts of power from just 18 watts of solar cells. Designed for use on the large rooftops of supermarkets and shopping centers, the solar concentrator could help businesses adapt to what Straka sees as a cultural shift in how Americans view energy. “The new state and federal rebates for solar can pay up to 50 percent of the cost of the system,” said Straka. “Now is the time to look to renewable sources to provide the energy without the fuel costs. There is the initial cost up front to set up a solar system, but fuel prices are only going to go up. It’s really becoming a bite-the-bullet scenario. People have to decide whether they are going to stay tied to an energy pie that is all fossil fuels and electricity from the grid, or whether they are going to start to produce their own energy on site and diversify.”
09/26/05 - High exposure to motor oil increases chances of developing arthritis
Occupational exposure to mineral oils, in particular hydraulic or motor oil, increases the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis by 30%. In total, the study included 1419 cases and 1674 controls. Only men reported high occupational exposure to oil, mostly motor and hydraulic oil. A group of 135 men diagnosed with RA and reporting high exposure, as well as 132 matching controls, was retained for further study. Sverdrup et al.'s results show that men highly exposed to motor or hydraulic oil have a 30% higher risk of developing RA than unexposed men. Exposure only increased the risk of developing 'rheumatoid factor positive' (RF+) rheumatoid arthritis, a more severe form of RA. It didn't increase the risk of developing rheumatoid factor negative (RF-) rheumatoid arthritis. Exposure to oil is also linked to a 60% increased risk of developing 'anti-citrulline positive' (anti-CP+) rheumatoid arthritis, another type of the disease. This study confirms results found in animals - exposure to mineral oil had been shown to induce arthritis in rats - and raises questions regarding exposure to other environmental or occupational agents, such as infectious agents that contain molecules that may activate the immune system in similar ways as mineral oils, and a possible link with arthritis.
09/26/05 - Thalmanns' Wind Turbine
In essence, the machine consists of four very light, one-way flaps suspended from offset booms and mounted in sets of two on a vertical shaft. The shaft, of course, is supported by bearings that allow it to revolve. As it turns, each vane swings down to offer its maximum surface to the wind during one half of every revolution . . . and up to feather itself during the other half. "My invention," Thalmann says, "is closely related to the Savonius S-rotor that MOTHER has mentioned from time to time. It is, however, an improvement over the Savonius because it allows for a much greater rotor diameter than the split oil drums commonly used on that design. In addition, my turbine's blades are very light, do not have compound curves and offer much less resistance to the wind on the return half of each revolution." Thalmann has constructed a rotor that is 12 feet in diameter which, when mounted on the roof of a building, does turn in the wind. Someone-quite possibly a technician at Canada's Brace Research Institute-has calculated that this test machine produces 64.8 foot-pounds of gross torque in an air mass moving 30 mph and 115.2 foot-pounds of gross torque in one moving 40 mph. (For a Thalmann turbine that is 16 feet in diameter, the calculated gross torque is, respectively, 115.2 foot-pounds and 204.8 foot-pounds.) Since the blades of John's rotor offer very little resistance to the wind on the return half of each revolution, the net torque seems to be about 85% to 90% of these gross figures.
09/26/05 - Shelving Technology to extend our need for oil
The price of gas is being driven up artificially for no other reason than because they can. Who are they? They are the three major oil companies that now dominate and, through collusion, nearly monopolize the oil & gas market in the U.S... They’ve watched jealously for years as people in Europe and other nations pay the equivalent of $4.00 and $5.00 a gallon for gas and they see absolutely no reason why Americans can’t. Where does the money ultimately go? Take a look at the list of OPEC countries: Algeria, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. If they truly believed we were in danger of running out of oil, they at least would be funneling some of the fortune they’re making from us into alternative technologies. They’re not. They’re paving the desert with U.S. currency and casting off a mere pittance here and there for the odd explosive vest. What are those countries going to do without our money rolling in? Those countries won’t behave until they have to. If our own gas consumption drops by fifteen, ten or even five percent, they’ll have to. The way to make these countries behave is to hit them in the pocketbook. Oil conglomerates can profit from developing technologies away from oil. They routinely buy up energy saving technology and alternative energy technology for the sole purpose of shelving it so that we can’t have it and have to instead keep buying their gas. If you’re an inventor just barely getting by and a big oil company offers you a relative fortune for your invention that enables cars to get 100 miles per gallon, of course you’re going to take the money. Let’s be realistic here. With big money at stake for a wealthy company, your refusal to play ball with them could be hazardous to your health. Now it would stand to reason that the oil companies will someday be sorry when their supply of oil runs out. Sadly, they won’t be sorry. Why? Because they have all those energy-saving and alternative energy technologies they’ve been hording all these years. You can bet your bottom dollar that they’ll do the same thing with those technologies that they’re doing to us now with oil.
09/26/05 - New Coffemaker design claims to reduce home power use by 80% a week
A pensioner is in his element after being given the royal seal of approval for his latest invention. Brian Hartley (69) has caused a stir in the retail world after creating an eco-friendly kettle capable of saving 80 per cent of a household's normal use of electricity in a week! The former electrician's Eco Kettle features two chambers, one which is filled with water and the other into which exactly the right amount of water can drain.
There is a button to press to say if you want one, two or three cups. It also boils up to four times quicker than a normal kettle, saving even more energy. Kettles use 3KW of power - the equivalent of a three bar electric fire. Brian's invention is now available in such well-known department and electrical stores as the Co-op, John Lewis, Curry's and Selfridges. Brian, of Chesterfield, said: "The biggest complaint my wife has is she used to fill the old kettle up to the top and do jobs, but now she complains the new kettle boils too quickly and she hasn't got the time to do her little jobs any more!" The Eco Kettle is priced at £39.99 and is available locally from Chesterfield Co-op. * For more information about Brian's inventions, visit www.hartleyinnovative.co.uk
09/26/05 - Invention to control and dissipate Hurricane formation
A new method and system for hurricane control has been invented by Herbert Uram of Long Key, Florida. The U.S. patent is still pending. An average hurricane, or typhoon, has tremendous energy which make it impractical to attempt to modify it by a brute force approach. It is therefore necessary to find a means whereby a relatively small amount of energy, if immediately inputted upon detecting the onset of a hurricane, may be effective to inhibit or at least weaken the formation of the hurricane. The present invetion is a method and system for inhibiting or weakening the formation of hurricanes, by detecting the onset of a hurricane in a region of open water and immediately cooling the surface water in the open water region. The surface water is cooled by using one or more nuclear-powered submarines to pump cooler water at a depth in the open water region to the surface of the open water region. The surface water is cooled by effecting a heat-transfer of heat between the surface water and the cooler water at a greater depth in the open water region. More particularly, the heat-transfer is effected by pumping the cooler water present at the depth of the open water region to the surface of the open water region. Optionally, the cooler water at the depth of the open water region may be further cooled as it is pumped to the surface of the open water region. The US Navy has a number of submarines, particularly nuclear-powered submarines, which have been retired from active duty and which could be modified for use to inhibit or weaken the formation of hurricanes in accordance with the present invention. Thus, the use of such submarines would enable implementation of the invention at relatively low cost and at a relatively early date.
09/26/05 - Longer, hotter Arctic summer due to snow-free land heating
In a paper that shows dramatic summer warming in arctic Alaska, scientists synthesized a decade of field data from Alaska showing summer warming is occurring primarily on land, where a longer snow-free season has contributed more strongly to atmospheric heating than have changes in vegetation. Arctic climate change is usually viewed as caused by the retreat of sea ice, which reduces the high-latitude measure of the amount of sunlight reflected off a surface - a change most pronounced in winter. Two mechanisms explain the pronounced warming over land during the summer. First, the early snow melt increases the length of time the land surface can absorb heat energy. Second, the increase in snow-free ground permits increases in vegetation such shrubs and advances of treelines. "Continuation of current trends in shrub and tree expansion could further amplify this atmospheric heating 2-7 times," Chapin said. Melting Snow hastens Arctic warming - Melting snow has triggered the warmest summers across Arctic Alaska in at least 400 years, setting in motion tree and shrub growth that will accelerate warming by two to seven times as the century unfolds. Those few extra days when the sun bakes brown tundra instead of getting reflected back into space by snow produces a surprising impact, wrote University of Alaska Fairbanks ecologist Terry Chapin and 20 co-authors. They have warmed the tundra by three watts for every square meter -- as much heating as you'd get from doubling the concentration of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
09/26/05 - Bleach found to neutralize mold allergens
Researchers at National Jewish Medical and Research Center have demonstrated that dilute bleach not only kills common household mold, but may also neutralize the mold allergens that cause most mold-related health complaints. "It has long been known that bleach can kill mold. However, dead mold may remain allergenic," said lead author John Martyny, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine at National Jewish. "We found that, under laboratory conditions, treating mold with bleach lowered allergic reactions to the mold in allergic patients." The researchers grew the common fungus Aspergillus fumigatus on building materials for two weeks, and then sprayed some with a dilute household bleach solution (1:16 bleach to water), some with Tilex - Mold & Mildew Remover, a cleaning product containing both bleach and detergent, and others only with distilled water as a control. They then compared the viability and the allergenicity of the treated and untreated mold. The researchers found that the use of the dilute bleach solution killed the A. fumigatus spores. When viewed using an electron microscope, the treated fungal spores appeared smaller, and lacked the surface structures present on healthy spores. In addition, surface allergens were no longer detected by ELISA antibody-binding assays, suggesting that the spores were no longer allergenic.
09/26/05 - Mayo Clinic study says magnetic insoles do not provide pain relief
Magnetic shoe insoles did not effectively relieve foot pain among patients in a study, researchers report in the current issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings. And the results indicate that patients who strongly believed in magnets had pain relief even if they were given false magnets to wear. Dr. Winemiller said adults with foot pain are likely to initiate self-treatment with magnets based on personal recommendations or belief systems, often without a specific diagnosis or prescription. An interesting result in the study relates to "the placebo effect." Patients in studies who are given the placebo or false treatment often report improvement in their conditions when they believe they are receiving a treatment designed to provide relief. "A moderate placebo effect was noted in participants who believed the strongest in the potential of magnets to help their pain," says Dr. Winemiller. Otherwise, the fact that magnetic and nonmagnetic insoles provided nearly identical pain relief suggests that it may have been simply the cushioning that was effective -- and not the magnets. Magnetic devices use either static or pulsed magnets. Clinically, pulsed magnets have been shown effective for treating delayed fracture healing, for reducing pain in various musculoskeletal conditions, and for decreasing edema associated with acute trauma, although other studies have shown no benefit in these situations. Externally applied static magnets generally are considered safe and have few adverse effects, but little is known about their mechanism of action. Most basic scientific research has focused on movement of tiny electrical voltages that may lead to decreased pain.
09/26/05 - Blind Item #32 - Changing a child's behaviour
Researchers have found that ignoring a child's temper tantrums or when he/she is hitting another child while dealing with the victim, such as the other child and then 20 minutes later praising the offending child when he has stopped and started behaving again can, if carried on over a couple of months lead permanently to better behaviour. Socially skilled adults may also unconsciously employ the same tactic, for example staying out of the boss's way when he is off mood but being friendly to him when he has quietened down while those who are likely to come to grief may argue when put upon.
09/25/05 - Seriously Cool Insane projects
I solved these problems by feeding an automatic bubble machine a mixture of smoke from a smoke machine and helium from a party-balloon kit from Walmart. The smoke makes the bubbles look like glistening pearls and the helium can be adjusted to make the bubbles float or rise. The other photo is the magnetoplasmadynamic thruster I designed and built while I worked at the Air Force Rocket Propulsion Laboratory at Edwards AFB in California. This type of rocket engine uses electric and magnetic fields to accelerate a plasma (extremely hot gas) to produce thrust. It's advantage is that it uses much less fuel than conventional engines. This type of thruster is probably the closest thing we have right now to the impulse engines on the Starship Enterprise of Star Trek fame. Lots more interesting projects on this page.
09/25/05 - Windfall Profits Tax proposal for Greedy Oil Companies
Fed up with price gouging and federal inaction on energy, four out of five Americans - including 76 percent of Republicans - would support "a tax on the windfall profits of oil companies" if the resulting revenues were devoted to alternative energy research, according to a new Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) national opinion poll conducted for 40mpg.org (http://www.40mpg.org/) and the nonprofit and nonpartisan Civil Society Institute. Other key survey findings include: nine out of 10 Americans (87 percent) think that oil companies are gouging gasoline consumers Friday; four out of five adults (81 percent, including 74 percent of Republicans) say the federal government is not doing enough about high energy prices and America's over- reliance on Middle Eastern oil; almost three out of four Americans (73 percent) believe that recent gasoline price hikes now make it more important that the federal government impose higher fuel-efficiency standards; and four out of five adults say that U.S. automakers should follow the same path as Toyota, which intends that "all of its new cars going forward will use fuel- saving hybrid technology."
09/25/05 - Could scientists de-intensify storms?
Scientific American Magazine outlines three different ways to kill a hurricane: As they did 40 years ago, pilots would fly above the storm, seeding it with silver iodide to 'freeze' the rain. Or the second, scientists would top the bodies of water where the storm is expected with a bio-degradable oil. This would keep the water from absorbing into the hurricane, and again keep the rain from accumulating inside the eye of the storm. The third way is an idea that is still on the drawing board and it involves sending satellites into space. The satellites would capture the energy of the sun to 'cook' the top of the hurricane, thus stabilizing it so the hurricane would collapse. “Live with it. Just learn to live with it. And we could do that. We can do that by how we live along the coastal regions. How we build our cities. How we build in levees and control of canals and so fourth,” said Wysocki. Wysocki feels money spent on these types of 'temporary' remedies should be shifted...and put toward safe house structures and evacuation processes.
09/25/05 - Blind Item #31 - Water on the Moon
Exciting news that a lake of water a few hundred yards wide and about 15ft deep has been discovered on the moon in a crater on the south pole. The crater is very deep, 8 miles, so deep that Everest upside down would fit into it and there would still be three miles more to go. At the bottom of this crater lies the ice, dicovered by radar imaging from the orbiting satellite Clementine. There will probably now follow a race to colonize the moon by the space powers - China, Russia, EEC, USA and Japan because the water will allow permanent colonies to be established there to mine and bring to earth helium 3 a catalyst for thermonuclear fusion to produce endless energy.
09/25/05 - Bees use 'heat balls' to kill wasps
(Interesting that a living organism can generate this amount of heat, might be something we could replicate and use in technology - JWD) Honeybees that defend their colonies by killing wasps with body heat come within 5°C (41F) of cooking themselves in the process, according to a study in China. At least two species of honeybees there, the native Apis cerana and the introduced European honeybee, Apis mellifera, engulf a wasp in a living ball of defenders and heat the predator to death. A new study of heat balling has described a margin of safety for the defending bees, says Tan Ken of Yunnan Agricultural University in Kunming, China. At each nest, worker bees engulfed the wasp immediately. Within 5 minutes, the center of a typical bee ball had reached 45°C (113F). To check the bees' and wasps' tolerance for heat, researchers then caged each of the species in incubators and systematically cranked up the temperature. The wasps died at 45.7°C, but the Asian honeybees survived heat to 50.7°C and the European bees made it to 51.8°C (125.24F). To keep the youngsters at the right temperature in cool weather, honeybees space themselves around the nursery and shiver their powerful flight muscles to generate heat. Seeley notes, however, that the nursemaids don't raise the temperature above 36°C (96.8F), so the brood stays safe.
09/25/05 - Weatherman believes Hurricanes caused by Mafia
Since Katrina, Stevens has been in newspapers across the country where he was quoted in an Associated Press story as saying the Yakuza Mafia used a Russian-made electromagnetic generator to cause Hurricane Katrina in a bid to avenge the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima. He was a guest on Coast to Coast, a late night radio show that conducts call-in discussions on everything from bizarre weather patterns to alien abductions. On Wednesday, Stevens was interviewed by Fox News firebrand Bill O'Reilly. Although the theories espoused by Stevens - scalar weapons, global dimming - are definitely on the scientific fringe today, there are thousands of Web sites that mention such phenomena. "The Soviets boasted of their geoengineering capabilities; these impressive accomplishments must be taken at face value simply because we are observing weather events that simply have never occurred before, never!" Stevens wrote on his Web site. "The evidence of these weapons at work found within the clouds overhead is simply unmistakable. These patterns and odd geometric shapes seen in our skies, each and every day, are clear and present evidence that our weather has been stolen from us, only to be used by those whose designs for humanity are rarely in alignment with that of the common man."
09/25/05 - Digital camera jammer
Shwetak Patel, a Georgia Institute of Technology computer science graduate student, says he and his fellow researchers have developed a device that can detect the presence of digital imaging devices - including camcorders and cell phone cameras - and then blur the image by using simple blasts of light. "The basic idea is that camera phones are becoming more and more ubiquitous. In Japan, it's something like 95 percent of [mobile] phones sold are camera phones," says Patel. Because people are taking pictures where they didn't used to be able to in Japan, "there are a lot of places putting up 'no photography' signs." Many museums, public security zones, locker rooms and other camera-sensitive places now try to bar or even confiscate camera equipment. But Patel and many privacy experts say such efforts aren't effective or practical against camera phones.
09/25/05 - Those living Solo skew water consumption projections
The trend towards people living alone, whose per capita water consumption is greater than a family's, was occurring faster than predicted, according to research commissioned by the Water Services Association, which represents water utilities. Urban consolidation had failed to take account of the number of widowers and widows who would continue to live in their two- and three-bedroom houses with gardens. Research found a single person in Melbourne consumed indoors an average 220 litres daily, a second person in the same household used 176 litres, and a third and subsequent householders uses 110 litres. Mr Young said that when a second person moved into a household, water was saved because "you run the dishwasher full and you don't necessarily fill the sink with any more water, and the washing machine probably runs more efficiently". Sydney's population is forecast to grow by 33 per cent between 2001 and 2031. The total number of households will increase by 51 per cent, and singles by 67 per cent. "It is incredibly important the implications of this are taken on board by water planners when projecting future water consumption," Mr Young said.
09/24/05 - Fridge boom box
When their refridgerator stopped working, a choice of taking it to the landfill, repairing it or using it for a hack, guess which won? No information about frequency or sound quality, but being a resonant chamber, it should work very well. Neat thing to do with an old fridge!
09/24/05 - Blind Item #30 - Finding water
The subcontinent has been extremely lucky not to have had a drought in the last ten years. Scientists have found that striking the ground with a 7 kg hammer and analysing the returning sound waves can tell if there is any water upto a depth of 100 meters. A bigger hammer can search deeper. Finding underground water in arid areas could lead to humans settling in desert areas.
09/24/05 - Prototype Load Bearing Straw Bale 'Green' House
At the head of a trend toward "green building," Alan and Maria Yankus of Redmond are building a 3,100-square-foot rye grass home in rural Crook County that will be the first load-bearing straw-bale house in Central Oregon, according to local planning officials. Straw is tough and fibrous, making it a strong building component and tremendous insulator. American farmers harvest enough straw to build about 4 million 2,000-square-foot homes a year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. While large-scale construction of straw homes has not occurred, the homes are catching on, one straw-house advocate at a time. The Yankus' Southwestern-style home will have three bedrooms, three bathrooms, radiated floor heating, wind and solar power, an attic ventilation system and skylights. The house sits on a cement floor, through which tubes filled with hot water supply radiant heat. Once the bales of straw are stacked on the cement foundation, steel rebar is driven through the straw walls to anchor them to the ground. Then, wood beams are attached to the top of the straw to construct the roof. The bales are compressed to prevent the house from settling that could tweak window and door frames. All wiring and plumbing runs through the bales. Once the surfaces of the straw are trimmed to make them even, a chicken-wire mesh is placed over the straw and a breathable, clay-plaster stucco is applied to seal the interior and exterior walls. The Yankuses are including entirely non-electric energy sources in their home. The house will run on 3,100 watts of solar power, 900 watts of wind power and a generator when needed, Alan Yankus said. The house also will need less energy to cool and heat it. The 2-foot-thick walls of compacted straw are better insulators than regular wood post-and-beam houses, said Andrew Kuperstein, general contractor on the project. Straw houses have an insulation performance rating of about R-40. Typical homes with 2-by-6 stud walls or plywood sheeting rate about R-19, according to Kuperstein.
09/24/05 - The End of Civilization as we know it
The supply of fossil fuels is fixed and the world economy will eventually have to wean itself from oil. The argument stretches back to a 1956 prediction by M. King Hubbert that oil production in the lower 48 U.S. states would peak in the early 1970s. He was right. The United States now imports nearly 60 percent of the oil it uses. Kenneth Deffeyes, a Professor Emeritus at Princeton University, has taken Hubbert's logic a step further and predicts the world's oil production will top out late in 2005. "It's Thanksgiving plus or minus three weeks," said Deffeyes, who grew up in the oil fields and was a researcher at Shell Oil for several years. The United States has so far avoided serious consequences from the trap by relying on imports. The country uses about 7 billion of the 30 billion barrels of oil produced annually around the globe. And it makes us rich. Oil consumption equals standard of living, experts agree. Meanwhile, other countries are beginning to clamor for oil at unprecedented rates, and therein lies the recipe for potential disaster. It's a behind-the-scenes sort of panic. The two largest economies on Earth -- China and the United States -- have already incorporated the finite nature of oil into their national security policies, Nur argues, citing policy statements from both governments reflecting the need to secure stability in oil-producing countries and a free flow of the resource. The war in Iraq, a country second only to politically unstable Saudi Arabia in oil reserves, is another clue, he said. "There is a huge conflict that might be emerging," Nur said.
09/24/05 - NASA estimates $104,000,000,000.00 - 104 BILLION to return to the Moon!!!
