Sci/tech

Oil-eating bugs may unlock clean energy from crude
December 12, 2007 01:21 PM - By Jeffrey Jones, Reuters

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - A tiny oil-eating bug that lives deep underground may allow the world's oil industry to unlock energy trapped in trillions of barrels of heavy crude, which is costly and dirty to produce using today's methods.

Fuel cells help make noisy, hot generators a thing of the past
December 12, 2007 09:06 AM - DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Two core technologies developed at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory - a fuel desulfurization system and a fuel reforming system - were instrumental in the demonstration of an electric power system operating on JP-8, a fuel commonly used in military operations.

Portable fuel cell power units are quieter, more efficient and have lower emissions than standard diesel generators, but are challenged when used with JP-8 fuel because of its sulfur content. The fuel desulfurization and reforming systems developed at PNNL reduce the sulfur content of JP-8 and generate a hydrogen stream compatible with an integrated fuel cell.

Study: Policy Trumps Technological Change in Beating Greenhouse Gas Emissions
December 12, 2007 08:53 AM - Alana Herro, Worldwatch Institute

A new study finds that policy changes, not technological advances, are necessary to stem the tide of rising greenhouse gas emissions. And the amount of climate-changing pollutants emitted could grow more quickly in the next 50 years than the last half-century, according to report authors Richard Eckaus of MIT and Ian Sue Wing of Boston University and MIT. “Technological change will not necessarily reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Energy taxes or a system on energy use and trade in emissions permits are necessary,” Eckaus says.

Solar water for Iraq
December 12, 2007 08:42 AM - , Private Landowner Network

Knowing the infrastructure would be broken - either through neglect or damage done in the invasion - the plan was to repair existing water, sewer and power systems, not to bring in expensive new equipment. The few days, weeks, months after initial hostilities ended the people of Iraq were expecting more than a patch job from the world’s richest country. Planeload after planeload of spanking new electric generators, truck after truck of bottled water might have won the hearts and minds early on. Our troops might be home by now.

U.N. aims to provide carbon neutral example
December 12, 2007 08:33 AM - Reuters

NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) - More countries should follow the examples of Costa Rica, Norway and New Zealand and aim to wipe out their contribution to climate change altogether, the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) said on Wednesday.

"This is not peanuts, it's whole countries," UNEP chief Achim Steiner told a news conference.

Fossils of ancient tank-like mammal found in Andes
December 12, 2007 12:23 AM - Will Dunham, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Scientists searching for fossils high in the Andes mountains in Chile have unearthed the remains of a tank-like mammal related to armadillos that grazed 18 million years ago.

Treasure Island Plan: Most sustainable city on the planet
December 11, 2007 09:35 AM - Lexington Blood, Triple Pundit

Treasure Island, the man-made lump made up of 20 million cubic yards of sea floor soil sandwiched between 287,000 tons of rock and finally glazed over with 50,000 yards of loam.

The island was created for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition and then claimed as a Naval base until it was decommissioned 11 years ago. Since that time the city of San Francisco has been mulling over a re-facing and studying how to redevelop the bleak landscape on the horizon.

 

Following some-odd 300 meetings among officials, engineers, architects and the public, a plan has emerged and it is a bright green one. The task is to create a 13,500-person inhabited “urban oasis” consisting of the latest technology and natural systems that is expected to leave the slightest footprint on Earth!

Singapore biotech drive loses star Dolly-creator scientist
December 11, 2007 06:34 AM - Reuters

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - British scientist Alan Colman, who helped clone Dolly the sheep, is leaving Singapore, dealing another blow to the city-state's biotech ambitions.

Voyager 2 finds solar system's shape is 'dented'
December 10, 2007 07:56 PM - Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft has found that our solar system is not round but is "dented" by the local interstellar magnetic field of deep space, space experts said on Monday.

The data was gathered by the craft on its 30-year journey into the edge of the solar system when it crossed into a sweeping region called the termination shock, they said.

Researchers combat slowing yields with targeted fertilizer applications
December 10, 2007 05:49 PM - American Society of Agronomy

MADISON, WI, DECEMBER 10, 2007– Scientists at Punjab Agricultural University, the International Rice Research Institute, and Virginia Tech have been successful in increasing average rice yields in northwest India using site-specific nutrient management strategies.

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