Sci/tech

Small Planets Forming in the Pleiades: Astronomers
November 15, 2007 09:06 AM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Small, rocky planets that could resemble the Earth or Mars may be forming around a star in the Pleiades star cluster, astronomers reported on Wednesday.

One of the stars in the cluster, also known as the Seven Sisters, is surrounded by an extraordinary number of hot dust particles that could be the "building blocks of planets" said Inseok Song, a staff scientist at NASA's Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology.

German Carmakers Lag France, Italy in CO2 Cuts: Group
November 15, 2007 09:03 AM - Reuters

STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) - Average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new cars made by German manufacturers rose in 2006, while French and Italian producers cut pollution from their vehicles, data showed on Thursday.

Brussels-based environmental group Transport & Environment (T&E) said average emissions from new German vehicles jumped 0.6 percent last year because Germany was producing heavier cars, while French and Italian manufacturers cut emissions from their new cars by 1.6 percent on average.

Crowd Farm
November 15, 2007 08:44 AM - Triple Pundit

Crowd Farm, developed by two MIT architecture grad students, is a concept that harvests the energy that is transmitted through our feet. It works like this: Beneath highly crowded subway platforms there would be a sub-flooring system made up of blocks that depress slightly due to the force of human footsteps above. These blocks rub together under the pressure generating power the same way as a dynamo, a device that converts energy from motion into an electric current.

GM sees "showdown" with Toyota on electric car
November 14, 2007 09:40 PM - Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - General Motors Corp is on track to road test its Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid early next year and to produce the rechargeable car by late 2010, setting the stage for a "showdown" with Toyota Motor Corp., a senior GM executive on Wednesday.

Humans and Chimps Differ at Level of Gene Splicing
November 14, 2007 06:28 PM - University of Toronto

TORONTO, ON – Researchers are closer to understanding why humans differ so greatly from chimpanzees in the way they look, behave, think, and fight off disease, despite having genes that are nearly 99% identical.

And the New Potential Cancer Causing Agent Is... Nanotechnology!
November 14, 2007 06:11 PM - Robert, Environmental Graffiti

Nanotechnology, the science of working with or creating materials 1 nanometer(a billionth of a meter) large, holds amazing promise for the future, but some studies are suggesting some of these tiny particles can be added to the long list of items that cause cancer.

Nanotechnology has already led to improvements in products from golf clubs to beer bottles. In the future, scientists hope to be able to build tiny machines using nanotechnology that they believe could revolutionize the world.

Researchers Get Stem Cells From Cloned Monkeys
November 14, 2007 03:31 PM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. researchers have cloned monkeys and used the resulting embryos to get embryonic stem cells, an important step towards being able to do the same thing in humans, they reported on Wednesday.

Shoukhrat Mitalipov and colleagues at Oregon Health & Science University said they used skin cells from monkeys to create cloned embryos, and then extracted embryonic stem cells from these days-old embryos.

This had only been done in mice before, they reported in the journal Nature. Mitalipov had given sketchy details of his work at a conference in Australia in June, but the work has now been independently verified by another team of experts.

 

Turning the brain drain from threat to opportunity
November 14, 2007 08:29 AM - , SciDevNet

Europe's recent bid to attract more skilled workers underlines developing countries' need for greater – not less – investment in their intellectual capital.

Listen to any developing country leader talk about the difficulties of building a knowledge-based economy, and chances are high that the brain drain will top their complaints. What is the point in investing in training cadres of scientists and engineers, they argue, if they immediately leave for better-paid jobs in the developed world?

New Technology Turns Plastic Bags into Steel
November 14, 2007 08:09 AM - ,

As we all know, plastic bags don't have a lot of fans among the world's eco-activists. When you're shopping at Whole Foods, you're shamed into picking paper every time, despite the evidence that plastic isn't really any worse for the world. (Really want to be green? Go with canvas instead.)

Honda: Solar Production Begins
November 14, 2007 08:05 AM - , Private Landowner Network

Though Honda has been mass producing solar cells since October, and has begun sales of them, the opening of Honda Soltec’s production facility in Kumamoto, Japan makes it official: Honda’s in the solar business.

As you’d expect from the cutting edge car company, the product is state of the art. Honda is using thin-film, copper, indium, gallium and selenium (CIGS) cell technology - a technology still trying to gain footing against tried and true silicon solar. But Honda says that overall, in the big picture, grand scheme of things, CIGS is greener than silicon solar. The company says CIGS use 50 percent less energy to manufacture, start to finish, than conventional silicon crystal solar cells.

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