(This appalls me, still using Rockets and blowing money like its water! I don't like this guys attitude and he needs to learn, THINGS CHANGE when they don't work! - JWD) "There will be a lot more hurricanes and a lot more other natural disasters to befall the United States and the world in that time, I hope none worse than Katrina," NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said at a news conference. "But the space program is a long-term investment in our future. We must deal with our short-term problems while not sacrificing our long-term investments in our future. When we have a hurricane, we don't cancel the Air Force. We don't cancel the Navy. And we're not going to cancel NASA." If all goes well, the first crew would set off for the moon by 2018 - or 2020 at the latest, the year targeted by President Bush who proposed such an initiative last year. The same type of vessel could be used, one day, to transport astronauts to Mars. House Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y., praised NASA for coming up with what appears to be "the safest, least expensive and most efficient way" of moving forward in space exploration. The only way to accelerate all this would be to spend more money, he said. The new exploration plan would allow four astronauts to stay on the moon for a week - twice as long as Apollo missions. It also would haul considerably more cargo, much of which would be left on the moon for future crews. In time, lunar stays of up to six months would be possible.
09/24/05 - Operation Wetback - Ending illegal immigration
(Personal Note - I first heard this on a radio station tonight on the George Noury talk show when a fellow named Frosty says in Eisenhowers time, to stop illegal immigration, there was severe enforcement of employment laws that sent employers of illegals to jail with heavy fines. He said this resulted in over 1,000,000 illegal immigrants having no jobs and walking back across the border. This is a link to that same idea and more. - JWD) . The public social costs of illegal settlement must be shifted to its promoters and beneficiaries. Operation Wetback in 1953 and 1954 was the United States' last, and only truly successful, effort to root out illegal immigration. Using extensive sweeps across the southwest, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) achieved the Eisenhower administration's goals. Some 2.1 million, mostly Mexican, illegal aliens were removed between 1953 and 1955. While abuses marred the effort, illegal immigration stayed under control for more than a decade. Vested interests in illegal immigration have also become more rooted in the last thirty years. Important constituencies must now be reckoned with: low-wage employers; providers of public services and education; landlords and realtors; churches; ethnic lobbies and politicians; human rights and immigrant advocates; and kinship networks.
09/24/05 - Creative Uses for your PhoneCam
Your mobile phone camera can be more than a fast way to send your kitty photos to Grandma Pearl. Like a lot of people, I use mine as a ubiquitous capture device, recording ephemeral information and visual documentation wherever and whenever it’s needed.
09/24/05 - Warm surface water = evaporation = tornado/hurricane
Scientists are divided on whether climate change, induced by industrial and automotive release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, is driving these statistics. But many other climate scientists are now pointing to global warming as the culprit for increasingly ferocious hurricanes worldwide. Both scientific theory and computer modeling predict that as human activities heat the world, warmer sea-surface temperatures will fuel hurricanes, increasing wind speeds and rainfall. Now, several new studies suggest that climate change has already made hurricanes grow stronger. Hurricanes gain their destructive power from ocean moisture and heat. As the sea and atmosphere warm, more water evaporates from the ocean surface. When that moisture reaches the cool upper atmosphere, it condenses, releasing the energy that originally went into evaporating it. This "latent heat" powers the growing storm, says meteorologist Tom Knutson of NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, N.J. How warm the sea surface gets and how high into the atmosphere the evaporated water climbs set a speed limit on hurricane winds, says Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. In 1987, Emanuel predicted that with global warming, this speed limit would rise and that hurricanes would rev up their engines. "If the climate warms, hurricanes have the potential to become substantially more intense," agrees Knutson. (Side Note - there is an earlier September post about a solar concentrator tower which uses a huge tarp to channel heated desert air to a central column that drives turbines to produce some 200MWs of power, a direct correlation to the velocities possible in a column of rising heated air as seen in hurricanes and tornados. - JWD)
09/24/05 - Fixed yearly Electric rate plan in England
Nearly three million British Gas, Scottish Power and Powergen customers have already signed up for a fixed deal. You pay slightly more than the standard gas or electricity price - around £30 a year extra - and in return there's no increase in the rate you pay over the term of the deal. British Gas and Scottish Power have more than a million customers on this type of deal and Powergen around 820,000. It's a gamble - if prices go up, you are quids in. If they fall you lose out, but with four energy price rises since the beginning of last year there's no sign of that happening yet. But Karen Darby of SimplySwitch is not a fan of fixed-price or "capped" deals. "They never show up in our cheapest options," she says. "Bigger savings can be made by switching to one of the new entrants to the market." British Gas offers the longest fix at today's price - until the end of March 2010. It's available on gas, electricity or both. If energy prices fall below today's rates before 2010 and customers want to quit they will have to pay a penalty of between £15 and £45. Log on to www.house.co.uk/norises or call 0845 6020185.
09/24/05 - Blind Item #29 - Plant yields doubled
Scientists have injected the gene for making haemoglobin, the molecule which takes up oxygen in animal cells. This made the tobacco plant much more efficient and doubled yields. Scientists hope to transplant this gene into rice, wheat and other plants so that yields can be increased markedly and the growing populations fed. There may be a risk that these plant/animal hybrids will use up the planet's oxygen, leaving animals gasping for breath.
09/24/05 - CellPhone Hacks
Nokia Phone Hacks, Security, Mod Chips, Discussion, Cellphone ring tones and hardware! Got a cell phone? Whether you want to find your phone’s secret menus or to unlock it for another service provider, this site covers it all. Pop on over and check out the forums. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got a Nokia, Ericcson, Motorola, Sprint or some other brand. The information you need is probably there.
09/24/05 - Tornados and Hurricanes
Tornado formation - Warm and cool airstreams collide / A rotating area of low pressure storm clouds form / Air within a low pressure front rises, creating a strong upward draught like a vacuum cleaner / This draws in surrounding warm air from ground level, causing it to spin faster and faster / These strong air currents can create a vortex - a spiralling funnel of wind - that can reach speeds of 300mph / Where the funnel touches the ground, it creates a path of concentrated destruction, rarely more than 250m across. Hurricane formation - By definition, a hurricane is a fierce rotating storm with an intense centre of low pressure that only happens in the tropics. In south-east Asia they're known as typhoons and in the Indian Ocean, cyclones. Air above warm tropical water rises quickly as it is heated by the sea. As the air rises it rotates or spins creating an area of low pressure, known as the eye of the storm. The eye can be clearly seen on satellite pictures, and is usually eerily calm. Once it reaches the mainland, a hurricane may cause widespread damage for a few days, but with no warm water to supply heat, they quickly die out.
09/22/05 - Can this man save the world?
Joe Williams Sr. believes he has the machine that will help save the world. "It" is his Hydrogen Generating Module, or H2N-Gen for short. Smaller than a DVD player - small enough to sit comfortably under the hood of any truck or car - it could be big enough to solve the world's greenhouse gas emission problems, at least for the near future. In fact, it could make the Kyoto protocol obsolete. Basically, the H2N-Gen contains a small reservoir of distilled water and other chemicals such as potassium hydroxide. A current is run from the car battery through the liquid. This process of electrolysis creates hydrogen and oxygen gases which are then fed into the engine's intake manifold where they mix with the gasoline vapours. His product, he said, produces a more complete burn, greatly increasing efficiency and reducing fuel consumption by 10 to 40 per cent - and pollutants by up to 100 per cent. Most internal combustion engines operate at about 35 per cent efficiency. This means that only 35 per cent of the fuel is fully burned. The rest either turns to carbon corroding the engine or goes out the exhaust pipe as greenhouse gases. The H2N-Gen increases burn efficiency to at least 97 per cent, Williams said. This saves fuel and greatly reduces emissions. It also means less engine maintenance and oil changes. The only thing the vehicle owner has to do is refill the unit with distilled water once every 80 hours of engine use. It can be attached to any kind of internal combustion engine: diesel, gasoline, propane/natural gas. Also, because the H2N-Gen manufactures only enough hydrogen to feed the engine at a given time, there is no dangerous onboard storage of hydrogen gas and no hydrogen under pressure.
09/22/05 - Blind Item #28 - Turning coastal deserts green
(Though reported in another form here earlier, this might be useful for Australias current water problems - JWD) Hawaii's Big island a desert where it rains only 4 days a year is being turned into a fertile garden. Cold water at 4C is pumped up from the deep sea. At the top of a tower in pipes it cools warm surface sea water evaporating from the bottom of the plastic tower. The water vapour is helped up by a fan. Cold fresh water thus condensed out is collected and lightly sprinkled on plants. More cold sea water goes directly into the garden in underground pipes. Water condenses from the atmosphere and and is absorbed by the soil and on to the cold pipes. Plant roots seek out this sourced and yields have been very good. The difference in the temp above and below ground is thought to contribute to this good yield. Vast areas of the earth could be made productive by this technique pioneered by Dr John Craven. The cold water also via air conditioners keeps buildings cool.
09/22/05 - Build your own Generator!
This generator was built using a 3 horse power Briggs and Stratton horizontal shaft motor, a GM 65 amp automotive alternator (with built in voltage regulator), a used car battery, a pulley and V-belt, a 12 volt cigarette lighter outlet box with fuse, a DC to AC power converter, a low voltage control switch, a scrap of 3/4" plywood, a few scraps of 2 x 4 lumber, 4 wheels, and two battery cables. We also used a custom designed bracket manufactured for Epicenter to make it all come together in a snap. In the photo above, we used an 8" pulley on the motor. Subsequent testing indicates that a 4" or 5" pulley is the correct size to use for this application.
09/22/05 - Chinese warships cruise near gas field claimed by Japan
Five Chinese naval ships, including a guided-missile destroyer, were spotted on Sept. 9 near the Chunxiao gas field in the East China Sea - the site of a fierce Sino-Japan territorial dispute, Tokyo military officials said. The move comes amid rising bilateral tensions after a Chinese consortium said in August it could begin drilling for natural gas in the Chunxiao gas field as early as this month despite Japan's protests. Japan imports all of its oil, and because much of it passes through the seas surrounding Taiwan, feels its survival depends on keeping those seas stable. Mainland China's control over Taiwan could hurt Japan's access to oil, Tokyo officials fear.
09/22/05 - Blind Item #27 - Papp has dubious History
For those who might have heard of the Joseph Papp engine which uses a mix of noble gases, exploded to provide tremendous thrust and the story about the man who was killed in a demonstration when an engine exploded, check this earlier claim out in a book -  Papp, Josef. 300 MPH - The Fastest Submarine. New York, N.Y.: Ballantine Books, 1967. 1st PB Printing. Mass Market Paperback. Good Printed in Canada. 189p, 16p of B&W photos. Some cover wear, stain on top of front cover, water stain on outer edge of photo section. In Montreal Josef Papp began work on a submarine that, so he claimed, used a novel principle of propulsion that allowed it to reach speeds of 300 mph. In August 1966 he disappeared and showed up a few days later off the coast of France, claiming that he had crossed the ocean in thirteen hours in his submarine. The submarine, of course, had sunk. Authorities were immediately suspicious. There was the small fact that a submarine going almost as fast as an airplane sounded a little far-fetched. But also, a man resembling Papp had been seen in Montreal boarding a flight to Paris just about the time Papp disappeared. Papp's transatlantic adventure is documented in this book. $99.95
09/22/05 - Snopes listings on gravity control coil
I was watching an interesting documentry on real life UFO's the other day and one thing that caught my attention that I hadn't seen before was one of the potential methods of causing a craft to hover. A man on the show demonstrated that if you coiled bare lead wiring in a certain way and ran a high current and voltage through it (as opposed to just a high voltage) it would actually hover, although it would glow red hot. The surface he did this on was non-conductive and he said there was currently no scientific explanation for this effect. He then went on to suggest that the US military have experimented using this effect as a form of propellant and gave an example of an incident in Florida where loads of people caught supposed UFO's on tape and they featured a glowing ring on the underside, much like the coil.
09/22/05 - JVC pioneers with Camcorder hard drive instead of videotape
EVERY now and then, humanity wakes up, looks at itself in the mirror and realizes that it's been wasting a lot of effort doing things the old way just for the sake of tradition. JVC had just such a moment when it looked at how people were using camcorders. "Let us get this straight," the corporate entity said (I'm paraphrasing here). "People buy tapes to put into their camcorders. They fill up a tape, then rewind it and play it into a computer - which takes a whole hour per tape - so that they can edit it and burn a DVD. Or maybe they buy one of those camcorders that record directly onto miniature DVD's, which are very expensive, hold only 20 minutes of video and can't easily be edited on a computer." The "Aha!" moment came when JVC looked at the iPod. Why, JVC wondered, are we still recording onto tapes and discs, if we can record directly onto a tiny little hard drive like the iPod's? The camcorder could hold hours and hours of video, and you'd never have to buy another tape or specialized blank DVD. The hard drive holds five or seven hours of video at top quality - easily a vacation's worth. The transfer is about four times as fast, because the computer files are copied rather than played in real time. The camcorder connects to the computer using a USB 2 cable; it doesn't require a FireWire card, as most digital camcorders do.
09/22/05 - Blind Item #26 - Antimatter trap
Dr. Bita Ghaffari of Rice University has succeeded in making a trap for anitmatter which is 50 times more efficient. Antimatter particles given off by radioactive decay are sent spiralling down a metal tube surrounded by electrical and magnetic fields which keep them repelled off the walls. By putting a high eletrical voltage at the entrance she ensured that the antiparticles would need high energy to start the travel and this according to chaos theory helps them to stay confined. She can get 50% of antimatter particles generated to stay trapped. These stores could become the power source of future ships - as was seen in Star Trek's anti matter engines.
09/22/05 - New trigonometry is a sign of the times
"Generations of students have struggled with classical trigonometry because the framework is wrong," says Wildberger, whose book is titled Divine Proportions: Rational Trigonometry to Universal Geometry (Wild Egg books). Dr Wildberger has replaced traditional ideas of angles and distance with new concepts called "spread" and "quadrance". These new concepts mean that trigonometric problems can be done with algebra," says Wildberger, an associate professor of mathematics at UNSW. "Rational trigonometry replaces sines, cosines, tangents and a host of other trigonometric functions with elementary arithmetic." "For the past two thousand years we have relied on the false assumptions that distance is the best way to measure the separation of two points, and that angle is the best way to measure the separation of two lines. "So teachers have resigned themselves to teaching students about circles and pi and complicated trigonometric functions that relate circular arc lengths to x and y projections - all in order to analyse triangles. No wonder students are left scratching their heads," he says. "Now there is a better way. Once you learn the five main rules of rational trigonometry and how to simply apply them, you realise that classical trigonometry represents a misunderstanding of geometry."
09/22/05 - Various ways to use Hydrogen once we can make it efficiently
"Starting in 1979, BMW has produced a number of research vehicles running on hydrogen. In May 2000, BMW produced a fleet of 15 executive cars, using internal combustion engines running on liquid hydrogen. The vehicles went on a world tour and clocked up 100,000 miles." The only problem so far has been finding a way of generating hydrogen without burning more of the greenhouse gas-causing fossil fuels that it is supposed to replace. But, as technology improves, this situation is also evolving. What's more, the scientists even claim that hydrogen can be treated like a battery and used to store up power generated from renewable sources of energy, such as wind farms. This has the potential to revolutionise "sustainable" energy as we know it, because the "sporadic" nature of renewable energy could ultimately yield a consistent supply. "If effective ways of producing hydrogen from renewable energy can be found, then the benefits of this will be rich. "When the renewable technology is producing more electricity than needed, the spare is used to produce hydrogen, which can then be stored and used when the renewable technology is inactive due to the changeable nature of the elements. "It is a long way off, but there is also a vision of a hydrogen economy, where individual generators on homes could be used to produce hydrogen. This could power the home in times of need and be used to fill up your hydrogen fuel cell- powered car." "For the past two years, three buses in London have been run on hydrogen, and each of them have cost in the region of £1m a year to operate. "But, in the future, costs will come down - particularly as the cost of petrol and diesel continues to rise due to global shortages.
09/22/05 - Tremors may mean 'Big One' on its way - Vancouver Island moves
A silent tectonic event, so powerful it has shifted southern Vancouver Island out to sea, but so subtle nobody has felt a thing, is slowly unfolding on the West Coast. Scientists who are tracking the event with sensitive seismographs and earth orbiting satellites warn it could be a trigger for a massive earthquake -- some time, maybe soon.
09/22/05 - Fishhook condom to foil rapists
(Note this is from thespoof.com ! - JWD) According to designer Sonnette Ehlers, "Nothing has ever been done to help a woman so that she does not get raped and I thought it was time those friggin' engineers got to work." Early prototypes more resembled chastity belts, and were rejected said Ehlers, 57. The "Mister Meany, "a female condom worn like a tampon has sparked controversy in a country used to daily reports of violent crime. "Unlike a condom, which requires you roll it on, this is, well, more complex, she admitted." Ehlers said the "MisterMeany's barbs hook onto the rapist's ding-a-ling, allowing the victim time to escape and helping to identify perpetrators. "You see a man running down the street playing "Jingle Bells, well, there's your suspect." The device, made of latex and held firm by shafts of sharp barbs, can only be removed by surgery which will alert hospital staff, and ultimately, the police. South Africa has more people with HIV/AIDS than any other country, with one in nine of its 45 million population infected.
09/22/05 - Find-a-Human database gets you to a live operator
The Find-a-Human database is a collection of touch-tone recipes that get you through big companies' voice-jail systems and through to a live operator.
Astoria Federal Savings 800-ASTORIA When you hear the womans voice press zero. Will transfer right away to a human.
Bank of America 800-900-9000 Hit zero twice, after menu choices play
Bank One 877-226-5663 Press 0 thru the options to get a live person
Chase 800-CHASE24 Hit five, pause, then hit one, four, star, zero
CIBC 800-465-2422 Enter card# and pin, then press 0
CitiBank 800-374-9700 Zero
09/22/05 - Warning with extreme details about RFID cracks making it unreliable
This paper, "Analysis of the Texas Instruments DST RFID," is a thoroughgoing description of the vulnerabilities in commond RFID tag technology. In a series of related videos, the authors snoop on mobile phones, hotwire a car, and steal gas from a pump-payment system, all using breaks to the RFID. Radio-Frequency IDentification (RFID) is a general term for small, wireless devices that emit unique identifiers upon interrogation by RFID readers. Ambitious deployment plans by Wal-mart and other large organizations over the next couple of years have prompted intense commercial and scientific interest in RFID. The form of RFID device likely to see the broadest use, particularly in commercial supply chains, is known as an EPC (Electronic Product Code) tag.
09/22/05 - Hazards of space travel
To preserve the dignity of their returning astronauts, Nasa scoops them out from shuttle spacecraft with mechanical movers, curtained off so no one can see the wrecked astronauts barely able to stand. In fact, many are ferried away in wheelchairs. Forget about the Dan Dare adventures, space travel seriously damages your health. Astronauts can be wrecked by long spells in space: muscles shrivelled, bones weakened, heart strained, lungs struggling. Humans were never designed for zero-G. We evolved to thrive, where muscles and skeleton, working against the Earth's gravity, makes them grow strong. Even with rigorous exercise, cosmonauts on the Mir space station lost 1-2% of their bone mass each month. The risk of breaking a bone during a three-year mission to Mars has been calculated at around 30%, with horrific consequences. Blood feels the lack of gravity, too. When we're standing on Earth, blood sinks to the feet and leaves the brain lighter, creating a gradient of blood pressure through the body. But in space, the pressure gradient disappears and the body thinks it's in trouble and makes less blood, which spells trouble for the heart. "If you have less blood, then your heart doesn't need to pump as hard; it's going to atrophy," explains Victor Schneider, research medical officer at Nasa. "It's a classic case of 'use it or lose it'." Bone recovery is the biggest problem and, after a six month space flight, it can take up to three years to repair the damage, if the bones fully recover at all.
09/22/05 - 1 Billion = $1,000,000,000,000.00 - Signify!
The current federal debt is rapidly approaching eight trillion dollars. The current deficit forecast for this year was $333 billion before Katrina hit. Now the deficit estimates will have to be revised by $200-300 billion. The national debt will likely increase $600 billion within a year. Where is this money coming from? Most of it has come from foreign investors, such as the central banks of China and Japan. They buy U.S. bonds because they have an excess of dollars from the current account deficit, also known as the "trade deficit," which is, quite ironically, about $600 billion. Right now the U.S. is borrowing $320 billion a year just to pay the interest on the national debt. ( 8 trillion times 4 percent ). When you find yourself borrowing just to pay the interest on your debt then you are bankrupt. If interest rates ( and bond rates ) rise one percent the government will need an additional $80 billion. Most Americans doubt that we will ever pay off that huge debt, which comes to more than $26,000 per man, woman and child or more than $60,000 per full-time worker. 1.7 trillion of this debt is held by the Social Security Trust fund. The fund is already gone. Current recipients are getting their checks from foreign nations' purchase of U.S. bonds. Why do foreigners buy U.S. bonds? Because the U.S. is sitting on 10 trillion dollars of Iraqi oil. That's a conservative estimate using the figure of 200 billion barrels times $50 a barrel. Oil is now over $60 a barrel and the estimates of Iraqi reserves go as high as 300 billion barrels, which could mean that the U.S. is sitting on 18 trillion dollars of oil. Regardless of how much "window dressing" America puts on the Iraq situation, other nations know that the United States is the real government of Iraq. Without the presence of the U.S. military the current regime would fall within a week. We are terrorizing the world into giving us more money to cover our increasing debts. All of this is unnecessary. What's needed is a massive international initiative to develop alternative energy sources, such as synthetic fuels ( made from coal ), ethanol, bio diesel fuels produced by algae or renewable crops, wind power, hydroelectric, solar and a host of other alternative energy sources which have already been proven as viable alternatives to oil. The international backlash from our foreign policy of military aggression and economic hegemony is brewing and it's going to be a hell of a disastrous storm when it reaches the coast. It has the potential to cause the greatest depression America has ever seen, perhaps even total economic collapse.
09/22/05 - Global warming 'past the point of no return'
Global warming is melting Arctic ice so rapidly that the region is beginning to absorb more heat from the sun, causing the ice to melt still further and so reinforcing a vicious cycle of melting and heating.
09/22/05 - BioDiesel runs coconut oil without the need for pre-processing
Unlike with many biofuels, coconut oil doesn't need to be transesterized - mixed with sodium hydroxide and alcohol to change its chemical composition - to run in a diesel engine. Filtered and warmed to temperatures about 25C, coconut oil is a better than satisfactory substitute for "mineral diesel" - it burns more slowly, which produces more even pressure on engine pistons, reducing engine wear, and lubricates the engine more effectively. Deamer runs most of his vehicles on a mixture of 85% coconut oil and 15% kerosene, but has demonstrated that modified diesel engines run filtered coconut oil quite happily.
09/22/05 - Scientists says Hurricanes can't be modified
It sounds like a great idea: Let's just blast hurricanes like Rita and Katrina out of the sky before they hurt more people. Or, at least weaken the storms and steer them away from cities. For cloud seeding to be successful, clouds must contain sufficient supercooled water that is still liquid even though it is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Raindrops form when the artificial nuclei and the supercooled water combine. But scientists also learned that hurricanes contain less supercooled water than other storm clouds, so seeding was unreliable. And, hurricanes grow and dissipate all on their own, even forming new walls of clouds called "concentric eyewall circles." This made it impossible to determine whether storm reductions were the result of human intervention. Project Stormfury was abandoned in the 1980s after spending hundreds of millions of dollars. Other storm modification methods that have been suggested include cooling the tropical ocean with icebergs and spreading particles or films over the ocean surface to inhibit storms from evaporating heat from the sea. Occasionally, somebody suggests detonating a nuclear weapon to shatter a storm. Researchers say hurricanes would dwarf such measures. For example, Hurricane Rita measures about 3,500 miles in circumference and 350 miles across.
09/22/05 - Meyers Motors electric car in production
OK, so maybe it looks like something out of a kids cartoon, but that’s not the only reason to put a big cheery grin on your face. The MM 1.0 could get you up to 70mph (113 kph) during it’s 20-40 mile (32-64 km) long electrically powered journey. Come 15 October 2005, the MM 1.0 (once known as the Sparrow) is due to move from prototype to fully fledged production vehicle. According to research by Myers Motors, of Ohio, 65% of all vehicle miles travelled have just one person in the vehicle and daily trips are less than 30 miles total, so they reckon the MM 1.0 will suit many urbanites. And in these days of high petroleum pump prices they might just be right, as they figure you get 60 miles for every $1 worth of electricity. Although classified as a motorbike in some US states, it has a full enclosed canopy, which protects not only the occupant from the elements, but houses the AM/FM radio & CD stereo, plus heater and defroster. We failed to locate the price anywhere on their site, but as they are handmade, in a staggering range of 13 colours, we don’t expect them to be cheap.
|As of 09/20/05, the KeelyNet website and emails had been down since 09/16/05 due to a T1 service connection problem which is now resolved
thanks to the herculean efforts of Dan York. Thanks Dan!
09/16/05 - September 22 - World CarFree Day
World Carfree Network uses the term "carfree movement" rather broadly, to refer to: * those promoting alternatives to car dependence and car culture, including alternative modes such as cycling, walking and public transport; * those promoting carfree lifestyle choices, within either a car-dependent, car-lite* or carfree local context; * those promoting the building of (usually mixed-use) carfree environments on either brownfield or greenfield sites (usually sited to ensure easy access to a variety of non-automotive transport modes); * those promoting carfree days, using the events as tools to bring about long-term on-the-ground change in infrastructure and priorities (example: Bogota); and
* those promoting the transformation of existing villages, towns and cities (or parts of them) into carfree environments. Each year on September 22, people from around the world gather to celebrate World Carfree Day and to show alternatives to the automobile. The 'official' carfree day is September 22, but many cities hold activites all week or on another more convenient day (such as on the weekend). With the ever-expanding EU-sponsored European Mobility Week (which isn't just European anymore, with 1,544 cities in 40 countries participating this year), the idea of dedicating at least one day a year to promoting alternatives to car use seem to be catching on.
09/16/05 - Blind Item #25 - Living Underground
This is becoming popular as the temperature is at a constant 21C just a few feet below the ground so there is no need to heat or cool buildings. Ventilation shafts can be built to supply air. Solar panels can pump up deep water. Even food can be grown with extremely high yields underground from light piped from the surface with reflectors. Large areas of rocky deserts in South Asia could become prime estate areas. Once the caves / homes are dug out of rocks maintainence is minimal. In Australia such dwellings have been used by miners in the desert - 3 bedroom homes for over 50 years and are becoming ever more popular. If an extra bedroom is needed you just start digging ...
09/16/05 - Invest in car or house for energy savings?
If someone spends $25,000 for a new car with a higher MPG rating, they might actually find a better return on that $25,000 by investing in solar or wind generation for their home, or in other energy efficient home improvements. For about the same cost as a new fuel efficient car, it's possible to outfit a house to produce most or all of the energy it uses. The savings in the electric and heating bills will probably be more significant for most people than the savings in gasoline with a more efficient car. I feel like it's worth calling out since there is a tendency to look at the immediate problem (high gasoline cost) and not consider that the money required to address that problem might actually be able to create more savings if it's invested elsewhere. Don't forget that the cost of natural gas and heating oil is going up right along with the cost of gasoline. Most people just won't notice it until winter.
09/16/05 - Fuel cell to electronic devices
A fuel cell unit the size of a pack of chewing gum can power a flash-memory-based player for about 35 hours on a single charge. The new fuel cell units have an output power of 100mW and 300mW and have been applied to a flash-memory-based digital audio player and an HDD-based digital audio player, respectively. The 100mW unit, similar in shape and size to a pack of gum at a compact W23mm x L75mm x D10mm, can power the flash-based player for approximately 35 hours on a single 3.5ml charge of highly concentrated methanol, the fuel that drives the electricity producing chemical reaction in the fuel cell. The 300mW unit is W60mm x L75mm x D10mm and delivers enough power to keep an HDD-based audio player running for approximately 60 hours on a single 10ml charge. Toshiba's DMFC features a passive fuel supply system that is suited to smaller fuel cells and use with a highly concentrated methanol solution. Fuel cells usually mix methane with water in a concentration of less than 30%, a dilution that supports generating efficiency but which requires a fuel tank that is much too big for portable equipment.
09/16/05 - Blind Item #24 - Iron promotes life in oceans
Scientists have reported to have cried when they saw the results of seeding a few sq miles of ocean with half a tonne of iron - about that contained in two rusting cars. There was such profusion of plankton and other sea life that the water was like 'pea soup'. Within a year tests will be scaled up to cover 800 or so sq miles of ocean around the Marshall Islands. The oceans except for a small strip around the coasts are barren of life because of lack of iron in the surface waters. Adding iron could make South Asian and other countries free of food shortages as fish proliferate. It must be remembered that seas are three dimensional so that even from the top mile of ocean water (the average depth is five miles) there could be layers and layers of food production enough to satisfy needs for hundreds of years. The prescence of iron may be the reason why iron shipwrecks are so full of sea life. More details on tomorrow's world web site at www.bbc.co.uk
09/16/05 - Gasoline demand plummets in response to inflated prices
By Monday, oil and gasoline futures prices had given up all of the gain they'd experienced since Katrina. Today we learned that U.S. gasoline demand has plummeted. Both developments were pretty surprising, but are surely related. U.S. gasoline demand had been above the values of the previous year for all of June and July. But the August price hikes brought use back in line with the 2004 values. The post-Katrina price hikes and shortages sent it plummeting for the week ended September 9 to a value more than 6% below where it had been for the week ending September 10, 2004. Is this tremendous drop in gasoline use just an anomaly? Perhaps. But the rising gasoline demand of the first two months of the summer in the face of rising prices seems a bit anomalous itself. A case could be made that U.S. consumers are finally responding in a significant way to price incentives.
09/16/05 - DIY DNA tests in Russia
British company DNA Solutions is opening an office in Russia to provide DNA kits to customers so they can determine 'Whose your Daddy?' for themselves. For $200, the test will show the relationship between a father and child with an accuracy of 99.9 percent, marketing manager Daniell Leigh told the St. Petersburg Times. It takes about 10 to 15 days to get the results from the samples, which will be sent to DNA Solutions laboratories in Britain. Parenthood DNA testing has been performed at state clinics in Russia for several years, at a cost of about $30. However, most often the tests are done only if a court orders them, the newspaper said.
09/16/05 - Different Cheese influences types of dreams
It`s unclear where the cheese and nightmares myth originated, although it has been linked to the Charles Dickens` character, Scrooge, who blamed 'a crumb of cheese' on his night-time visitations in 'A Christmas Carol.' The British Cheese Board had 200 volunteers eat a 20-gram piece of various cheeses 30 minutes before retiring for seven consecutive nights, Sky News said. In total, 72 percent of the volunteers said they slept very well every night and 67 percent remembered their dreams. Nobody reported bad dreams, but the study found the type of cheese seemed to have an effect on the type of dreams the volunteers recorded in their diaries. Of those who ate Cheddar, 65 percent of volunteers reported dreaming about celebrities, including Johnny Depp. Stilton caused the craziest dreams, with 75 percent of men and 85 percent of women eating Stilton recalling odd and vivid dreams.
09/16/05 - Blind Item #23 - MicroCredit
Mohammed Yunus, a brilliant Bangladeshi Professor of Economics came up with the idea of microcredit, which has been proven to work extremely well in lifting the poorest of the poor out of poverty. Women are leant a small sum of money as little as $20, at a slight positive rate of interest, without security. They pay this back over one to three years in monthly instalments. Formed into small groups, none of the group members gets any further credit if one fails to pay back. There is therefore a lot of peer pressure to succeed and a lot of self help. With a successful loan repayment of over 95% it has a better record than almost any in the world. Much of the West was built with similar credit union self help, non profit, schemes.
09/15/05 - Blind Item #22 - Cheap Power for Remote Areas
Paul Bromley, a British scientist, has invented a new type of water wheel which can extract 2kw of electricity enough to provide 20 homes with power for TV and lighting, from small streams with 70 litres per second flow and a fall of just three meters. The 10 revs per minute water wheel turns another at a 1000 rpm by using a reverse tractor gearbox. A control box makes sure that the rpms stay constant no matter the flow to convert it to AC. The first wheel at a cost of $7000 has been installed in Sri Lanka in the village of Matigahatanne. By eliminating the need for costly batteries this invention could lead to a revolution in the third world especially in the hilly areas of the subcontinent bringing them phone, TV and other the latest scientific information about agriculture etc. on the internet. More details on the Pedley Wheel - Design, build and installation of water wheel driven generating system for third world stand alone locations. Requires low head/medium flow (5m and 300l/s) to produce up to 5kW 240AC.
09/15/05 - Blind Item #21 - Underground village
The worlds first underground village is under construction in Newark near Nottingham. All the houses will be underground with cattle grazing on the roofs and just the top windows showing. Such houses are cheaper to construct and consume hardly any electricity or gas to heat or cool. A windmill on the roof will supply the little extra power needed to run appliances. The village will be ready in about a year. Much of modern Canada and mountainous and cold areas of the subcontinent could be made habitable with this technology.
09/15/05 - Like fireflies and pendulum clocks, nano-oscillators synchronize their behavior
In the Sept. 15 issue of Nature,* NIST scientists describe "locking" the dynamic magnetic properties of two nanoscale oscillators located 500 nanometers apart, boosting the power of the microwave signals given off by the devices. While an individual oscillator has signal power of just 10 nanowatts, the output from multiple devices increases as the square of the number of devices involved. The NIST work suggests that small arrays of 10 nano-oscillators could produce signals of 1 microwatt or more, sufficient for practical use as reference oscillators or directional microwave transmitters and receivers in devices such as cell phones, radar systems and computer chips. The type of signal locking observed at NIST was first described by the 17th-century Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens, who found that two pendulum clocks mounted on the same wall synchronized their ticking, thanks to weak coupling of acoustic signals through the wall. This phenomenon also occurs in many biological systems, such as the synchronized flashing of fireflies, the singing of certain crickets, circadian rhythms in which biological cycles are locked to the sun, and heartbeat patterns linked to breathing speed. There are also examples in the physical sciences, such as the synchronization of the moon's rotation with respect to its orbit about the Earth.
09/15/05 - Toyota claims 100% hybrids as their future
"In the future, the cars you see from Toyota will be 100 percent hybrid," Kazuo Okamoto, executive vice president, told reporters in Frankfurt Monday, without giving a specific timetable. Toyota, Japan's biggest carmaker and second to General Motors worldwide, is aiming to make as many as 400,000 gasoline-electric vehicles in 2006, including Prius cars, Camry sedans, Highlander sport utility vehicles and Coaster buses, Katsuaki Watanabe, president of Toyota, said at an investor conference in New York Monday. Hybrid vehicles combine a gasoline engine with a battery pack that is recharged through braking. Electricity powers the vehicle at low speeds, enabling the Prius to go up to 55 miles on a gallon of gasoline, double the mileage of an automobile that runs on a conventional engine. A Prius hybrid carries a sticker price of $20,875 in California. The cost of those components makes hybrids $3,000 to $5,000 more expensive than gasoline-engine autos, according to automakers and analysts. The company is planning to sell 240,000 to 250,000 hybrids this year and a million a year by 2010.
09/15/05 - Personal Note - Australian Manure Power System
Years ago when I lived in Dallas, Australian David Oates of Reverse Speech fame lived about 3 blocks from my house. I spent many hours with David and took his class on Reverse Speech because the subject and his findings were so fascinating. During one of our many talks, David told me he knew a 'mate' in Australia who lived on a small farm and had dug out a pit about 9 feet wide by 12 feet long by 10 feet deep and filled it with pig and chicken manure. That this man had placed two thick metal poles which David thought were iron but could have been dissimilar metals such as copper/iron, iron/zinc, etc.. The man connected thick cables to these two metal poles and was able to power all the electrical needs for his house and farm. Now this was about 18 years ago so my memory isn't exact on the details but that was the gist of the story. David admitted to being curious at the time but didn't know anything about electricity so didn't understand what was going on. I never forgot the story because of the possibility of an energy source which you might have to stir every now and then...LOL... Additionally, a tarp could cover this to extract the combustible methane gases to store and use as heating fuel. - JWD
09/15/05 - Corrugated Surface increases current capacity in superconductors
In theory, superconducting materials can conduct an enormous amount of electric current. But when incorporated into actual devices, certain factors tend to limit the current,” said Brookhaven materials scientist Qiang Li, a co-author on the paper. “We studied these factors and found that one, which we call ‘substrate roughness,’ can actually significantly increase the current-carrying capacity.” The superconducting material studied here consists of the elements yttrium, barium, copper, and oxygen. Dubbed YBCO, it is a member of a class of copper- and oxygen-containing superconductors called “cuprates.” Cuprates are “high-temperature” superconductors because they superconduct at temperatures much “warmer” than conventional superconductors (although still very cold) - for example, -300°F rather than -440°F. “Rather than limiting the current, the nanoscaled corrugated surface produces more than a 30 percent increase in the supercurrent carried by the YBCO films. This suggests that metal substrates with some degree of roughness at the nanoscale might help improve the performance of high-temperature superconductors.”
09/15/05 - Broken light bulb cause of mystery illness
Eighteen patients showed up at the Maury County emergency room during an 18-hour period last weekend, all complaining of the same symptoms, and doctors soon discovered a broken light bulb was to blame for their illness. "It was red and my eyes were burning like I had sand in them," he said. "My forehead, the whole forehead peeled off and part of my face." The one common thread was they were all at Baker school," Dr. Turner said. Baker Elementary School principal Della Matlock said, "We came to the gym with several maintenance workers and as soon as we turned on the lights we felt assured because of the location in the gym that it was that light bulb." The glass casing had broken on a lamp above the part of the gym where guests who suffered burns sat for an hour and a half. "If the inner filament bulb did not break, these lights will continue to burn and it will produce UV radiation,” Maury County School Superintendent Eddie Hickman said.
09/15/05 - Blind Item #20 - Clean water
A remarkably low tech but effective method of cleaning water in cholera affected areas has been discovered by trial and error. Passing the water through a four layer thick of sari cloth - a few mm - is enough to trap all harmful bacteria and makes the water safe enough to drink. The saris are dried in the sun killing the bacteria and can then be reused many times. It is hoped to apply this technique to control cholera in the next outbreak.
09/15/05 - Cat Fuel
Christian Koch, 55, from the eastern county of Saxony, told Bild newspaper that his organic diesel fuel -- a home-made blend of garbage, run-over cats, and other ingredients -- is a proven alternative to normal consumer diesel. "I drive my normal diesel-powered car with this mixture," Koch said. "I have gone 170,000 km (106,000 miles) without a problem." The Web site of Koch's firm, "Alphakat GmbH," says his patented "KDV 500" machine can produce what he calls the "bio-diesel" fuel at about 23 euro cents (30 cents) a litre, which is about one-fifth the price at petrol stations now. Koch said around 20 dead cats added into the mix could help produce enough fuel to fill up a 50-litre (11 gallon) tank.
09/15/05 - Blind Item #19 - 8000km electric car
Nelly Rodriguez at Boston University has developed new nano tubes which can store three times their weight of hydrogen under pressure. This is then burnt in a fuel cell to give a car about 8000 km (5000 miles) between charges. The material which costs only a $1 a kilogram to make can be used about three times. More details from the New Scientist. More details - At first glance, the graphite material, which Rodriguez stores in small glass vials behind lock and key, resembles spongy soot. "But when you look at it under the microscope, it's beautiful," she says. Magnified twelve million times under an electron microscope, the substance does indeed appear magnificent. Layers of curly, black nanofibers (they look like small hairs) encase individual hydrogen atoms, much like slices of bread in a multidecker sandwich. The nanofibers "encourage" the hydrogen to liquefy and shrink, leaving more room for additional hydrogen molecules to be packed in-a characteristic that permits the material to store large quantities of hydrogen in its folds. When combined in a fuel cell with oxygen, hydrogen-an abundant, clean fuel that emits only water vapor as a by-product-produces an electric current. Rodriguez and Baker claim their material is able to store up to seventy-five percent of its own weight in hydrogen. Baker and Rodriguez say they have been waiting to obtain a U.S. patent for the nanofiber production process before revealing their methods. "It's far too important to publish before you have complete coverage from a patent," he says. The patent was granted in August and an article, which details recent laboratory results, was submitted to a scientific journal in October. In the meantime, the couple received a boost in September, when a German lab partially confirmed their results. Initial tests by the German Research Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen found the nanofibers could store ten to fifteen percent of their weight in hydrogen-a level far below that achieved by Baker and Rodriguez, but still a significant advance over currently available materials. Three patents 5,653,951 Storage of hydrogen in layered nanostructures, 6,159,538 - Method for introducing hydrogen into layered nanostructures and 6,906,003 - Method for sorption and desorption of molecular gas contained by storage sites of nano-filament laded reticulated aerogel
09/15/05 - On Being Energy Conservation Minded
Turning off unused lights, insulating your house and buying energy-efficient appliances are all great ways to save energy, which decreases air pollution and saves you money in the process. And if everyone were truly conservation-minded, we would save thousands of megawatt-hours of electricity every day. Green Mountain says the monthly cost premium for a typical household choosing clean energy amounts to about the price of seeing a movie. As demand for cleaner power grows, so will the wind farms and solar arrays. “Right now, it costs more to build a new natural gas plant than it does to build a wind farm,” Savage points out. And that means that green and not-so-green businesspeople can finally stand behind clean power together.
09/14/05 - Brazilian Sugar cane ethanol surprises Germans
According to the Brazilian Ministry of Transport most of Brazil's 20 million cars run already on gasoline mixed with 25 per cent of sugar cane-generated ethanol; and an ever increasing number of new cars in Brazil drive on 100 per cent ethanol. Alfred Szwarc, energy specialist and adviser to UNICA, the Sao Paulo Sugarcane Agroindustry Union, points out that over the past 30 years, Brazil has been producing ethanol from sugar cane and using it in automobiles across the country. "It is high time that industrialised countries start to use gasoline mixed with ethanol to mitigate their volatility to rocketing oil prices and to help stop global warming," says Szwarc. "Bio fuels are on average 20 per cent cheaper for consumers than conventional fuels, and energy costs will only stop rising if we replace oil and gas-imported goods in great quantities with renewable fuel sources." "There are cars in the world which offer the same performance by using only half the amount of gasoline. I find it alarming that German car manufacturers can't supply this technology today," said Winnacker in an interview with the Financial Times.
09/14/05 - Fuel Cells become the new mobile batteries
Touted as a future solution to automobile pollution, fuel cell technology may in the interim solve the portable-power problem that is pivotal to miniaturizing electronic systems. A number of companies and research groups are reporting steady progress in scaling down fuel cells while engineering systems that can use readily available fuels like methanol. Typical development costs for miniature fuel cells are in the tens of thousands of dollars, and UltraCell's 25-W model will initially sell for around $1,000, said Hill. As is typical of new technologies, volume markets and engineering refinements will gradually drive down the cost, he said. "These devices are quite costly, and they are complex, so they tend to be prone to failure. So far, nobody has figured how to make them at a low enough cost so that the average person can afford one," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst with the Enderle Group.
09/14/05 - Smart Sprawl to deal with less cars
The new model proposed by many urban planners is "smart sprawl." The idea calls for a retrofit of suburban communities, creating multiple areas where it is possible to find a job, shop for basics and send kids to school within a mile of home -- and to do so with some form of alternate transportation. It's also limiting if it turns out, for example, that the new job is two or three miles away. So developing some modest and minimalist form of mass transit is crucial. The smart-sprawl residential model that Arlington develops for this new population could very well turn out to be popular with a large component of the current population. If the city wants to continue to grow its economy and prosper, it could be argued that such a strategy will be crucial anyway. Throwing Katrina into the mix just gives the trend a head start, one of the few silver linings to a particularly gloomy event. But here's the good news: Smart sprawl isn't particularly expensive. It doesn't require big bus systems or light rail or tons of new development and construction. It just requires judicious zoning, collaboration on items like school attendance zones and perhaps careful use of incentives such as tax increment financing districts or tax abatements. It's not rocket science, but it does require anticipatory thinking.
09/14/05 - Bill offers incentives to buying hybrid cars
Drivers of hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles would get a slew of perks, including a $2,000 income tax deduction, free Fast Lane toll transponders, access to the Interstate 93 HOV lanes even when driving alone, and reduced parking-meter fees, if a bill to promote less gas guzzling becomes law. Tarr's bill includes 24 provisions involving consumers, companies, and state agencies. He proposes cutting the state tax on alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas and hydrogen by 25 percent, offering tax credits to businesses who convert at least 10 percent of their vehicles to alternative fuels, and mandating that by 2010 at least half of the state's fleet would run on something other than gasoline.
09/14/05 - Blind Item #18 - Plant energy
Experiments are starting with fast growing willow trees. These can be cut to ground level and regrow to three meters within a year. The harvest from one quarter of Britain's farmland could supply most of the electrical power when burnt in power stations. Instead of set aside farmland when grain supplies are too high this method could be used to grow trees as an energy source.
09/14/05 - Our Sun has a binary partner that may affect Earth?
The phenomenon known as the precession of the equinox, fabled as a marker of time by ancient peoples, is not due to a local wobbling of the Earth as modern theory portends, but to the solar system's gentle curve through space. This movement of the solar system occurs because the Sun has a companion star; both stars orbit a common center of gravity, as is typical of most double star systems. The grand cycle-the time it takes to complete one orbit--is called a "Great Year," a term coined by Plato. Cruttenden explains the affect on earth with an analogy: "Just as the spinning motion of the earth causes the cycle of day and night, and just as the orbital motion of the earth around the sun causes the cycle of the seasons, so too does the binary motion cause a cycle of rising and falling ages over long periods of time, due to increasing and decreasing electromagnet effects generated by our sun and other nearby stars."
09/14/05 - Massive vitamin C injections kill cancer cells
Scientists found that vitamin C in the form of ascorbate killed cancer cells in the laboratory.
But the effective dose was so high it could only be delivered to patients by infusion into the bloodstream. Cultures of a range of nine cancer and four normal cell types were studied by exposing them to high doses of ascorbate. In five of the cancer lines, there was a 50 percent decrease in cell survival, while normal cells were unaffected. A more detailed look at lymphoma cells -- which were especially sensitive to ascorbate -- showed they were either destroyed directly or induced to commit "cell suicide." Further tests revealed that the growth of cells exposed to vitamin C was reduced by at least 99 percent. The effective dose was less than four millimoles, a concentration much higher than an oral dose but easily achievable by intravenous infusion.
09/14/05 - Blind Item #17 - Superconcrete
American scientists have found that adding fly ash and micro silica makes concrete much stronger and makes it waterproof so that it lasts 100 years instead of 20. In the subcontinent where potholes are common the new concrete could prove a great advance.
09/14/05 - Memory loss in older adults due to distractions, not inability to focus
"These results reveal that efficiently focusing on relevant information is not enough to ensure successful memory," he said. "It is also necessary to filter distractions. Otherwise, our capacity-limited short-term memory system will be overloaded." Gazzaley and his colleagues compared young adults aged 19 to 30 with older adults aged 60 to 77 using a simple memory test that introduced irrelevant information. The tests were conducted while subjects' heads were inside a fMRI scanner so that activity in the brain could be pinpointed. While young subjects were easily able to suppress brain activity in areas that process information irrelevant to the memory task, older adults on average were unable to suppress such distracting information. Both groups were equally able to enhance brain activity in the areas dealing with information relevant to the task. Interestingly, six of the 16 older adults had well-preserved short-term memory and no problems ignoring irrelevant information, suggesting that some people are able to avoid memory loss as they age. Gazzaley hopes to find out what makes these people different from the average aging adult.
09/14/05 - Ovonics metal hydride hydrogen storage technology
Ovonic® Solid Hydrogen Storage Systems use proprietary metal alloys that act like sponges to absorb hydrogen. These metal alloys are designed to absorb gaseous hydrogen into the solid metal, forming a new material called a metal hydride. In order for this absorption process to occur, heat needs to be removed during the reaction process. In addition, heat needs to be supplied during the desorption process. The source of the heat supplied can be waste heat from a fuel cell.
09/14/05 - Blind Item #16 - Flashlight cooking in seconds
A new oven which uses even less energy than microwaves can cook food in less than 30 seconds compared to 7 minutes for a microwave. It uses high energy visible light to heat the food to half the surface temperature of the sun and an infra red light to brown it. The idea was gleaned from flash cooking of silicon wafers. - Discovery channel - future facts -should be on www.discovery.com soon.
09/13/05 - Oglala Sioux and Navajo Nation members go alternative
Alex White Plume, vice president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, made good on a dream he had some 26 years ago: to rid his family of high-cost cooperative electrical power from local companies. With the installation of a 1 kilowatt wind generator and a 1 kW solar-generated power system, White Plume's brother, Percy, will be the first person connected to the power source, and will be virtually free of electrical bills. White Earth has a 20 kW turbine in operation. The Hopi installed small units for its membership; however, trouble with the turbines hampered electrical production for sustained periods. And the Navajo Nation purchased many small turbines for its tribal members.
09/13/05 - Battery swap for electric car 'refueling'
Most proposals for the use of electric vehicles suppose that the owner of the car would own the batteries and would recharge them at home, at work or in suitable battery charging stations. It takes time to recharge batteries. GM proposes that owners of its EV1 also own two chargers. The charger built into the car runs off 110 volts and takes 12 to 14 hours to recharge the batteries. A heavy duty charger runs off 220 volts and can charge the batteries in 3 1/2 hours. These figures come from an article in Road and Track 1997 April. The article also said that the range in their test was 48 miles using the radio and air conditioning and briefly drag racing a Mustang. GM claims 70 to 90 miles. Battery swap stations could provide a way to get back on the road using precharged replacement battery packs.
09/13/05 - Blind Item #15 - Zinc air electric car batteries
Are now achieving ranges from 470-800 miles and can be recharged in ten minutes. This is enough for nearly two weeks of travel. It seems likely that we will replace petrol engines soon. Despite inclement weather and freezing temperatures of 1 to 2 degrees Celsius (34 to 36 degrees Fahrenheit), the vehicle traveled a record 439 km (272 miles) not including the transport through the Channel Tunnel. The drive involved navigating the streets of downtown London, the highways of England and France, and congested traffic conditions in central Paris. The van, with a gross vehicle weight of 4.5 tons (10,000 lbs), traveled an average 70 km per hour (43 miles/hr). - The zinc/air cell (ZnO2) is a primary battery (nonrechargeable) that is commonly used for applications such as watches and hearing aids. In relation to their physical size, zinc / air batteries store more energy per unit of weight (in terms of 220 W h/kg) than any other primary type. Zinc Air batteries ideal for electric cars - The anode comprises of the Zn and a solution of KOH which acts as the electrolyte , and the oxygen reducing cathode.(The oxygen is obtained from the air, hence the name), an electrochemical reaction takes place between the Zn and the Oxygen producing zinc oxide and the electricity which is used to power the vehicle. The process is highly efficient. The zinc-air battery system should comprise three linked system elements: 1. the on board discharge-only zinc-air battery pack; 2. Refueling stations for the fast and convenient mechanical exchange of "Electric Fuel" cassettes (containing Zn and KOH), to get vehicles back on the road after a stop of only a few minutes; and 3. Regeneration centers for a centralized recycling of the cassettes, making the most efficient and environmentally sound use of the electricity to recharge the active zinc material.
09/13/05 - Radio Waves to remove and clear up varicose veins
It uses a small catheter that emits radio waves to seal the bulging veins. It usually requires less cutting, anesthesia and recovery time. While stripping remains the most common method for removing varicose veins, VNUS' radio-frequency system is gaining acceptance. Since its introduction in Europe in 1998 and the United States in 1999, about 100,000 people have used it, with at least 40,000 expected to try it this year, according to VNUS executives. Even though the VNUS procedure costs $2,000 to $4,000 per leg, Farley believes demand for it will grow. An estimated 25 million or more people in this country -- most of them women -- suffer from the twisted, distended veins. And as the population ages, varicose veins are expected to become increasingly common. The problem is more than just cosmetic. Varicose blood vessels can get inflamed and become painful open wounds. As another alternative to stripping, several companies have developed laser devices that use heat on the veins and have proven effective in some recent studies. The VNUS system also uses heat, but somewhat differently. Farley said his is the only firm offering a radio-wave system.
09/13/05 - The Methusaleh Gene - living to be 1000!
In 1998 a scientist at the California Institute of Technology discovered a gene that could extend the life of fruit flies by 30%. He dubbed it the Methuselah gene after the Biblical prophet who lived to 969. Dr. deGrey calls his doctrine Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence, or Sens for short. He has identified seven deadly aspects of ageing, ranging from frayed DNA molecules to tangled proteins that interfere with neurons, sparking Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, to defects in mitochondria, the intracellular structures that power the cell and are vital to the control of free radicals involved in neuromuscular and other diseases. Some of Dr de Grey's solutions, such as using stem cells to engineer new tissues, organs and nerve cells, are already in the works. But his most inventive contribution has been to propose radical solutions. One of these is a body-wide rubbish removal program that would clean up the junk that tends to accumulate inside cells by implanting in people genes from soil bacteria that have the ability to metabolise waste. In a bid to convince the world that he is really on to something, Dr de Grey is offering a Methuselah Mouse prize of $160,000 to the first scientist who succeeds in extending the lifespan of an adult mouse from two to five - the equivalent, in human terms, of going from 80 to 150.
09/13/05 - Scientific American on controlling Hurricanes
But must these fearful forces of nature be forever beyond our control? My research colleagues and I think not. Our team is investigating how we might learn to nudge hurricanes onto more benign paths or otherwise defuse them. Although this bold goal probably lies decades in the future, we think our results show that it is not too early to study the possibilities. it turns out the very thing that makes forecasting any weather difficult--the atmosphere's extreme sensitivity to small stimuli--may well be the key to achieving the control we seek. Our first attempt at influencing the course of a simulated hurricane by making minor changes to the storm's initial state, for example, proved remarkably successful, and the subsequent results have continued to look favorable. Other sites about controlling weather; Weather Control #1, Weather Control #2 and Weather Control #3
09/13/05 - Scientists alter properties of milk with Ultrasonics
Researchers have found that high-frequency sound waves can change the size and shape of molecules in milk and are investigating whether the technology can also change milk proteins. "The technology can actually be used to improve processing efficiency, delivering cheaper, faster and safer dairy processing," Dairy Australia's Phillip Marzella said. "It could reduce costs by 20 to 70 per cent. Clearly it would have large impacts on the manufacturing operations." Milk was filtered through a membrane in manufacturing, and changing the structure of milk could substantially reduce the amount of fouling in the membrane that occurred during the process, Dr Marzella said. Research team leader Muthupandian Ashokkumar said passing ultrasound through a liquid generates chemical and physical interactions, beginning with micro-bubbles that swell, burst and leave localised areas of heat. The ultrasound also generates reactions among the liquid's atoms and molecules. "The process has great potential for manipulating the structures of molecules and the chemical interactions that occur in liquids," Dr Ashokkumar said. "By harnessing this technology to modulate the heat stability of dairy proteins, we hope to significantly reduce costs for dairy processors. "The findings could also be used on a range of liquids and could be used for the medical and cosmetics industries."
09/13/05 - Blind Item #14 - Raising new land from the sea
Professor Schilling's technique of injecting chalk which lies hundreds of feet underground with sulfuric acid makes it change to gypsum which has twice the volume. This causes the whole land to rise above sea level giving countries like Holland many square miles of new land. More details on BBC web page.
09/13/05 - Salinity contaminating more land and water
Soil salinity occurs when the salt in the soil profile is brought to the surface by rising watertables. To understand this process, you need to know about groundwater. Groundwater is, as the name implies, water in the ground. Usually, somewhere below the surface of the soil, the soil is saturated with water. The top surface of the groundwater layer is called the watertable. Water that drains through the soil profile and reaches the watertable is known as recharge; water leaving the groundwater - perhaps through uptake by tree roots, or when it flows into a river system - is called discharge. But clearing the native vegetation has an unintended consequence. The annual crops and pastures that replace the native vegetation cannot use all the rain that falls; they only grow for part of the year, and their shallow roots cannot absorb water deep below the soil surface. Thus, groundwater recharge increases and the watertable rises. As it does, it dissolves the salt lying dormant in the soil profile and the salt becomes more and more concentrated as the water moves upwards. If the salty water keeps rising, it eventually reaches the surface and subsurface layers of the soil. The water then evaporates, leaving the salt behind.
09/13/05 - Blind Item #13 - Criminals can't read
Psychologists trying to figure out why many criminals although good at cooking up schemes were unable to fill in simple forms found that a majority (52%) and amongst drug and alcoholic criminals (90%) were dyslexic and unable to read. Amazingly when they were taught to read by special methods, not one went on to reoffend. We may soon be able to empty prisons by insisting prisoners learn to read and get good grades before being allowed out.
09/12/05 - Converting waste plastic to low sulphur diesel
Australian IPO Axiom Energy Limited has an interesting proposition for potential investors - the company will produce low sulphur diesel from waste plastics that until now could not be recycled and would otherwise end up as landfill. Axiom also plans to be the largest producer of biodiesel on the Australian Eastern seaboard. Currently, 88 per cent of the 1.5 million tonnes of plastic consumed in Australia annually is sent to landfill, this amount could convert to more than 1 billion litres of low sulphur diesel. For example, a simple ice-cream container, weighing just 68 grams can be converted into a diesel fuel which will power a VW Golf car with a diesel engine for approximately one mile.
09/12/05 - Charge 2 Go - one AA battery equals another 3 hours of talk time
The Charge 2 Go is a reusable cell phone charger that accepts a AA battery and gives up to three hours of additional talk time - and at US$24.99, it’s an insurance policy that most people can afford as AA batteries can be found anywhere in any part of the world. The tiny aluminium charger comes in silver, blue, red or black and sells with a variety of connectors to fit most popular cell phone models.
09/12/05 - Zinc powder to store and produce hydrogen
The main source for hydrogen production is water. Today, the most common method of production is electrolysis. Electrolysis decomposes the water molecules to its components (hydrogen and oxygen) by passing a strong electric current through it. This process is relatively simple but it requires a significant amount of electricity and thus is currently considered to be too expensive for large scale production of hydrogen. Breaking the water molecules by simply heating them is not practical, since it requires achieving temperature above 2,500°C (4,530F). Many years ago it was discovered that it is possible to use pure zinc to extract the oxygen from water, therefore releasing hydrogen. This process can be done in the much lower temperature of 350°C (662F). Since zinc is a relatively abundant metal, and is the fourth among all metals in world production - being exceeded only by iron, aluminum and copper - it can be considered a natural choice for producing hydrogen. The problem is that the current industrial production of pure zinc (Zn) from zinc oxide (ZnO) by either electrolysis or smelting furnaces is characterized by its high-energy consumption and concomitant pollution, derived mostly from the combustion of fossil fuels for heat and electricity.
09/12/05 - Quik Houses
The QUIK HOUSE is a prefabricated kit house designed by Adam Kalkin from recycled shipping containers. It has three bedrooms and two and one-half baths in its 2,000 square foot plan. The basic kit costs $76,000 plus shipping. The shell assembles by the end of the week, you will have a fully enclosed building. From start to finish, it should take no longer than three months to complete your house.
09/12/05 - Blind Item #12 - Room temperature superconductor
French scientists reported at a conference in Lyons that they have developed a white powder made of lithium, berylium and hydrogen which superconducts at 25 degrees C, room temperature! Superconducting means that electric current can be carried without loss, so that very small generators and motors can be built. Also electric power can be stored in superconducting rings saving the building of a lot of expensive storage facilities. More details when available.
09/12/05 - REVA G-Wiz Indian made electric car
A low-speed, short-range, low-cost vehicle will work in an urban setting. With a maximum speed of 40 miles per hour and maximum range of 40 miles, the only real use of the G-Wiz will be as a short-commute intra-city personal vehicle. The newest model is REVA’s showcase concept car which features state-of-the-art technologies from India. ‘REVA-NXG’ is a two-seater roadster with an extended range of 200 Kilometers (120 miles) per charge and a speed of 120 Kilometers (70 miles) per hour.
09/12/05 - Blind Item #11 - Fast Trains
Europe and Japan are bringing fast trains into service. The latest in Japan does a top speed of 186 mph , an average speed of 160mph over 200 miles and can carry 1300 people in double decker compartments. They run so smoothly that water wont spill at turns. Trials are under way for underground trains running at 370mph . With cars and lorries driven on to these trains and big underground tunnels linking all the cities -its much cheaper than buying all the land overground - traffic jams will be a distant memory as more parallel tunnels can always be built when demand rises.
09/12/05 - Could California be next? How to Prepare?
U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Lucy Jones remembers attending an emergency training session in August 2001 with the Federal Emergency Management Agency that discussed the three most likely catastrophes to strike the United States. First on the list was a terrorist attack in New York. Second was a super-strength hurricane hitting New Orleans. Third was a major earthquake on the San Andreas fault. Now that the first two have come to pass, she and other earthquake experts are using the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as an opportunity to reassess how California would handle a major temblor. A state study published last year on hazard reduction paints a sobering picture of California's earthquake danger. About 62% of the population lives in a zone of high earthquake danger, including 100% of the population of Ventura County, 99% of Los Angeles County and 92% of Riverside County. Since 1971, there have been at least 13 earthquakes of magnitude 6.0 or greater in the state, and research conducted after the 1989 Loma Prieta quake in the Bay Area found a 62% probability that at least one earthquake of magnitude 6.7 or more would strike the Bay Area before 2032. "We should not be at all surprised if something similar to Hurricane Katrina mirrors itself in California," Turner said. "There have been lots of articles written about the failure of levees in the [Sacramento-San Joaquin] Delta, the loss of drinking water in California. This is just the tip of the iceberg."
09/12/05 - Blind Item #10 - Personal Rail Car
Next year (?) Chicago will have a personal rail car mass transport. Passengers at a railway station get into small cars - seating 2 to 4 - which goes nonstop on a guided monorail to their destination. It can switch routes and overtake other rail cars. It would be ideal to link small towns where there are only a few passengers travelling. The cars don't start unless somebody requests one, so there is not the cost of running empty ones. Putting these guided rails underground could save congestion above. While we wait for these personal rail cars to become commonplace one idea is for the government to subsidise taxis by say exempting $10,000 dollar so earned from income tax. One taxi could replace five or six cars during rush hours significantly easing congestion and could do quite a few journeys to and back and save on car parking charges in the city.
09/11/05 - Study Done of How Soap Clings to Water
(which leads to Gunnermans up to 70% water and 30% gas soapy combustible fuel - JWD)
Soap molecules are known as "surfactants" and are among the most useful chemicals in the world, found in products ranging from motor oil to cosmetics, said Geri Richmond, a University of Oregon chemist who led the research. Using a unique combination of laser-based experiments and computer modeling, her research team discovered how the surfactants tilt and twist in order to stay on the surface. The study adds insights into research on how the surfactant molecules can actually change the properties of water at the surface. Richmond compared the molecules to hungry tadpoles that bury their heads in the oil or other contaminant on the surface and leave their tails sticking up out of the water. / Additional Notes - The Gunnerman patent involves the addition of soap to gasoline to allow mixing of up to 70% water with 30% gas into a combustible fuel. Also see; Interact discussion list comment #1, Interact discussion list comment #2, Interact discussion list comment #3 and On Colloids.
09/11/05 - Blind Item #9 - Final preparations for the manufacture of tiny fuel cells in small rechargeable batteries are now being made. A few drops of methanol can keep these batteries active for weeks in mobile telephones, radios, etc. When it runs out you just recharge them by adding more methanol.
09/11/05 - Russian $200,000 floating nuclear power plant
The plant will be small and will produce roughly 1/150th of the power produced by a standard Russian nuclear power plant. The FNPP will be equipped with two power units using KLT-40S reactors. The plant will meet all of Sevmash’s energy requirements for just 5 or 6 cents per kilowatt. If necessary, the plant will also be able to supply heat and desalinate seawater. The small nuclear power station will cost about $200,000. Small FNPPs would be a blessing for the Russian regions adjoining the Arctic Ocean. These areas lack centralized energy supplies, and an FNPP would be an independent source of energy. It is specifically this feature of the Russian technological innovation that is attracting attention abroad: Indonesia, Malaysia, and China have all shown interest in the project. A site for the floating power unit has to be selected in coastal waters, not far from the recipient of the power supply (be it a town, village or enterprise). The unit, which is powered by two reactors and accommodates engineering and amenity services, is then towed out to this site by a tug. The unit should be supported by compact onshore infrastructure - transformers, pumps, heat supply units, etc. Then the plant is commissioned. It will have the capacity to supply energy to a town with a population of 200,000. If the entire capacity of the plant is switched over to desalinization of sea water, it will be able to produce 240,000 cubic meters of fresh water a day. “When the plant is decommissioned and pulled out, it leaves absolutely no pollution,” Kuzin said, quoted by RIA Novosti.
09/11/05 - Blind Item #8 - Cure for Insomnia - A small spoon put in the mouth acts as a radio antenna and causes sleep in a few minutes. More details bbc.co.uk/tw
09/11/05 - The Oil we Eat
The journalist's rule says: follow the money. This role, however, is not really axiomatic but derivative, in that money, as even our vice president will tell you, is really a way of tracking energy. We'll follow the energy. If you follow the energy, eventually you will end up in a field somewhere. Humans engage in a dizzying array of artifice and industry. Nonetheless, more than two thirds of humanity's cut of primary productivity results from agriculture, two thirds of which in turn consists of three plants: rice, wheat, and corn. In the 10,000 years since humans domesticated these grains, their status has remained undiminished, most likely because they are able to store solar energy in uniquely dense, transportable bundles of carbohydrates. They are to the plant world what a barrel of refined oil is to the hydrocarbon world. Indeed, aside from hydrocarbons they are the most concentrated form of true wealth--sun energy--to be found on the planet. The common assumption these days is that we muster our weapons to secure oil, not food. There's a little joke in this. Ever since we ran out of arable land, food is oil. Every single calorie we eat is backed by at least a calorie of oil, more like ten. In 1940 the average farm in the United States produced 2.3 calories of food energy for every calorie of fossil energy it used. By 1974 (the last year in which anyone looked closely at this issue), that ratio was 1:1. And this understates the problem, because at the same time that there is more oil in our food there is less oil in our oil. A couple of generations ago we spent a lot less energy drilling, pumping, and distributing than we do now. In the 1940s we got about 100 barrels of oil back for every barrel of oil we spent getting it. Today each barrel invested in the process returns only ten, a calculation that no doubt fails to include the fuel burned by the Hummers and Blackhawks we use to maintain access to the oil in Iraq.
09/11/05 - Blix says invasion of Iraq prompted by oil
Former UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix has said that oil was one of the reasons for the US-led invasion of Iraq, a Swedish news agency reports. "I did not think so at first. But the US is incredibly dependent on oil," news agency TT quoted Blix as saying at a security seminar in Stockholm. "They wanted to secure oil in case competition on the world market becomes too hard." Competition over oil is creating tension between the United States and China, Blix said, suggesting nuclear power as a more environmentally friendly source of energy. "I believe the greatest threat in the long term is the greenhouse effect," said Blix, who's become a vocal critic of US leaders since he retired from the UN last year.
09/11/05 - Ikea prefab BoKlok housing
BoKlok, roughly translated, means "smart living". This captures the BoKlok concept perfectly: to provide space-saving, functional homes offering good quality at a price which enables as many people as possible to afford a comfortable home. The BoKlok concept is based on customers’ real needs and wishes: a safe environment, roominess and access to green space. BoKlok homes have a flexible open-plan layout, high ceilings and large windows, giving the apartments a light, airy and contemporary feel. The company will build up to 100 easy-to-assemble homes in Drumchapel as part of the area's £100m renaissance. Glasgow City Council yesterday chose a consortium, which includes Ikea, as preferred developer for the Drumchapel new neighbourhood project, which is hoped to transform the area on the city's western fringe.
09/11/05 - Breaking Point
The most worrisome part of the crisis ahead revolves around a set of statistics from the Energy Information Administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of Energy. The E.I.A. forecast in 2004 that by 2020 Saudi Arabia would produce 18.2 million barrels of oil a day, and that by 2025 it would produce 22.5 million barrels a day. Those estimates were unusual, though. They were not based on secret information about Saudi capacity, but on the projected needs of energy consumers. The figures simply assumed that Saudi Arabia would be able to produce whatever the United States needed it to produce. When I asked whether the kingdom could produce 20 million barrels a day -- about twice what it is producing today from fields that may be past their prime -- Husseini paused for a second or two. It wasn't clear if he was taking a moment to figure out the answer or if he needed a moment to decide if he should utter it. He finally replied with a single word: No.
09/11/05 - Car sharing increasing in England
High petrol prices are prompting British motorists in their thousands to open up their hatchbacks and share car journeys with neighbours and colleagues. The number of people signing up for a scheme offering and taking lifts this summer doubled compared with the previous three months, says Liftshare, Britain's biggest such organisation. It claims 87,000 drivers on its books, with 100 joining every day. 'Other people who work near me live near me or are on the way, so it was easier for lift-sharing and cheaper for everyone because petrol prices and the cost of public transport have gone up,' said Green, an administrator, who receives £12.50 a week from her boss, Day, towards her £25 petrol bill. The agreement is a big money-saver for Day: she used to spend more than £100 a month commuting by car and train. Liftshare, set up by Ali Clabburn when he was a student looking for lifts from university in Bristol to London at the weekends, estimates that participants typically save £1,000 a year.
09/11/05 - Blind Item #7 - Non-gem quality diamonds - good for many industrial uses - can be created in the lab by taking a spoonful of carbon tetrachloride, a dry cleaning agent, an ounce of sodium metal and a pinch of nickel -cobalt catalyst and cooking in an oven to 700 deg C for two days - yield is 2% in diamonds says Dr. Li from Unviersity of Science and Tech in China.
09/11/05 - RAC urges use of bicycles instead of cars
'Get out of your car and take up cycling' has been the message of environmental groups for decades. Now it has become the unlikely slogan of the RAC, one of Britain's leading motoring organisations and a friend of the driver for more than 100 years. The RAC is issuing the advice to persuade drivers to save fuel as it warned that higher petrol prices are here to stay. The RAC - better known for its opposition to 'attacks on motorists' like road charging and speed humps - says one in five car journeys is under 1.5 miles and therefore unnecessary. 'You could easily walk, cycle, take the bus, without putting yourself at any great hardship,' said Edmund King, executive director of the RAC Foundation, the organisation's policy wing.
09/11/05 - When Oil Peaks - more ramifications
Fertilizer, DVDs, rubber, cheap flights, plastics and metals. None of these things have anything in common, right? Think again. An ingredient in all of them, in one form or another, is oil. Oil is the precious primer of the world economic engine, making it hum. Oil provides 40% of the world's energy needs, and nearly 90% of all transportation. It's also a building block for many products and goods. Cut supplies of this natural resource and life as we know it could change. But with oil breaking the US$50-a-barrel barrier in October, and amid other concerns, the peak oil crowd is grabbing more attention. One of their most startling claims is the following: six barrels of oil are now used for every new barrel discovered. Major oil finds - that is, more than 500 million barrels - peaked in 1964. In 2000, there were 13 such discoveries; in 2001, six; in 2002, two; and in 2003, zero - the first time that had ever happened. The "peak" oil analysts also say oil-industry investment patterns seem to indicate that there isn't much oil left to discover. "Fifty percent of all the oil we are using today is just from something like 150 oilfields, and there are something like 40,000 [oilfields] in the world," said Aleklett of Upsalla University. US geologist M King Hubbert, said an economic model based of infinite growth but fueled by finite natural resources is doomed. Ironically, there's also a saying from oil-rich Saudi Arabia that goes: "My father rode a camel. I drive a car. My son flies a jet airplane. His son will ride a camel."
09/10/05 - Bike powered by drill motor
I basically took a rear rim and bent forks to accept it. The gears on the drill are just the cassette off another rear wheel. A lag bolt longer
that the cassette is the part that the drill can tighten down on. A few simple braces are welded to the forks which allow you to use almost any drill. The flexing of the brace also makes an automatic transmission. As the drill spins faster the chain jumps to larger chain rings. The forks are totally independent of the bike which means that it they can be taken off and put onto almost any bike. The main goal is to make a 4 wheeled bike/car with a 120 watt
solar panel on the front. If I find a efficient enough motor I think it would be a pretty neat toy.
09/10/05 - Alternative fuel stocks skyrocket, but clean energy is a risky investment
Alternative energy has long been dismissed as too expensive to be practical, but with oil hovering around $65 US a barrel, solar energy and fuel cells are starting to look positively affordable. As a result, alternative fuel companies' stock has soared this summer alongside oil prices. For 2005, energy expenditures in the United States are expected to be $1.08 trillion, approximately 24 per cent above the 2004 level, the Energy Information Administration, a division of the U.S. Energy Department, reported Friday. It said energy costs will represent 8.7 per cent of the U.S. annual gross domestic product this year, the highest percentage since 1985. That's good news for Spire Corp., which makes solar cell manufacturing equipment. The company makes a profit and has solid sales, but it still received a letter from the Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Panel in April saying that Spire was no longer in compliance with the exchange's $10 million stockholders' equity requirement. That put it in danger of being delisted from the exchange, which would make it harder for the company to raise cash. Since June, however, Spire's stock has doubled. It's now in compliance with listings requirements, said Roger Little, Spire's CEO. "The issue's gone away," he said. A Nasdaq spokeswoman did not return calls for this report. Why did the stock double? "Because energy is so hot and there aren't that many players you can invest in," Little said. "There aren't many places to invest in solar energy, and we've done pretty well."
09/10/05 - Tasmanian cars run on wind and water
As petrol prices continue to soar, scientists in Tasmania say they're not far from producing cars that run on nothing more than wind and water. The group says such vehicles will be travelling along the roads in Tasmania within a few years, as Tim Jeanes reports. You're listening to a hydrogen powered combustion engine, technology Tasmanian scientists hope will be the ultimate environmentally friendly engine. Hydro Tasmania is looking to harness hydrogen to power vehicles, with the hydrogen produced by electrolysis from nothing more than wind power and water. Wind, hydro, other renewable sources, can power cars, and it's a very sustainable approach where the emissions are minimal, the self sufficiency is great. The idea is for excess wind power to create hydrogen, to be turned into electricity for use on days when there's not enough wind to meet demand.
09/10/05 - Oil costs make wood look good
It’s now common knowledge that whopper heating oil bills likely are to follow on the heels of the late summer leap in prices at the pump. The cost of heating with oil could easily be 20 percent higher this year for homeowners in the Northeast, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Consumer costs are rising right along with the cost of crude oil. Last December, crude oil sold for about $40 a barrel. By February, the price topped $50, and last month it exceeded $70 a barrel before dropping to about $67 this
week. “For people in the Northeast who heat with fuel oil, the average total cost will go from $1,225 last winter to $1,541 this winter,” said the Christian Science Monitor, citing Mark Wolfe, executive director of the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association. “We’ve seen a steady flow of people talking about wood and pellet stoves as alternative heat sources,” Higgins said. “It’s been busy.” Higgins said among the recent wood stove shoppers is a significant number of former wood stove users returning to the fold. He said many are interested in upgrading the “old cast iron stoves that have sat unused in basements for the past 10 years.” Asked about wood supplies, Higgins said he hears there is plenty of wood available, but dealers are getting “top dollar,” $180 to $200 a cord for dry split hardwood.
09/10/05 - Blind Item #6 - All Cancers Cured - Scientists are excited about two new drugs that block angiostatin and endostatin produced by cancer cells. These cancer chemicals normally cause new blood vessels to form to supply the cancer cells with nutrition and blocking them stops that and causes the cancer tumor to shrink and die without any harm to normal cells. In trials it has got rid of all cancers especially the hard to cure solid ones like breast, colon and lung, in mice over six months and trials with humans will start this summer in Britain. The original idea for the research came from the observation that when large cancers were removed, smaller ones started in different sites, so the large tumour must have been producing some chemicals to stop the growth of the smaller ones and these chemicals turned out to be the ones above.
09/10/05 - Nanotechnology cleans up oil spills
The recent hurricane Katrina disaster has resulted in an oil crisis. Apart from the shortage there are reports of oil spills. The use of treated material absorbs about 40 times it weight in oil, far exceeding existing commercially available remediation materials. Because water is completely rejected by the ISC material, the oil can be recovered for use, a substantial benefit in oil spill cleanup efforts. The new oil cleanup solution uses patented Self-Assembled Monolayer (SAMs) technology. The marriage of nanoparticulates and SAMs provides direct access to a new class of nanostructured hybrid materials that are very useful as environmental sorbent materials, structural components, coatings, wetting control, friction and lubrication control, adhesion, bio-related applications (e.g. pharmaceutical controlled release, and biomedical implant materials), sensing/detection, environmental remediation and electronics materials. This technology is a path-breaking one and is poised to be a watershed in the oil spills recovery and remediation process. Apart from being eco-protective, it is also useful as most of the spilled oil is recovered.
09/10/05 - Blind Item #5 - End of flies - And cockroaches. A scientist has discovered that their feet have a positive charge and by making a powder with negative charge and coating fly paper with this, the flies drop down into a container. More info on www.bbc.co.uk
09/10/05 - Hydrogen pill as new storage method
With the new hydrogen tablet, it becomes much simpler to use the environmentally-friendly energy of hydrogen. Hydrogen is a non-polluting fuel, but since it is a light gas it occupies too much volume, and it is flammable. Consequently, effective and safe storage of hydrogen has challenged researchers world-wide for almost three decades. At the Technical University of Denmark, DTU, an interdisciplinary team has developed a hydrogen tablet which enables storage and transport of hydrogen in solid form. “Should you drive a car 600 km using gaseous hydrogen at normal pressure, it would require a fuel tank with a size of nine cars. With our technology, the same amount of hydrogen can be stored in a normal gasoline tank”, says Professor Claus Hviid Christensen, Department of Chemistry at DTU. The hydrogen tablet is safe and inexpensive. In this respect it is different from most other hydrogen storage technologies. You can literally carry the material in your pocket without any kind of safety precaution. The reason is that the tablet consists solely of ammonia absorbed efficiently in sea-salt. Ammonia is produced by a combination of hydrogen with nitrogen from the surrounding air, and the DTU-tablet therefore contains large amounts of hydrogen. Within the tablet, hydrogen is stored as long as desired, and when hydrogen is needed, ammonia is released through a catalyst that decomposes it back to free hydrogen. When the tablet is empty, you merely give it a “shot” of ammonia and it is ready for use again.
09/09/05 - States sue U.S. to tighten energy efficiency rules
Attorney General Bill Lockyer joined 14 other states Wednesday in suing the U.S. Department of Energy, accusing Bush administration officials of stalling efforts to boost energy-efficiency standards for large appliances. The Federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act passed by Congress 18 years ago requires Energy Department officials to periodically review and strengthen efficiency standards for a wide range of 22 household and commercial appliances. They include furnaces, water heaters, clothes washers, dryers, air conditioners, dishwashers, heat pumps, motors, ranges, ovens, motors and lamps. Lockyer and New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer now claim the Department of Energy is six to 13 years behind schedule in updating standards for some appliance categories and has failed to adopt any new efficiency standards at all since January 2001.
09/09/05 - Fermat spirals form 'natural' patterns
(Note: These are NOT Fibonacci spirals as some of us first thought, a quite fascinating polar equation showing a positive and negative component almost like Yin Yang - JWD) The tightly packed florets at a daisy's center have an intriguing arrangement. The florets get larger at greater distances from the center. And there are hints of clockwise and anticlockwise spirals in the pattern. One way to model such a pattern is to start with a curve called Fermat's spiral. This curve is also known as a parabolic spiral. It's given by the polar equation r = k a1/2 where r is the distance from the origin, k is a constant that determines how tightly wound the spiral is, and a is the polar angle. This type of spiral has the property of enclosing equal areas with every turn. By placing points (disks or polygons) centered at regular angular intervals along such a spiral, you can create a variety of intriguing patterns-depending on the angle you choose to use.
09/09/05 - Age perceptions
The young are seen as clever but callous. The old are delightful but doddery. Age discrimination is ubiquitous, according to the first national survey of attitudes to age. On average, people felt that youth ended at 49 and old age began at 65. About 70% said they would be happy with a suitably qualified boss over the age of 70, but only 58% felt comfortable with the idea of a boss younger than 30. And 47% believed that employers did not like having older people in their workforce, a perception that increased from 38% among the younger age group to 54% among those over 65: older bosses were acceptable, older workers less desirable. "So, age is in the eye of the beholder. But age prejudice seems to be ubiquitous in British society," Prof Abrams said.
09/09/05 - Diesel car sales almost 50% of auto purchases
"Diesel is hot," says Toronto-based consultant Dennis DesRosiers. "Diesel is one of the fastest growing segments in the Canadian vehicle market." Greaney says Ricardo, which works with automakers on power-train development, is projecting the diesel market to double to around six per cent by 2012. Buyers now could get quiet, smooth-running cars that in some cases outperformed their gas-powered counterparts with the bonus of better fuel economy. Today, on average almost one out of every two passenger vehicles sold in Europe -- 48 per cent -- is a diesel. In countries such as Austria, France and Belgium where diesel fuel costs 20-per-cent less than gasoline, market penetration has reached 70 per cent. Unlike gasoline motors, diesels do not require a spark to ignite the air-fuel mixture in the cylinder. Instead, diesels compress the incoming air and rely on the heat of the compressed air to ignite the fuel. The higher compression ratio is also the key to the diesel's efficiency advantage over gasoline engines, delivering better fuel economy and strong low-end power. Diesel fuel, which is less refined than gasoline, carries more energy per litre than gasoline, further enhancing its efficiency and range.
09/09/05 - Be a Patriot - Get your hands dirty
A garden would demonstrate patriotism because each backyard Eden lessens our dependence upon imported oil. Of course, by itself, imported oil isn't bad, but an addiction so intense that it drives us to violence is bad. As well, I have been composting all the leaves from my maple tree, plus the daily stream of grapefruit rinds, potato peelings and coffee grounds. Like a miracle, the pile never gets bigger, and by July of every year I have fresh nutrients. Now, from morning to my evening's repast, all meals include something from the garden. Even in March I am eating broccoli harvested last July. It both tastes better and saves money. I am tempted to upend my remaining bluegrass and make that soil start pulling its weight. So, how does a digging a garden make me patriotic? Recall that during World War II, a battle of singular motive against fascism and totalitarianism, recycling and gas rationing were matters of patriotism. So was gardening. To ensure food for the far-flung troops, people were encouraged to plant "victory gardens." The American harvest starts in Venezuela, Mexico and the Middle East -- the sources of our oil. Without oil from abroad this stunning display of agricultural mobility would be impossible. Extraction of U.S. oil supplies peaked in 1970, and exploitation of the National Arctic Wildlife Refuge would reverse this for only a season or two. Moreover, many experts predict world oil production will peak, perhaps this year, but assuredly during the next decade. When it does, oil will become even more expensive, supplies less assured, our addiction more desperate.
09/09/05 - Blind Item #4 - Neem Extract - Juice made by stirring the leaves in water from this South Asian tree has been found to protect plants from all insects even locusts.It stops the moulting and shedding of skin by insects. It could replace most pesticides.
09/09/05 - Solar Energy, more than we could ever use
The sun radiates uniformly in all directions, mainly visible light and infrared radiation, and we can calculate the total amount of energy radiated by measuring the quantity of solar energy/second reaching every square meter of Earth and then multiplying that by the total surface area of a sphere with radius equal to the radius of Earth orbit. We get the astonishingly huge amount of 400 trillion trillion watts. To put this into a crazy context, every second the sun produces the same energy as about a trillion 1 megaton bombs! In one second, our sun produces enough energy for almost 500,000 years of the current needs of our so-called civilization. If only we could collect it all and use it! Where does this prodigious amount of energy come from? The answer is very simple. The nuclear fusion process that takes place in the central region of the sun converts hydrogen into helium plus energy. One thousand grams of hydrogen produces 993 grams of helium with 7 grams of mass being converted into energy via E=mc2.
09/09/05 - Americans must use less oil
The problem is that demand for oil, and the products made from it, is outpacing supply. The situation was made worse when Hurricane Katrina knocked out refineries, pipelines and port facilities in the Gulf of Mexico. Days after the hurricane, gas prices spiked - to over $3 a gallon in Maine and to more than $6 a gallon in hurricane-ravaged areas. The release of oil and a proposed suspension of gas taxes do nothing, however, to address longer term supply concerns. The U.S. Energy Information Agency predicts oil demand will exceed supply starting in the fourth quarter of this year. Total world demand is expected to be 86.4 million barrels per day, according to the agency, while total world supply is expected to be 85.4 million barrels per day. Oil reserves are being tapped out and no large new discoveries are expected. That leaves conservation and alternative energy sources as the only viable options.
09/09/05 - Using Plants to cleanup contaminants
Imagine driving past a field that glows with a fluorescent green light as pollutants from a nearby factory leak into the ground. Or planting a crop that's harvested not as food, but for its ability to extract contaminants from the soil and store them in its shoots and leaves. Phytoremediation is a far less destructive method of environmental remediation than many traditional technologies, says David Salt, a Purdue plant molecular physiologist. "Up until now, the two basic methods of remediation were either to dig up the contaminated soil and haul it away to a hazardous waste landfill or to leach that contamination out by applying chemicals to the soil," he says. "Both methods are very expensive. With the first option, you're left with no soil, while the other method leaves you with something that barely resembles soil." By harnessing the natural ability that some plants have to take up metals, contamination can be removed while keeping the soil in place -- without the use of harsh chemicals that render the soil unsuitable for future use.
09/09/05 - Blind Item #3 - Honeycomb windmill - The Japanese have invented a 26 meter tall honeycomb structure which has about 40 combs in it each with its own small windmill. It makes 12kw of electricity in as little as 2.5m of wind speed.
09/08/05 - What fills up the space when oil is extracted?
Millions of tonnes of crude and coal are being extracted from the earth's sub surface. How does the space (created due to excavation) get filled up or does it remain so? What will be the repercussions? Coal, ores, rock and soil are evacuated at the surface or near the surface of the earth causing instability in the region. Natural processes such as erosion and transportation of overlaying debris by rainwater and landslides to lower places or subsidence of overlying earth in case of underground mines, take place to maintain stability. For quick and safety purpose man made mine filling, sloping, bolting and other methods are adopted for movement of man and materials for further evacuation or restoration of the area. Oil and natural gas get accumulated in pore spaces of permeable sedimentary rocks, which are well covered by the overlaying impermeable rock. Due to their lower density than water they occupy the higher level as a result of buoyancy. With continued supply of oil and/or gas the water in the pore spaces of the reservoir rock is pushed down due to pressure by the concentrated low-density oil and/or gas. Therefore on extraction of oil and natural gas the pore spaces created will get filled up by the surrounding underground water or water supplied from the surface to maintain the pressure level.
09/08/05 - Inventions
A bunker-busting shell that gets so hot on impact that it burns its way through concrete and steel is being developed by the US Navy's Warfare Center in Virginia. Keith Cocita of California, US, has come up with a way to prevent valuable information kept on a phone from falling into the wrong hands. If a handset disappears for any reason, the owner simply calls it up and enters a secret code. This triggers the phone to wipe its internal memory, along with the contents of its SIM card. Airborne radar could be an indispensable tool for the military, although conventional dishes are usually far too heavy to be lifted by blimp or balloon. The antenna is made by inflating a sphere up to 20 metres in diameter. Half of the sphere is transparent and the other half coated internally with a reflective metallic film. Once inflated, the metallic inside of the sphere takes the shape of a perfectly smooth reflector dish. A microwave radiator mounted inside the sphere on a powered turntable then scans a beam over the dish. The beam bounces off the metal film and out through the clear part of the ball to sweep far and wide. And, because most of the antenna is made of gas, it weighs very little and can be affixed to a lighter-than-air craft.
09/08/05 - Hidden camera finder
Simply look through the viewing port (see photo) and depress the button to activate the LEDs. Slowly scan areas where hidden cameras are suspected and look for bright reflected spots. Remember, most hidden video cameras use pinhole camera lenses, so the spot you are looking for could be small. If you see a suspected camera, move your vantage point slightly. If the location of the reflection moves as you move, then this is not a camera. If the location of the reflection does not move, then it is highly likely that you have discovered the optics of a hidden camera. July 2003 Overton County Tennessee parents, upset that their children were filmed undressing in school locker rooms have filed suit, charging that school officials allowed surveillance cameras to be installed and then failed to secure the images. August 2004, Ithaca, New York - A college student called police after discovering a pinhole camera in the bathroom of the apartment she shared with three women, and now her landlord is charged with unlawful surveillance. The landlord faces four counts of unlawful video surveillance, a felony that can draw up to four years in prison. He also owns several rental properties near Cornell University. Police said they searched two other apartments and found two pinhole cameras and several video recordings of at least four students.
09/08/05 - Blind Item #2 - Scientists are surprised to find a device which gives off twice as much energy as input. It creates vortexes which form microbubbles which when they collapse generate energy. The Russians are selling water heaters based on this principle. Apparently from independent.co.uk July 9 May 99
09/08/05 - VW teams up with China to make hybrid cars
Volkswagen will start making hybrid cars by 2008 with its main Chinese partner and may kick off large-scale production of the energy-efficient vehicles by 2010, the Chinese company said on Thursday. Hybrids burn less fuel by adding one or more electric motors to a standard petrol or diesel engine. The batteries help power the vehicle and recharge by capturing energy during braking. Toyota had initially set a goal of selling 300,000 hybrid vehicles annually by this year or next, and has said it aims to boost that to 1 million as soon as possible. China is the world's largest consumer of oil after the United States, importing more than a third of its oil needs. Beijing is concerned that an energy shortage could harm economic growth. Beijing has said it wants to raise the average fuel efficiency on vehicles by 15 percent by 2010 from 2003's levels. To do so, it has said it would support research into alternative powertrain -- such as hybrids and cleaner diesel engines -- while also exploring fuel-cell vehicles.
09/08/05 - Smokey haze kills Asia
A smoky haze that shrouded parts of Southeast Asia this month, forcing schools and businesses to close, is just one element of an air pollution problem that kills hundreds of thousands of people in the region annually, the World Health Organisation said. Drifting smoke from purposely set forest fires in Indonesia caused Malaysia to declare a state of emergency last week in two areas outside Kuala Lumpur. Parts of Thailand were also blanketed in the haze. Malaysia said hospitals reported a 150% increase in breathing problems and seven people who had a history of respiratory problems reportedly died. The government could not confirm the smoky air was to blame. Worldwide, air pollution contributes to some 800,000 deaths each year.
09/08/05 - Backpack motion generates power
By harnessing the loping up-and-down motion of our hips as we walk, the backpack’s freely-moving load bounces up and down, generating up to 7 watts. That is more than enough to power cellphones with power-draining functions like colour widescreens or Wi-Fi and GPS connections. In tests of a prototype, six men carried different loads at varying walking speeds. The backpack’s power output increased with walking speed and with the weight of the load in the pack. Rome’s team has worked out how to electrically capture some of the energy a backpack wearer expends when carrying a load. Their trick is to make use of the fact that a walking person moves like an upside-down pendulum. “One foot is put down and then the body vaults over it, causing the hip to move up and down by 4 to 7 centimetres,” he says. And as the hip goes up and down by that vertical distance, so does any load, with the backpack-wearer expending the energy to make it do so.
09/08/05 - Asia going green
Across Asia, renewable energy such as solar, wind and geothermal power is gaining ever greater credence as a way to curb the region's appetite for oil and cut runaway import bills. The environmental benefits are also dawning on populous nations such as China, where pollution from burning fossil fuels is causing health costs to soar and growing urbanization combined with a booming economy means more appliances from hairdryers to air-conditioning are plugged in to an already-stretched grid. China plans to build its first offshore wind power plant next year, while Greenpeace has estimated Chinese wind power potential at 1 million megawatts (MW), more than twice China's current total installed power generating capacity of 440,700MW. Smaller Asian nations, lacking the resources or investment to develop large-scale renewable energy projects, have devised more inventive ways to cut oil use. Bangladesh said this week it would introduce a two-day weekend from Friday as part of an austerity drive and has ordered all public transport, including 150,000 diesel-belching buses and lorries, to use domestically produced compressed natural gas. In Cambodia, the government has ordered ministries to cut their energy use by 10 percent, while neighboring Thailand, a net crude importer, is trying to persuade motorists and motorcyclists to switch to biofuels and domestically produced natural gas.
09/08/05 - Blind Item #1 - Trees planted in iron cones with soil and reserve water can be shot out of planes -one million a day to reforest barren and desert areas quickly. The iron rusts quickly and the tree roots can implant themselves. Apparently from telegraph.co.uk Sept 2 July 99
09/07/05 - New Mexico Spaceport
A Connecticut-based company intends to use New Mexico's planned spaceport for a series of private commercial sub-orbital space flights. The company says its initial flight will carry seven experimental and commercial payloads for "scholastic and business" clients. The state Legislature approved one (m) million dollars earlier this year for development of the spaceport. The proposed site is in Sierra County, about 30 miles north of Las Cruces.
09/07/05 - Anti-Car movement gaining steam
The World Carfree Network, a loose-knit coalition of more than 40 groups that believe cars hurt the environment, the economy and society. The car-free movement is growing in the United States, although more slowly than in other countries. An estimated 100 million people participate in International Car Free Day each Sept. 22 in 1,500 cities worldwide, according to the Sierra Club and other groups. "It's about people moving around by walking, by cycling, by public transportation," said Randall Ghent, co-director of the network's International Coordination Center. "Obviously, (the car) is not going to disappear overnight. But we strive for a society where its convenience is lowered and the convenience of these alternatives is raised." "There's no guilt. We're not like that. We're not hardcore," Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy said. "But what it is supposed to do is expand your mind that you can do other things and it can be very pleasant to move around in other ways."
09/07/05 - Miscanthus grass as a fuel source
Field trials of the grass called Miscanthus in Illinois showed it could be very effective as an economically and environmentally sustainable energy crop. Professor Steve Long and his colleagues at the University of Illinois obtained a yield of about 60 tonnes per hectare of the tall willowy grass last year. "If about 8 percent of the land area (of the state) was given over to this grass, and assuming only half of those yields were obtained, we would obtain enough dry matter to generate the total electricity used by of the state if Illinois, which includes the city of Chicago," he told a science conference. Professor Mike Jones, of Trinity College in Dublin, said planting the crop on 10 percent of the arable land in Ireland, could meet up to 30 percent of the country's electricity needs. The attractive, perennial plant which grows about 14 feet high and similar grasses could provide a means to significantly offset fossil fuel emissions. "As the plant grows it is drawing carbon dioxide out of the air. When you burn it you put that carbon dioxide back, so the net effect on atmospheric CO2 is zero," Long explained.
09/07/05 - Mother's downhome country lore, neat tips to save you money and time
An instant greenhouse can be fashioned from an old car body. Got a screen door, an outhouse door, or perhaps just a small gate that you'd like to close automatically? From an old inner tube, cut a 2"-wide strip the length you need (it'll depend on the distance your door or gate swings) from the tube. Then fold over 1" of each end of the length of rubber and fasten the stretcher to the door, gate, fence, etc. Make a cheap compression tester, easily remove a tree stump, using old mirrors for table glass, reusing old refrigerators for worm beds, composting, storage chests, shop closets, etc..
09/07/05 - Resurrected Trolleys tested in Philly
The long-delayed rollout of 18 post-World War II cars, rebuilt and gleaming in their original green-and-cream hues, has thrilled trolley buffs and buoyed hopes for revitalizing the faded Girard Corridor. Trolleys once dominated Philadelphia transit. In 1947, when most of the retooled Route 15 cars were built, the city still had 1,900 trolleys along 58 routes. Grudgingly, SEPTA opted to rebuild the PCCs at $1.3 million each, about half the cost of new light-rail cars. Millions more went into training, track repairs, center-lane boarding islands and other infrastructure. "We have some people looking forward to the trolleys coming back," she said last week on a training run. "But they are not looking forward to the delays." Confined to tracks on roads shared with cars and trucks, trolleys get stuck more often than buses. Unable to slip around crashes and other obstacles, trolleys are forever just a double-parked beer truck away from making you late.
09/07/05 - Ocean temperatures on the rise trigger gas fears
RISING ocean temperatures caused by global warming could initiate a catastrophic runaway greenhouse effect by releasing gases trapped beneath the ocean floor, experts have warned. New evidence presented to the annual conference of the Royal Geographical Society predicts that the increase in global temperatures will destabilise gas hydrates, such as methane, that exist in solid deposits at the bottom of the ocean and in permafrost on land. Normally these hydrocarbon deposits exist as solids when exposed to high pressure or low temperatures, and so are locked out of the atmosphere.
09/07/05 - Solar Cookers save fuel
Solar cooking uses sunlight-generated heat to prepare food. Many solar cookers are made from household materials, such as cardboard and aluminum foil. Most are fairly inexpensive and can be made at home. When the solar cooker is placed around a dark-colored pot, sunlight reflects off the foil and concentrates on the pot. The light is then absorbed and converted into heat, which cooks the food within the pot. There are three basic models of solar cookers: box cookers, panel cookers (which look like the reflectors you put in car windshields), and parabolic cookers (a large reflective dish with a pot in the center). Depending on the model, solar cookers can reach 300 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Solar cooking is convenient, Blum said, because the cooker needs no extra attention. Food goes into the cooker in the morning and is left to cook all day in its own juices. By evening, dinner is ready, with no stirring and no burning. "I went to the beach with my sister and pulled [the cooker] out," she said. "People were gathering around want to know about it. What changes their disbelief into wonder is when you open the cooking vessel and steam comes out. People can smell the food cooking and that’s when they get interested." "Most any favorite recipe can be adapted readily to the solar cooker, and because the food tends to steam and not burn, foods can cook longer and deeper for some incredibly rich flavors."
09/07/05 - Lawmakers (finally) look for way to cut gas prices
After prices shot up and panicky motorists topped off their tanks, causing brief shortages, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue last week ordered a monthlong moratorium on state gas taxes. The order suspends Georgia's 7.5 cents-a-gallon excise tax and 4 percent sales tax on gasoline until the end of September. The Georgia Legislature began a special session Tuesday to give their required consent. But in Massachusetts, leaders of the House and Senate said Tuesday they will not support a bill proposing to suspend the state's 21-cents-per-gallon gasoline tax, all but ensuring its demise. The gas tax yields about $685 million annually for the state, money that is used primarily for road and bridge repairs.
In Tennessee, a group of Republican lawmakers on Tuesday urged the governor to temporarily halt the state's gasoline tax to give consumers a break. In Pennsylvania, Gov. Ed Rendell is considering a suspension of the state's 30-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax. Rendell said the average driver would save $66 over four months, but the state would lose $660 million for highway projects and maintenance. "The low- and middle-income families need help right now," Nass said. "They can't wait for a blue ribbon task force to complete its work."
09/07/05 - Elementary school goes 'green'
A living, green roof planted atop the gymnasium at the new Tarkington elementary, a new "green" school is seen, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2005, in Chicago. The insulation provided by the soil and vegetation will help keep the building warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It's a garden of short, self-sustaining flowering plants that don't need much water and can withstand Chicago's weather, said project manager Julie Chamlin. The insulation provided by the soil and vegetation will help keep the building warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Rainwater soaking into the soil will be piped to a nearby lagoon. The school also is designed to use 30 percent less water than expected for a building of its size and get half of its electricity from renewable resources, and it has a reflective coating to reduce the amount of heat getting in.
09/07/05 - Odd behavior and creativity go hand-in-hand
A quirky or socially awkward approach to life might be the key to becoming a great artist, composer or inventor. "Thought processes for individuals with schizophrenia are often very disorganized, almost to the point where they can't really be creative because they cannot get all of their thoughts coherent enough to do that," Folley said. "Schizotypes, on the other hand, are free from the severe, debilitating symptoms surrounding schizophrenia and also have an enhanced creative ability." Brain scans showed that all groups used both brain hemispheres for creative tasks, but that the activation of the right hemispheres of the schizotypes was dramatically greater than that of the schizophrenic and average subjects, suggesting a positive benefit of schizotypy. Swiss neuroscientist Peter Brugger found that everyday associations, such as recognizing your car key on your keychain, and verbal abilities are controlled by the left hemisphere, and that novel associations, such as finding a new use for a object or navigating a new place, are controlled by the right hemisphere. Brugger hypothesized that schizotypes are better at accessing both hemispheres for novel associations, enabling them to make these associations faster.
09/07/05 - Light from the body
Human hands glow, but fingernails release the most light, according to a recent study that finds all parts of the hand emit photons. "Not only the hands, but also the forehead and bottoms of our feet emit photons," Hiramatsu says. The light is invisible to the naked eye, so Hiramatsu and his team use a powerful photon counter to detect it. Fingernails release 60 photons, fingers release 40 and the palms are the dimmest of all, with 20 photons measured. Warm temperatures increased the release of photons, as did the introduction of oxygen. Rubbing mineral oil over the hands also heightened light levels. Professor Fritz-Albert Popp, an expert on biologically related photons at the International Institute of Biophysics in Germany, agrees with the findings and is not surprised by them. "One may find clear correlations to kind and degree [type and severity] of diseases," he says. Popp and his team believe the light from the forehead and the hands pulses with the same basic rhythms, but that these pulses become irregular in unhealthy people.
09/07/05 - 3-7 year battery life - Zigbee sensors to monitor anything
Smart homes that monitor elderly residents' every move, networked sprinkler systems that run for seven years on a single battery, radio-equipped windows that call you up if they break -- according to boosters of an emerging low-power wireless technology, such applications are about to come to your local home-supply megastore. Using Home Heartbeat, homeowners stick sensors throughout their house to keep watch on things like water pipes, garage doors and electrical devices. When a sensor detects flooding, for example, the system can respond by interrupting the main water supply line. It can also alert homeowners if a device is inadvertently left on. Thanks to ZigBee's low power requirements, the sensors have a battery life of three to five years. ZigBee sensors can be mounted on places like refrigerator doors, windows and medicine cabinets, and it can send alerts to family members if it detects a problem or if daily routines aren't being followed. Whether the technology catches on, he said, will depend almost entirely on how it's packaged. Only if people find ZigBee products to be reasonably priced and easy to install will they buy them.
09/06/05 - Recipe for alternative fuel
One manufacturer of the conversion kits, Greasecar Vegetable Fuel Systems, says it has sold about 1,500 kits in the past 12 months. That's the bulk of the 2,000 kits the Massachusetts company has sold in its five-year history, said customer service director Lee Briante. Two other conversion-kit companies also said interest has grown along with fuel prices. The number of converted cars on the road, however, is unknown , because no industry group or agency tracks buyers. Kits can cost $800 for a basic system that fits most diesel cars or $3,500 for a custom version to convert a Ford F-250 pickup. Installation can cost up to $1,000 extra. The Environmental Protection Agency has not approved the commercial sale of such oil as fuel. Users can brew their own as long as they don't sell it, said Christine Sanservo, an environmental engineer in the EPA's alternative fuels division. Some kits bypass emissions controls on engines to boost horsepower , which is illegal under the Clean Air Act and can lead to fines, Sanservo said. Greasecar said its systems are legal, but another kit maker acknowledges that its systems bypass controls. To work as a vegetable-oil burner, vehicles require an extra fuel tank, new fuel lines to the engine and lines from the radiator to heat the oil. Owners said it all takes a few full days to install. A switch near the engine lets drivers shift back and forth between the two fuel s ystems. In theory, any diesel engine can burn vegetable oil. In practice, vegetable oil is too thick . The conversion kits heat the oil to about 170 degrees to make it as thin as diesel. Drivers start the cars using diesel and can switch when the vegetable oil is hot enough . Hanka said it takes his car about four miles to heat up.
09/06/05 - Quote from Page 15 Infinite Energy magazine - Peak Oil and the Big Picture by Michael C. Ruppert / Saudi Arabian oil may have actually peaked. New studies are reporting that Saudi wells in the mother of all oil fields, Ghawar, are showing 55% water cut. That means that 55% of what is pumped out every day is the same seawater that was pumped in to push the oil up. Experience has shown that when the water cut gets to between 70 and 80%, the field collapses. Ghawar had an estimated 100 billion barrels of oil. Additionally this observation - Why are no more refineries being built? The answer is a simple and irrefutable confirmation of peak oil. The refineries are not being built and massive expensive exploration projects are not being undertaken because the oil companies understand that there is very little oil left to find.
09/06/05 - Convert your car or truck to Electric
Behind the fuel door, where a thirsty black hole used to be, is a three-pronged plug. Pop the trunk, and eight lead-acid batteries reveal themselves, aligned neatly in two rows. Where the engine used to be are two more batteries, along with a platform of wires and electronic casings. Sit behind the wheel to find an amp meter and a battery indicator in place of fuel and oil-pressure gauges. Mr. Westphal's ex-gasoline drinker has taken on a new identity. It's a purely electric car - and he did the conversion himself. For now, converting a gasoline-powered car is the best - and for most, the only - way to get an all-electric car. Any car can be converted, from a Hummer to a Geo Metro, and parts are available from several suppliers. Most components can go in most cars, and only about a dozen or so main parts - including an electric motor and an adapter to connect it to the transmission - are necessary for the conversion. The needed parts are available from several suppliers and are sometimes even sold as a kit - typically for $5,000 to $15,000. (Optional parts provide for power brakes and steering, air-conditioning and heat.) You could hire a mechanic or pay a specialty company to convert a gas-burning car to electric. Or you could buy one of the kits and dive in to do it yourself. Electro Automotive, based in Felton, Calif., has been supplying conversion parts since 1979, Volkswagen Rabbits and Porsche 914's are the most popular models for conversion.
09/06/05 - Mother Earth great info on electric vehicles and conversions
With only three moving parts in the electric motor (one armature and two bearings), electric propulsion systems are designed to last for two decades or more. Few moving parts means few things to repair, unlike gasoline-powered vehicles. The only maintenance required for an electric propulsion system consists of checking the battery pack every six months. And after two to five years of use, the battery pack will need to be replaced. The average full-size EV has a 15 kilowatt-hour (kwh) battery pack, which at 8 cents/kwh costs $1.20 to fully recharge for a range of 45 miles. Mile for mile, EV drivers pay less. Under the Qualified Electric Vehicle Credit (Internal Revenue Service Form 8834; www.irs.gov, current federal tax incentives offer up to a 10 percent credit based on the cost of an EV, up to $4,000 for each vehicle. Hybrid-electric vehicles, which are not powered primarily by electric motors, do not qualify, but part of the cost of these vehicles may be eligible for a clean-fuel-vehicle deduction up to $2,000.
09/06/05 - Floridian's Compressed Air Car
You won't find a gas tank on one local man's car anymore. Jerry Coren of Bronson took it out, and says he found a different way to make his engine run: on compressed air. Jerry says he and his brother has the idea years ago, even with a few people calling them crazy. Jerry says it works because, "Its an over-riding power of hydraulics. It pumps more air than the motor will use for air to run it, so its really a hydraulic over air system." Jerry says after a few mistakes it took about a year to build. So far he's only driven it in his driveway, he still has to tweak a few things before he takes it out on the road. Air Hybrid - Alternative fuels like compressed natural gas, bio-oil and alcohol/methanol aren't available at Joe's Texaco or Rotten Robbie's. Propane is more expensive than gasoline. A small gasoline powered engine running wide open all the time doing nothing but turning a compressor via a variable ratio belt drive to compensate for the variation of pressure in the compressed air tank. The compressed air routed to pneumatic slaves at the wheels via the “gas” pedal, and you’re underway. Regenerative braking accomplished with a simple valve re-routing the pressure from the wheel slaves back to the air tank and you’ve recovered the energy used in acceleration. Better yet, how about multiple engines started automatically in response to compressed air usage?
09/06/05 - Shinkansen bullet on wheels
(A high speed model for mass transit - JWD) The Shinkansen, considered one of the fastest trains on earth, left Tokyo exactly at 6 a.m. to reach Nagoya, 366 km away, exactly as the timetables say, at 7.39 a.m.. The Shinkansen's peak speed may not exceed the famed French TGV's. But it shows the world how consistently it can run bullet trains safely, a record which has no comparison. The train, travelling at a maximum speed of 300 kmph, makes it impossible for drivers to read signals. With the help of Automatic Train Control (ATC), signals and other vital information like speed are transmitted along the track and received on board. The crew cabin is very small but compact and with high visibility. This route operates three types of Shinkansens. `Nozomi' (meaning hope), the fastest, stops only at major stations; `Hikari' (light), which is a limited stop service; and `Kodama' (echo), which stops at almost all stations. The Shinkansens carry only passengers; they don't operate after midnight and resume operations at 6 a.m. every day to enable maintenance. Now, as many as nine bullet trains operate from Tokyo to Nagoya during peak evening hour.
09/06/05 - Oil companies trying to suppress alternative fuel use
The president (of Pakistan) had approved the production of fuel ethanol and blending of it with gasoline in January 2005 and had directed the ministry of Industries to implement and legislate and that it would be mandatory for the oil companies to implement the decision. As per the approval, it was mandatory for the oil companies to mix five percent fuel ethanol with gasoline as a first step. He said this would reduce the country’s import bill on oil, besides helping the country to overcome the environment/pollution problem, but all the vested interests had been able to derail the decision by prevailing upon the federal government’s highups. Ch Zaka Ashraf said the importance of ethanol could be gauged from the fact that the entire world including India and many other countries were moving fast towards adopting the use of ethanol as an alternative source of fuel. Similarly, he said, a large number of countries, especially Brazil, the USA and the European countries had even started using 100% ethanol and were producing flex fuel cars, tractors, tube well engines, powerhouses, jet aircrafts and trucks and to control pollution and give relief to consumers badly affected by high oil prices. staff report.
09/06/05 - Honda's Natural Gas Powered Civic GX Lowers Consumers' Fuel Costs by 35% - 50%
Owners of Honda's Civic GX, a natural gas powered vehicle, are paying 35% - 50% less at the pump. With gas hitting $3 a gallon across California, natural gas, currently priced between $1.80 to $2.00 per gas gallon equivalent, is a clean-burning alternative fuel that is available at re-fueling stations throughout the state. Additionally, the availability of a new home refueling appliance, named Phill, now gives GX owners the opportunity to say goodbye forever to gas stations while further increasing their savings. The Civic GX sedan seats four passengers and has a driving range of between 200 and 220 miles. Natural gas, an abundant North American resource, is among the best alternatives for displacing petroleum on a near-term basis. Longer-term, the Civic GX and Phill can help to bridge the gap between gasoline and even cleaner, more efficient energy alternatives such as hydrogen-powered fuel cells.
09/06/05 - DOE lists alternative fuels
Biofuels can reduce RP dependence on imported oil - Biofuels are sourced from agricultural products grown mostly in the countryside. Biodiesel is diesel blended with an additive using vegetable oil as base. On the other hand, ethanol-blended gasoline is produced by blending gasoline with an additive called ethanol. Ethanol is produced from crops such as sugar cane, cassava,corn,grain sorghum and wheat. Natural gas vehicle program - Some 200 buses will be running on compressed natural gas (CNG) by December this year. Next year, the number is expected to expand to 2,000 buses running using CNG. Autogas (LPG) program - Aside from coco-diesel, ethanol blended gasoline, and compressed natural gas, the government is likewise pushing for the use of liquefied petroleum gas or LPG. Operators said that the use of autogas lead up to 20 percent savings from oil change and tune-up. Its use also prolongs engine life.
09/06/05 - UV purification system
(Bob Paddock suggests this might help people at this time, but I don't think the UV tubes are that easy to get in destitute areas, but here it is - JWD) The project focuses on improving water quality for people in developing areas where other water treatment methods are not applied consistently because of their cost, inconvenience, complexity, or energy requirements. The goal of the UV-Tube Project is to design and promote the UV-Tube-an affordable, simple, and easy to use household water disinfection device that uses ultraviolet (UV-C) light to inactivate pathogens.
09/06/05 - Nitrogen in your tires increases mileage
Nancy Wujek is riding on something slightly different: When her car recently got a flat and went in for service, a friend had the tires refilled with nitrogen. The larger nitrogen molecules do not escape from a tire as easily as air. Pat Logue, Dunn Tire's director of marketing and advertising, said too many drivers' tires are underinflated, and using nitrogen helps prevent that problem. "It will basically help customers maintain their tire pressure over a longer period of time," Logue said. Dunn Tire charges $2.50 per tire for nitrogen, and customers can get them topped off for free over the life of the tires, he said. "Today, with gas prices alone, you're going to get a return on your investment very quickly," Logue said. Running the air conditioner also burns more fuel. If you can get by with just the fan blowing, that conserves gas. (and many other tips on this page)
09/06/05 - Half of Katrina damaged refineries ready to resume processing
Almost 70 percent of normal oil production and half of the natural gas output remains shut down, according to the U.S. Minerals Management Service, which said activity is slowly recovering. Eight major refineries that produce gasoline, diesel and jet fuel and heating oil were knocked out of commission and the output at two others was cut by last week's killer hurricane and the flooding that followed. That cut overall U.S. refining capacity by more than 10 percent and contributed to a surge in retail gasoline prices and spot shortages around the country. "It appears a lot of our employees probably lost their homes," Valero Chief Executive Bill Greehey told employees last week at the company's San Antonio, Texas, headquarters. "Rest assured, we are going to take care of our employees. Whatever financial help they need, they will be taken care of by Valero." The Gulf of Mexico normally produces 1.5 million barrels of crude oil a day, or about a quarter of the United States' domestic output, according to the U.S. Mineral Management Service. Other developments critical to the Gulf's recovery include:_ The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, the nation's largest oil import terminal, has been unloading tankers, operating at about 75 percent capacity. It may hit full capacity this week._ Colonial Pipeline Co., which transports refined products from Houston to as far away as the Northeast, is operating at 76 percent capacity, up 3 percent from its weekend report._ Kinder Morgan Energy Partners' Plantation Pipe Line Co., which transports fuel from refineries to Eastern markets, has been capable of full capacity operations once it receives fuel from downed refineries._ Shell Pipeline Co.'s Capline pipeline system, which transport crude oil into the Midwest, is operating at approximately 40,000 barrels per hour; the normal rate is 45,000 barrels per hour.
09/06/05 - Interruptions help you learn
The Zeigarnik effect states that people remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed ones. Russian psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik first studied the phenomenon after noticing that waiters seemed to remember orders only so long as the order was in the process of being served. Zeigarnik theorized that an incomplete task or unfinished business creates “psychic tension” within us. This tension acts as a motivator to drive us toward completing the task or finishing the business. In Gestalt terms, we are motivated to seek “closure…”
09/05/05 - Simple 'oil from shale' recovery technique
Shell's method, which it calls "in situ conversion," is simplicity itself in concept but exquisitely ingenious in execution. Drill shafts into the oil-bearing rock. Drop heaters down the shaft. Cook the rock until the hydrocarbons boil off, the lightest and most desirable first. Collect them. Please note, you don't have to go looking for oil fields when you're brewing your own. On one small test plot about 20 feet by 35 feet, on land Shell owns, they started heating the rock in early 2004. "Product" - about one-third natural gas, two-thirds light crude - began to appear in September 2004. They turned the heaters off about a month ago, after harvesting about 1,500 barrels of oil. The oil shale formation in the Green River Basin, most of which is in Colorado, covers more than a thousand square miles - the largest fossil fuel deposits in the world. They don't need subsidies; the process should be commercially feasible with world oil prices at $30 a barrel.
09/05/05 - Zero Energy homes add $20,000 to home price
Premier Gardens, which opened last summer, is one of a half-dozen subdivisions in California where every home cuts power consumption by at least 50 percent, mostly by using low-power appliances and solar panels. "Spectrally selective" windows cut power bills by blocking solar heat in the summer and retaining indoor warmth in cold weather. Fluorescent bulbs throughout use two thirds the juice of incandescents. A suitcase-size tankless hot-water heater in the garage, powered by gas, saves energy by warming water only when the tap is turned on. The rest of the energy savings comes from the solar units. Set flush with the roof tiles, the two-kilowatt photovoltaic panels unobtrusively turn the sun's rays into AC power with the help of an inverter in the garage. If the panels are generating more power than the home is using-when the house is empty during a sunny day-the excess flows into the utility's power grid. Gonzales and other residents are billed by "net metering": they pay for the amount of power they tap off the grid, less the kilowatts they feed into it. If a home generates more power in one month than it uses, the bill is zero.
09/05/05 - Spanish windpower
From just over 200 MW in 1997, the Spanish market has been steadily growing at annual rates of more than 30 percent. Last year Spain reached a record level of 2,065 MW installed, a 33 percent increase on 2003, taking the total to 8,263 MW. For the first time, this yearly growth in the Spain just barely outpaced Germany's current yearly growth. A new Electricity Act established a "Special Regime" for renewables, including wind, with guaranteed access to the grid and a premium payment for generated power. "To dismiss wind energy as an expensive, niche green luxury, as many do, is to ignore what has happened in Spain, the world's number one wind market", said Millais. "In the energy world with its seductive array of proposed solutions - from clean coal to
carbon sequestration to nuclear fusion - what convinces most, and what wind delivers,
is proof, not promises", said Millais.
09/05/05 - Slowing tumor growth up to 70%
Special, high-dose formulations of vitamin D and common, over-the-counter painkillers can greatly slow the growth of prostate cancer tumours, US researchers report. Combining the two slowed their growth by up to 70 per cent in a laboratory dish, the team at the Stanford University School of Medicine found. "There is great enhancement when the drugs are given together, using what we think is a safe dose in humans," Feldman said.
09/05/05 - Solar and Alternative in high demand
You can look but you can't buy. That was the word Friday from the solar energy corner of the Southwest Sustainability Expo at NAU. A worldwide shortage of solar panels has put most local projects on hold. "I get them in and they are sold before I get them in the warehouse," said Ursula Garrett, owner of ETA Engineering in Tempe. "We're back-ordered. The demand increased and the silicon suppliers aren't keeping up." Wind turbines, however, are not as scarce. "Compared to solar, wind per watt is cheaper than solar, but, of course, you have to have wind and you have to get it above the pines," said John Ervin, another Wind & Sun salesman. "This is the ultimate passive design," he said. "You don't need air conditioning, even here in Arizona. If they would build this way, they wouldn't need the air conditioning that's 50 percent of the energy consumption in his country." A shot-crete dome like his is made by spraying a concrete foam material over a giant inflated balloon. It is quick to build and relatively inexpensive and can be made in three days for about $30 per foot. "It's like a pool, only upside down," he explained. "The fourth little piggy would have lived in a masonry dome. A dome uses a third less materials. These particular domes can save from 60 to 80 percent on your cooling and heating bills."
09/05/05 - Blogs teach people to think and interact
Blogging is helping students to think and write more critically, says an Australian researcher, and can help draw out people who would otherwise not engage in debate. She says blogs are also extremely useful for categorising and managing a large collection of thoughts, whether they are from lecture notes, a student's own ideas, or comments on the ideas of others.
09/05/05 - Electric bike runs up to 30mph
With proper use of gearing, speeds of 25 - 30 mph are unbelievably easy to achieve and Machine X cruises up sustained steep inclines with minimal rider effort. Machine X is an ingenious combination of a Heinzman 500W motor, a 9-gear drive system and "add-on ready" tubular NiMH D-cell battery packs mounted low on the frame. For a bike that weighs in at just under 50 lbs.. It pedals like a regular bicycle. No extra resistance and if the juice runs out, its nice to know you can pedal home to charge up. Full contact street tires, 20 inch wheels, low CG and the Burro frame’s geometric logic make this a nimble and extremely maneuverable electric bike. We dig the disc brakes. You get a secure feeling from being able to stop on a dime. We love coasting. Hooray for free wheeling! Once you get it up to speed, its fun to coast along silently and use power only when you need it.
09/05/05 - State helps City buy hydrid vehicles for testing
Town Manager Richard J. Johnson recently announced the town would use grant money to purchase two hybrid vehicles. The Honda Civics will be used in the human services fleet for such programs as the senior dial-a-ride program. "We are going to see how they perform and work into the fleet," Johnson said. "We are always looking for ways to become more efficient, and lowering fuel costs is certainly part of that." The DOT's Alternative Fuel Vehicle Program assists towns by paying the difference between the gasoline-powered vehicles and the more expensive alternative fuel models. The hybrid Civic retails for approximately $19,900; the gasoline-powered Civics cost $13,260. The town will receive $6,800 per vehicle. Johnson said the mileage of a hybrid is 47 miles per gallon on the highway and 48 mpg in the city. The hybrid car uses a combination of electricity and gasoline. Each fuel kicks in according to driving conditions. The cars get considerably higher mileage than those powered solely by gasoline.
09/05/05 - Charging your cell from dynamo electric radio
A sales clerk demonstrates how a mobile phone can be charged using a dynamo-electric power radio at an emergency goods exhibition in Tokyo August 23, 2005. The Tokyo metropolitan government planned the four-day exhibition to disseminate knowledge of disaster prevention.
09/05/05 - Solar powered Straw house
Womersley, a human ecology professor, and his wife Aimee Phillippi live comfortably in a house built of roughly 200 straw bales. Strong and solid, the walls have insulating capacity several times that of conventional homes, offering more than ample protection from winter temperatures than can persist in the single numbers for days. Coming from a source that renews itself annually, straw is cheap, and it's not an attractive food source for insects. And its proponents note that once the tightly packed straw is covered with stucco, it catches fire at a higher temperature than wood. All of which leave Womersley, who's in his 40s, and his wife, who's just shy of 30, cozy in the winter and cool in the summer. They have no mortgage and only about $6,000 in credit card debts from building the home they share with two dogs. They have no children. Separated from the woods road by vegetable gardens and a pen for their pigs, their home is off the power grid and completely self-contained. Womersley takes special pride in the fact that it's built entirely from recycled or renewable materials. The construction cost came to less than $20,000.
09/04/05 - Helium 3 Fusion as a fuel source
Scientists estimate there are about 1 million tons of helium 3 on the moon, enough to power the world for thousands of years. The equivalent of a single space shuttle load or roughly 25 tons could supply the entire United States' energy needs for a year, according to Apollo17 astronaut and FTI researcher Harrison Schmitt. "Helium 3 could be the cash crop for the moon," said Kulcinski, a longtime advocate and leading pioneer in the field, who envisions the moon becoming "the Hudson Bay Store of Earth. "Today helium 3 would have a cash value of $4 billion a ton in terms of its energy equivalent in oil, he estimates. "When the moon becomes an independent country, it will have something to trade." Helium 3 fusion would produce little residual radioactivity. Helium 3, an isotope of the familiarhelium used to inflate balloons and blimps, has a nucleus with two protons and one neutron. A nuclear reactor based on the fusion of helium 3 and deuterium, which has a single nuclear proton and neutron, would produce very few neutrons -- about 1 percent of the number generated by the deuterium-tritium reaction. "You could safely build a helium 3 plant in the middle of a bigcity," Kulcinski said. Inside a lab chamber, the Wisconsin researchers have produced protons from a steady-state deuterium-helium 3 plasma at a rate of 2.6 million reactions per second. That's fast enough to produce fusion power but not churn out electricity. $1 billion/metric ton - Binder doesn't expect miners to fly to the moon for the express purpose of bringing back the isotope. Instead, he said, helium-3 would be harvested as a byproduct of building and maintaining a lunar settlement. Schmitt predicted the gas could be returned to Earth for under $1 billion a metric ton. Kulcinski adds that, if it sold for $4 billion a metric ton, helium-3 would still be a good energy value: "That's the equivalent of paying $28 a barrel for oil." Last year, crude oil prices averaged $26.60 per barrel, based on figures from the U.S. Department of Energy.
09/04/05 - Rebuilding New Orleans as a Living Laboratory?
New Orleans, sitting next to 30% of the nation's oil and gas production, could demonstrate this principle in an extraordinarily visible, powerful, and dare I say beautiful way. New Orleans could become a living laboratory for solar roofs, mini hydro generators, architecture that creates cool buildings without air conditioning, electric and fuel cell vehicles ... the whole list of green dreams for technically sustainable world. These could become the basis of new industries to replace the gas and oil revenues, and be partly financed by them, as well as by the general reconstruction funds that are already on their way.
09/04/05 - Titanium enhances hydrogen storage
"A hydrogen-storage material must be able to store hydrogen quickly under 'normal' conditions -- that is, without very high temperatures and pressures," said Chaudhuri. "In tiny amounts, an appropriate catalyst, such as titanium, can speed up the reaction and make the hydrogen-storage process suitable for practical applications. Our study has helped us better understand the role of these catalysts." Through this research, Chaudhuri and his collaborator, Brookhaven chemist James Muckerman, hope to improve the performance of sodium alanate, a hydrogen-storage material composed of sodium and aluminum hydride. Sodium alanate, known as a "complex metal hydride," expels hydrogen gas (the fuel) and aluminum when heated, leaving a mixture of sodium hydride and metallic aluminum. But because neither aluminum nor sodium hydride absorb hydrogen well, putting the hydrogen back in -- to reform sodium alanate and allow reuse of the material -- becomes difficult. "We found that aluminum absorbs significantly more hydrogen -- and does so more quickly and at lower temperatures -- when a small number of titanium atoms are incorporated into its surface," Chaudhuri said.
09/04/05 - 17 Tips vendors don't want you to know
* Overclocking * You Never Have to Pay Full Price * Faster Shipping Isn't Always Faster * You Can Kill the Messenger * Extended Warranties Aren't Worth It * You Too Can Exploit Windows' Bad Security * You Can Save Big Money on Big-Name Software Packages * That Dead Pixel on Your LCD May Not Be Covered * Your Cell Phone's Been Crippled * High-End Manufacturers Don't Always Make Their Products * You Can Call Amazon, EBay, and Other Web Businesses * Security Center Can Be Muted * Game Consoles Are Hackable * You Can Use an IPod to Move Music * You Can Get a Human on the Phone * MP3 Players Run Down Too Fast * Useless Specs
09/04/05 - Ovonics solid hydrogen storage
According to ECD Ovonics, the company’s storage canister will hold almost twice the amount of hydrogen as compared to a similar size vessel holding liquid hydrogen, and more than three times the amount of hydrogen when compared to a similar size vessel holding high pressure gaseous hydrogen. Ovonic hydrogen storage canisters operate at low pressures and feature fast refilling capability. Anything that burns and is used for fuel can be replaced by hydrogen, the need for hydrogen storage vessels is expected to grow as applications for hydrogen fuel increases. Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ECD Ovonics) staff engineer Jeff Schmidt examines the metal hydride powder utilized in a unique hydrogen tank that can be used to power current internal combustion engines (ICEs).
09/04/05 - Buoy Power from wave motion
Researchers believe that by harnessing just 0.2 percent of the ocean’s power that could be enough to power light bulbs around the world. Inside the buoy, an electric coil wraps around a magnetic shaft, which is attached to the sea floor. The coil is secured to the buoy, and it bobs up and down with the swells while the shaft stays in a fixed place. This movement generates electricity. Each buoy could potentially produce 250 kilowatts of power, according to researchers, and the technology could be scaled up or down to suit the needs of the people on shore. Researchers estimate it would only take about 200 of these buoys to provide enough electricity to run the business district of downtown Portland. Wavepower is more predictable, available and energy-dense than wind.
09/04/05 - Net Metering - Earning Money from Solar Power
Instead of costly batteries, you can use the grid to “store” your excess solar power. In most states, net metering laws require your utility to credit you whenever your system produces more power than you use. This means that when the sun is shining, your electric meter may spin backwards! When your grid-tied system is producing more than you use, the excess power automatically flows back to the grid, literally spinning your electricity meter backward and adding credits to your account. In many states, any net excess electricity credits you accumulate during your billing cycle can be sold to the utility - but usually at a significantly lower price than the retail rate. Batteries in a grid-tied system only provide backup power during utility outages. A much better tool exists for backup power - a gas or diesel generator. If you expect long power outages in your area, you would want a generator just to avoid having to maintain a large battery bank. And once you have a generator, why have batteries at all? The only other major component of your grid-tied nonbattery system is the inverter. The inverter changes the direct current (DC) created by the PV into the alternating current (AC) we use in North America. In a battery system, the inverter usually is sized for the maximum potential demand of your home during a power outage - and that typically makes it much larger and more expensive than nonbattery inverters that only have to be sized to handle the power produced by the PV system. The new generation of certified grid-tied, or “grid-interactive,” inverters seems reliable, but you probably should choose a high-voltage DC inverter because they are less expensive to wire.
09/04/05 - Solar Concentrator Tower for 200MWs of power
The 3,280-foot tall tower will be surrounded by a vast greenhouse that will heat air to drive turbines around the base of the tower. It is estimated that the power station will be able to generate 200 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 200,000 households. Sunlight can be captured as usable heat or converted into electricity using solar, or photoelectric, cells or through synchronized mirrors known as heliostats that track the sun’s movement across the sky. Scientists have also developed methods for using solar power to replace a gas-powered engine by heating hydrogen gas in a tank, which expands to drive pistons and power a generator.
09/04/05 - The Irony of "only buy gas if you absolutely have to"
Not only in Bushs' own career, but that of the dynasty that spawned him, has been built on precisely the opposite advice - use as much oil as you can, America, without a second thought for the consequences. It is deeply ironic that the Bush administration has come face to face with the folly of this mentality as a result of domestic catastrophe rather than the defection of some foreign potentate on whom they had placed their bets. For the past 30 years, the US has been a net importer of oil on an ever-increasing scale. It is this dearth of refining capacity, rather than any global shortage, that has been driving oil prices up so spectacularly over the past year with disastrous consequences for poor countries. There has not been a single new refinery built in the United States in the past 25 years. Hurricane Katrina closed nine refineries and overnight, the US lost 12 per cent of its capacity - enough to tip the balance into shortage, panic and Bush's pathetic plea.
09/04/05 - Hydrogen fuel cell powered rickshaw
The three-wheeler, the product of an alliance between American-Indian business houses forged by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is one of two such unique vehicles in the world. The conventional combustion engine of the three-wheeler has been converted to use hydrogen as an alternative fuel. The vehicle boasts of performance levels equal to those of conventional Compressed Natural Gas-fuelled ones.
09/03/05 - B12 injections to energize your life
“B12 injections have been used for a long time by politicians and people in the entertainment industry,” says Dr Steve Hajioff “Sometimes the show really must go on,” says Dr Hajioff. “Performers use B12 jabs to get them through. They’re a healthy alternative to alcohol and drugs.” The shot contains a whopping 500 times the recommended daily dose of the vitamin (found in meat, fish, eggs and milk), which is needed for the formation of red blood cells and healthy nervous and cardiovascular systems. An increasing number of busy young professionals are self-medicating with this so-called “energy vitamin”. “We use very fine, very small needles,” says Dr Hajioff. The B12 - known scientifically as hydroxocobalamin - is dark red. It takes a few seconds to inject one milligram. A week later we all reported the same outcomes: increased energy levels, better sleep and a feeling of sharpness. But vitamin B12 is not addictive, says Dr Hajioff. And there is no evidence to suggest that you can overdose on it. “We don't know why it makes people feel so good,” says Dr Hajioff. “But 70 per cent of patients report positive results. And I’ve never heard of any side-effects."
09/03/05 - Canola oil (rapeseed) as a biodiesel fuel
Like other oils derived from seeds, canola oil can burn in diesel engines. The German inventor Rudolf Diesel designed his engine to run on peanut oil - not petroleum - when he patented it in 1892. Rapeseeds, second only to coconuts in terms of oil content, can be pressed to create canola oil, which took its current name in 1986, when Canadian farmers coined "Canada oil" to market cooking oil made from the rapeseed plant. As a fuel, the oil has already caught on in Europe, particularly in Germany, the world's largest producer of biodiesel fuel. In the European Union, which has set a goal of replacing 6 percent of its fuel supply with biofuels in the next five years, rapeseed is the most popular crop used to produce biodiesel. Biodiesel, which is often mixed with petroleum diesel, is made from vegetable oil mixed with methanol and potassium hydroxide or lye, and cooked to about 130 degrees. Robock uses a converted hot water heater to cook batches of fuel, and he uses the glycerin byproduct as compost.
09/03/05 - The foretold, forewarned (many times) crisis is upon us
What finally convinced Bush? The melting icebergs in the Arctic? Rapid extinction of entire species of animals and plants? Increasingly drastic changes in weather patterns. In Alaska, the climate change is so severe that people “are starting to freak out,” Dan Lashof, a scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, recently told Britain’s Independent. “The retreat of the sea ice allows the oceans to pound the coast more, and villages there are suffering from the effects of that erosion. There is permafrost melting, roads are buckling, there are forests that have been infested with beetles because of a rise in temperatures. I think residents there feel it’s visible more and more, more than any other place in the country.” As the Union of Concerned Scientists put it, “There’s a serious risk the climate will change in ways that will seriously disrupt our lives. Among the severest impacts: a rise in sea level, more heat waves and droughts; more extreme weather events, producing floods and property destruction; and tropical diseases spreading to areas where they’ve never been known before. If we don’t take action, global warming will threaten our health, our cities, our farms, and our forests, wetlands and other natural habitats.” Instead of forcing people to drive less, high gas prices simply force most people to spend more money that they don’t have--because we live in a society that ignores the need for public transportation and alternative energy technology.
09/03/05 - More on dirty silicon to increase yields
Solar cells often contain metal contaminants that can reduce the quality and efficiency of solar cell performance. Researchers developed a simple and inexpensive way to engineer solar cellwhich would allow them to collect the majority of metal impurities in a few large clusters. Researchers found that the distribution of metal impurities could be varied according to different cooling rates applied to the silicon. A slower cooling rate leads to formation of few large clusters of metal impurities. “There are still many exciting research issues to be investigated towards the goal to produce solar cells with 18 to 20 perecent efficiency rather than the current 12 to 15 percent using low-cost Si material,” Weber said.
09/03/05 - Forest waste for fuel
Project that will take unused forest waste and turn it into clean oil to power devices currently used by electricity. The MNR’s Joe Maure says “right now forest debris is left to rot and decay, or burn, losing the potential energy in that debris…so we’re talking about a process where we can convert that debris into an oil and produce electricity and heat.” “The oil we produce can be used in any boiler system or can be refined into glues and plastics.” The experimental device for the process is designed and built by Ottawa’s Advanced BioRefinery Inc., and is portable, meaning it will be used at several locations around the North, including the Sault.
09/03/05 - Sonic 'lasers' deployed to flood zone
Costa Mesa, California-based HPV showed off three sizes of its Magnetic Acoustic Device, or MAD, a black square panel composed of multiple speakers. The units on display ranged from about 4 to 10 feet across. The device uses magnets approximately 6 inches tall and 9.25 inches wide to convert electrical pulses into sound waves, and is capable of aiming sound precisely for thousands of feet -- like the sonic equivalent of a laser, or spotlight. Its path and reach can be affected by environmental factors such as nearby flat surfaces, hills, bodies of water or strong bursts of wind. A series of test sounds beamed out by MAD, including gunfire, music and instructional commands, were audible and intelligible at distances of up to a mile. When a subject is at close range in MAD's sonic path, and it is set to high volume, the sound can be excruciating.
09/03/05 - Off the shelf heat pump system for heating
"The sun doesn't have to shine and the wind doesn't have to blow for the system to work," Mr. Kaye said of his alternative energy source. "Every homeowner has the ability to do it." Mr. Kaye doesn't have an engineering background but learned to make them on his own by gathering information. His company now has four patents on heat pumps and he sold manufacturing rights to a U.S. company for $100,000. Two years ago he converted his home to a heat pump system after discovering that the small village of Petitcodiac is home to one of the largest manufacturers of this alternative heating system in the country. The system costs $8,000 to $10,000 more than conventional heating systems, an investment Mr. Kaye claims should be recouped within four to six years. "Every time the energy cost goes up, you are getting a raise (in benefits)," he said. For example, to heat a 12,000 to 15,000 square foot bungalow it would cost between $10,000 to $12,000 to install Mr. Kaye's system. In comparison an oil heating system would cost about $8,000 to $9,000. Heat pumps can provide both heating and hot water as well as refrigeration in the summer.
09/03/05 - OTEC hot/cold differential for thermodynamic power
Oceans cover 70 percent of the Earth, and water is a natural solar energy collector. OTEC, or ocean thermal energy conversion, aims to exploit this fact and use the temperature differences between surface water heated by the sun and water in the ocean’s chilly depths to generate electricity. OTEC plants can double as fresh water sources and the nutrient rich seawater drawn from ocean depths can be used to culture marine organisms and plants. The major drawback of OTEC is that since they operate on such small temperature differences, generally about 36 degrees Fahrenheit (20 Celsius), they are only 1 to 3 percent efficient.
09/02/05 - High prices forcing lifestlye changes
"Higher gas prices will spread the use of light rail for mass transit," said Konopa, 29, a civil engineer in Salt Lake City. "It will help people get into the conservation idea." Rob Jones, who in jest claims to be from "Smog Lake, Utah," echoes Konopa in urging Utahns to "hope and pray and praise the lord that gas prices continue going up. "What else do we and the planet's other inhabitants have going to encourage population control and to reduce egregious resource use and abuse?" Jones, a 55-year-old Salt Lake City resident, said in an e-mail. "Everything is going to go sky high," said Jones, 70. "It is going to hurt a lot of people, and I'm one of them." Greenwood says, "This is the biggest rip-off in the world," he said. "I'm going to remember all these people come voting time." "Whether it's trucked in or manufactured here, they are going to pass costs on to the consumer."
09/02/05 - A personal comment from JWD - Several years ago, I had the privilege of attending a Colorado International Tesla Society conference with some close friends in Dallas. At this conference was Dr. Paramahansa Tewari from Bombay (now called Mumbai) where he worked as senior scientist at the nuclear power plant. Dr. Tewari gave our small group over 2 hours of his time for discussing his experiments with resistance free 'homopolar generators' which produce 1.2-1.5 volts at 1500 amps and more. Realize this is pure DC. Dr. Tewari told us he had been testing his AC version which reduces the energy sapping arcing these devices are known for. However, the reason I am writing this is he told us he had been generating hydrogen from water that was powered by his homopolar generator and producing vast quantities of hydrogen, of such volume that they were running Bombay city busses with his hydrogen. I was never able to check out this claim but it stuck with me and seems pretty important to recount now for those who might be interested.
09/02/05 - Propane Fuel Cell in real world test
A town of Tompkins resident is getting free electricity for a year while his home is used to test an alternative method of delivering power. Tweedie’s home was chosen because it is an average-size house occupied by a family with a normal lifestyle, Starheim said. The house has an electric hot-water heater and baseboard heating, which is typical for the area. Starheim said rural electric cooperatives nationwide are interested in fuel cells and energy storage as alternatives to running electric lines to homes in remote areas. "It has an automatic switch that switches it back to the electric grid when needed," Tweedie said. Propane powers the cell by coming into a device that converts it into hydrogen, Starheim said. The hydrogen goes to a fuel stack and then passes through a molecular membrane where protons come off the hydrogen atom, creating voltage. The hydrogen then combines with oxygen, forming water and giving off heat. The heat is gathered and goes to a heat exchanger, where it can be used during the warm months to heat hot water and during the winter could be channeled into the baseboard heating system to help heat the house.
09/02/05 - St. Paul converting city fleet vehicles to E85
St. Paul is going to convert some of its city cars to run on E-85 fuel, power its truck fleet with a biodiesel blend and experiment with a hydrogen fuel, city officials said Thursday. The city would purchase 58 E-85 sedans and would install a tank at its Dale Street shops to store the fuel, since it is not widely publicly available. E-85 is 85 percent ethanol. He said the city's diesel stocks will be converted to a 5 percent biodiesel blend starting today, and he hopes to use a 20 percent blend next year.
09/02/05 - Saving money by riding the train and van pooling
"I love it," Newton says. "You get your group and sit together and talk and laugh. A lot of times, especially during market when we're just exhausted, we nap all the way home. I have six or eight friends who sit together most days, and none of us would give it up." She figures the train saves her about $230 a month in fuel to get to and from her job as showroom manager for Global Views, the home decor company for which she works. "They provided a parking place, but it cost me about $80 every two weeks for gas when I took my car," Newton says. "That was two years ago, and I figure it would cost me about $150 every two weeks at today's prices. My train pass costs $35 every two weeks or $70 a month." She admits the train takes a little longer most days, but she never gets stuck in traffic. The T also has a fleet of 112 vans available for groups of 6 to 15 employees who want to carpool to their jobs. The vanpool cost depends on the mileage involved and ranges from $59 a month for people whose round-trip commute is 45 miles or less up to $147 for those who travel 166 to 190 miles a day. "If you travel 45 miles a day, for an average of 21 days a month, it costs you $708 a year to pool, versus $4,253 to drive alone," says Charms Guillory, The T's vanpool specialist. She bases her projections on the federal reimbursement rate of 37.5 cents per mile.
09/02/05 - Massachussetts Bus Fleet running on CNG
The MBTA, which now boasts a bus fleet fueled with clean compressed natural gas (CNG), is one of the largest users of alternative fuel in the region. A number of cities and towns, universities and private sector innovators are equally leading the way. But the majority of fleets in New England currently rely exclusively on high-emissions, non-sustainably-fueled vehicles. "Fleet Day" will offer case studies on successful conversions, while providing resources to assist fleet managers in understanding their options to reduce fuel costs and harmful emissions.
09/02/05 - Brace for more Katrinas
This increase has also coincided with a big rise in Earth's surface temperature in recent years, driven by greenhouse gases that cause the Sun's heat to be stored in the sea, land and air rather than radiate back out to space. "(Atlantic) cyclones have been increasing in numbers since 1995, but one can't say with certainty that there is a link to global warming," says Patrick Galois with the French weather service Meteo-France. Hurricanes derive from clusters of thunderstorms over tropical waters that are warmer than 27.2 C (81 C). A key factor in ferocity is the temperature differential between the sea surface and the air above the storm. The warmer the sea, the bigger the differential and the bigger the potential to "pump up" the storm. Just a tiny increase in surface temperature can have an extraordinary effect, says researcher Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
09/02/05 - Rising energy prices fail to boost Fuel Cell stocks
"What you would think is that oil prices would have a very pronounced effect" on renewables, he says. "We've done two different studies and we found out that oil prices were not much of a factor at all. What happened was the (stock) price of these fuel-cell and alternative-energy companies resembled more what happens in the technology sector." Consumers absorb gasoline price increases because they are incremental, Michal Moore says. It turns out, Sadorsky adds, that among investment analysts and researchers, alternative energy companies have been viewed not as energy stocks, but as instrumentation and optic companies. "The analysts who follow the stocks aren't even the ones who follow the energy sector." Engineers who run the electricity grid are reluctant to integrate renewable power into the grid because they view options such as wind power as "intermittent, peaky, hard to ramp up and anticipate when it kicks in, and equally hard to ramp down," Moore says. "If you're Wal-Mart or Costco and you've got the option of the fuel-cell thing and the battery thing and the price is the same ... what are you going to do? Convert over to the new one at on-par price and risk it breaking down? Because if it breaks down, you're dead."
09/02/05 - Saudi West ready for development
According to a report by the U.S. Department of Energy, the United States has three times the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia locked in oil-shale deposits beneath federal land in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. Oil shale is a rock that produces petroleum when heated. Although industry and government officials have known about the deposits for a while, until recently production was too expensive to be considered. However, the combination of high oil prices and recent technological advances make the development of shale oil more economically feasible. Energy Department officials believe it may soon be possible to tap the estimated 500 billion to 1.1 trillion recoverable barrels. The process will take a while. No production facilities can be opened next week, so there will be no short-term relief for frustrated drivers.
09/02/05 - Theft of Russian Inventions
It turns out that foreigners are those who are the most interested in Russian inventions. However, they are not eager to pay Russians. There is no need to do it if you can get everything for free. Foreigners say: "We would like to buy your invention but before you patent it in Russia we want to make sure it is viable. Answer several questions before we set up a deal". All of the following questions shoot in the eye. After simple-minded inventor answers the last question the patrons disappear and using the information they obtained seal a patent.
09/02/05 - Complaints of Gouging (Why are we not surprised?)
The Energy Department reported more than 5,000 calls to its price gouging hotline from motorists around the country, although officials emphasized there was no way to immediately determine how many of the allegations were valid. The states with the most complaints were North Carolina, Georgia, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Illinois, Tennessee, New Jersey, Michigan and South Carolina. Gas prices jumped 35 cents to 50 cents a gallon overnight in some areas pushing to well over $3 a gallon after Hurricane Katrina shut down nine Gulf Coast refineries, disrupted gasoline pipelines to the Midwest and East and stopped 90 percent of the oil production in the Gulf of Mexico. But Seesel said the FTC has no jurisdiction over an individual gas station operator raising his price, no matter how high, unless there is some collusion among retailers. There have been isolated cases of unusually huge price jumps, including a gas station in Georgia that briefly charged $6 a gallon when competitors ran out of gas. In Michigan, there was a price jump of nearly $1 a gallon overnight, although prices then receded...
09/02/05 - Australian estimate of the hidden costs of operating an automobile
According to the NRMA, the average family car costs about $200 per week to run, against the average weekly wage of $782. The hidden costs included servicing, registration, insurance and depreciation: the loss of value from vehicles getting older, which was about 50 per cent of the total cost. Fuel came to 20 per cent of the cost. Costs varied slightly by state, but as an example, in NSW the NRMA found a small car like the Hyundai Getz cost the least to run at $107 a week. The average family car, such as a Holden Commodore, cost $197 per week. Big four-wheel-drives such as the Toyota Land Cruiser tipped the scales at $346 per week.
09/01/05 - Useful Tip - How to get cheaper Airline Tickets
(Consider 10% of your savings as a donation to support KeelyNet...LOL... - JWD) The author wrote, "I recently made a one-night trip from Houston to Chicago with very little notice. I managed to save almost $200 off of the lowest-price plane ticket by adding a hotel room at a Super 8 outside of Gary, IN, which I didn’t use. A quick look at Travelocity shows me that it was no fluke- for brief trips with very little notice, it’s much cheaper to book a flight to Chicago if you book a room at a Super 8 at the same time. At the time that I originally wrote this post, Delta would sell a flight from Houston to Chicago for $616 without a hotel room, $340 with. If I needed to leave tomorrow, I could buy a ticket on American for $606 without a hotel room, or $350 with." WOW!
09/01/05 - Fuel cell powered boiler for heat and power production
Ceres Power says its fuel cell can produce enough energy to heat homes, with individual fuel cells collectively laid in a "cube of cells". Ceres says its fuel cell is capable of running on both natural gas and bottled gas, as well as hydrogen.
09/01/05 - Inertial force generator page
(In French, but Thanks Batiste! - JWD) Babelfish couldn't do a complete translation and gives me an error. The page is fairly explicit via the drawings which show the basic inertial principle in action via several diagrams. The 1st diagram shows a device which allows for timed, controlled, contraction and expulsion of cylindrical weights to produce a unidirectional force. The 2nd diagram shows a means of cancelling local inertia between two counter-rotating 180 degree phase shifted devices. A 3rd diagram shows how two or more of these counter-rotating wheels could be used in a plane (or other vehicles) to reduce or cancel inertial properties, which according to Puthoff, Haisch and Ruida are caused by entrained ZPE, otherwise called aether.
09/01/05 - Tropical plants to cleanse and recycle sewage water
A greenhouse contains mainly Asian plants that do the purification and recycling. In the so-called living machine, the contents of a flushed toilet are pumped into a filtration system to rid them of odor and then into six concrete cylinders holding vegetation that eat the waste, converting it into plant food. After the water is cleaned for reuse, it is pumped back into the toilets to resume the cycle. Signs hanging over toilets warn users that the water, dyed blue for good measure, is undrinkable wastewater.
09/01/05 - New Energy Movement
New Energy Movement's primary task is to encourage intelligent public debate and discussion as to which energy alternatives are both effective and safe, and accelerate the widespread conversion to the best energy options. The dominant fossil fuel and nuclear energy systems currently used by mankind are unsafe, yet the inertia of entrenched and protective vested interests discourages innovation. New Energy Movement objectively considers all viable clean and renewable energy options, free of vested interests. We wish to work with all new energy inventors whose concepts demonstrate promise.
09/01/05 - The Replicator - online for your designs NOW
eMachineShop, an application that produces a physical 3-D copy of almost anything I draw. "You know the machine on Star Trek? The replicator? That's what I was aiming for," says Jim Lewis, the guy who created this tool. The concept is simple: Boot up your computer and design whatever object you can imagine, press a button to send the CAD file to Lewis' headquarters in New Jersey, and two or three weeks later he'll FedEx you the physical object. Customers are using his service to create engine-block parts for hot rods, gears for home-brew robots, telescope mounts - even special soles for tap dance shoes. "Designing stuff used to be just for experts," Lewis says. "We're bringing it to the masses." I stumble upon a tool in the software that lets me draw swooping, Stradivarius-like curves. This is more like it! In a flurry of creativity, I dash off a dozen concepts, stunned at how easy it suddenly is. I remix various classic guitar designs by drawing the outlines of famous models, like the Fender Stratocaster and the Gibson Les Paul, then stretching and skewing their outlines to make my own mutations. As I finish each concept, I click a button and up pops a lifelike 3-D view of my design. I spin it around to view it from all angles. Seeing a virtual version of each creation floating in space is very cool. I had originally hoped to have it cut out of pine, like a normal guitar body, but when I explore the options for materials, I find that eMachineShop doesn't stock wood thick enough. The software offers me several possibilities, and each time I swap in a new material, it reprices the entire job, down to the penny. In the end, I opt to have a 3-D milling machine carve my design out of a single block of clear acrylic, with unbuffed raw aluminum for the faceplate.
09/01/05 - Hopping Lunar Robots
(Most would think of the Hulk, but I think of the Tibetan Lung Gom Pa, said to possess the secret of reducing their mass weight to allow high jumps over long distances - JWD) The first lunar colonists may not be a humans but compact robots capable of jumping more than a kilometre in a single bound. The robot, in fact, bears no physical resemblance to a real penguin, but looks like a simple, squat, four-legged lunar lander. It is just under 1 metre tall and weighs 104 kilograms. But Meerman adds that leaping such distances across the surface of the Moon could subject any instruments aboard the robot to severe stress. "Landing on the Moon is notoriously difficult," he says. "Much more so than on Mars, so doing it multiple times will be a big engineering challenge." "If it's successful, perhaps we could find astronauts on the next manned Moon mission using the same system to jump over hills," he says.
09/01/05 - US Govt waives clean air rules for gasoline, diesel
The Bush administration said on Wednesday it will waive for all 50 U.S. states certain federal environmental regulations through September 15 for gasoline and diesel due to a disruption in supplies caused by Hurricane Katrina. "These waivers are necessary to see that fuel is available throughout the country," said Stephen Johnson, head of the Environmental Protection Agency. The waivers will allow gasoline with higher evaporation rates and diesel fuel with a higher sulfur content to be sold.
09/01/05 - Extra Virgin olive oil dulls pain
The compound, which they've named oleocanthal, has the same pain relieving qualities as ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), the research team report in the journal Nature today. The researchers estimate that 50 grams of olive oil provides about 10% of the ibuprofen needed for adult pain relief, which means you'd need to swallow half a kilogram of oil to get the benefits of one dose.
09/01/05 - Misfueling can destroy your engine
Nobody puts the wrong fuel in their car deliberately, and "misfuelling" has mushroomed into a huge problem for tens of thousands of drivers switching from petrol to diesel to help offset rocketing oil prices. In fact it is happening, on average, more than 400 times a day, each mistake costing about £7,000 to fix, and it's not likely to be covered by insurance. So diesel makes good sense. But if a motorist who has used petrol all his or her life buys or borrows a new diesel car then uses the wrong nozzle at the filling station, costly damage can be done even before the ignition key has been inserted, because unlocking the doors also energises a diesel's fuel pump. Petrol wrecks diesel engine lubrication processes and is particularly damaging to a diesel engine's costly, high-pressure fuel pump, which operates at up to 2,050bar (30,000psi). Petrol removes the pump case hardening and if a film of hardened metal disintegrates into swarf it will greatly harm or even wreck an engine's internal organs. At best, if the engine is not started or perhaps run only very briefly, the fuel tank and its internal pump, fuel lines, main high-pressure pump, fuel injectors and filters will all require removal, clearing and re-installation (which might include some renewal) at a cost of up to £7,000. At worst, several parts will need replacing, even the engine itself, at a potential cost of £12,000, or more for a top executive car. Remember, Petrol is death to a diesel engine.
09/01/05 - Smokers can also lose an arm or a leg, little known side effects of smoking
A health report by Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) has highlighted the devastating consequences of Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) which can lead to amputations. Smokers are 16 times more likely to suffer the condition but few know anything about it. PAD affects the circulation of blood in the main arteries. It narrows the arteries, making it more difficult for blood to reach some parts of the body. "Loss of blood supply leads to death of part or all of that organ, so that in the brain it causes strokes and in the heart it causes heart attacks, both of which are sudden and may be fatal. "But in the limbs, particularly the lower limbs, it leads to chronic, disabling and often untreatable pain until gangrene finally sets in and amputation is inevitable," Professor Weissburg added.
$5 Alt Science MP3s to listen while working/driving/jogging
No time to sit back and watch videos? Here are 15 interesting presentations you can download for just $5 each and listen to while driving, working, jogging, etc. An easy way to learn some fascinating new things that you will find of use. Easy, cheap and simple, better than eBooks or Videos. Roughly 50MB per MP3.
15 New Alternative Science DVDs & 15 MP3s
An assortment of alternative science videos that provide many insights and inside information from various experimenters. Also MP3s extracted from these DVDs that you can listen to while working or driving. Reference links for these lectures and workshops by Bill Beaty of Amateur Science on the Dark Side of Amateur Science, Peter Lindemann on the World of Free Energy, Norman Wootan on the History of the EV Gray motor, Dan Davidson on Shape Power and Gravity Wave Phenomena, Lee Crock on a Method for Stimulating Energy, Doug Konzen on the Konzen Pulse Motor, George Wiseman on the Water Torch and Jerry Decker on Aether, ZPE and Dielectric Nano Arrays. Your purchase of these products helps support KeelyNet, thanks!
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