Sci/tech

GE says smart panel to cut power bills
October 29, 2007 11:06 PM - Timothy Gardner, Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - General Electric Co said it is developing a control panel that should allow homeowners to trim rising utility bills by helping manage power and water consumption.

The "eco-dashboard" will be available in December in new home developments in southern and western U.S. states, areas where power and water supplies are particularly stressed, Juan de Bedout, a renewable energy specialist at GE's global research center in Niskayuna, New York said late last week.

AIDS virus invaded U.S. from Haiti: study
October 29, 2007 10:36 PM - Will Dunham, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The AIDS virus invaded the United States in about 1969 from Haiti, carried most likely by a single infected immigrant who set the stage for it to sweep the world in a tragic epidemic, scientists said on Monday.

Michael Worobey, a University of Arizona evolutionary biologist, said the 1969 U.S. entry date is earlier than some experts had believed.

The timeline laid out in the study led by Worobey indicates that HIV infections were occurring in the United States for roughly 12 years before AIDS was first recognized by scientists as a disease in 1981. Many people had died by that point.

Expert: Burma's Junta No Match For Internet
October 29, 2007 10:57 AM - Barry Bergman, UC berkeley

Berkeley, California - Darren Zook, a UC Berkeley political scientist and Southeast Asia scholar, says there is one huge difference between today's protests in Burma and those of nearly two decades ago: the Internet. The military has arrested thousands of dissidents, many of them Buddhist monks, and estimates of the dead range from dozens to hundreds; Suu Kyi, who has spent most of the past 18 years in detention, remains under house arrest. Yet the ability of a relatively few determined activists inside Burma to connect with the outside world has turned the current turmoil into a teachable moment on a global scale.

New technique can detect biological, chemical and explosive agents
October 29, 2007 10:35 AM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

LIVERMORE, Calif. — Airplane passengers and baggage could one day soon be quickly screened by a machine that can detect explosive, chemical and biological agents all at the same time. A team of California researchers have conceptually proven that a three-in-one machine, or “universal point detection system,” can be achieved, said George Farquar, a postdoctoral fellow and physical chemist at the Lab’s Glenn T. Seaborg Institute.

The device is under development at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California.

Solar Power for New Moroccan Rail Line.
October 29, 2007 09:32 AM - , Private Landowner Network

Aside from walking or bicycling or perhaps traveling by electric car, taking the train is often considered the most energy efficient and low emission way to get around. But, determining exactly how efficient or how emission free is a difficult calculation - many questions need to be answered first.

What's the brain got to do with education?
October 29, 2007 09:17 AM - University of Bristol

Quite a lot - according to teachers in a recent survey commissioned by The Innovation Unit and carried out by researchers at the University of Bristol. Although current teacher training programmes generally omit the science of how we learn, an overwhelming number of the teachers surveyed felt neuroscience could make an important contribution in key educational areas. The research was undertaken to inform a series of seminars between educationalists and neuroscientists organised by the Teaching and Learning Research Programme (TLRP) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

NASA ponders space station power problem
October 29, 2007 07:49 AM - Irene Klotz -Reuters

Two spacewalking astronauts on Sunday found metal shavings inside a huge gear that spins a pair of the International Space Station's solar wing panels, raising concerns about power supplies and the long-term health of the orbital outpost. The inspection of one of the $100 billion space station's two solar panel rotary joints was added to the second of five spacewalks planned during the space shuttle Discovery's ongoing construction and servicing mission to the station.

 

 

 

 

Discovery may help treat drug addicts
October 28, 2007 11:43 PM - Reuters

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chilean scientists have made a discovery in the brains of rats that they say may help treat drug addiction and ease the side effects of some medications.

Researchers at the Pontifical Catholic University in Santiago say they identified a region of the brain, the insular cortex, that plays an important role in drug craving.

Tests on amphetamine-addicted laboratory rats showed that when the insular cortex was deactivated by injecting a drug that halted brain cell activity, the rats showed no signs of addiction.

Asians seek out the sun despite cancer threats
October 28, 2007 11:33 PM - Tan Ee Lyn, Reuters

HONG KONG (Reuters) - It's autumn in Hong Kong but the island's beaches are still crowded with sun worshippers desperate to catch the last rays of sunshine before winter.

"I love the bronze color," says sunbather Richard Tong.

A growing trend in East Asia to soak up the sun either on beaches or in tanning salons is worrying dermatologists in the region who say they are seeing a rise in skin cancer, which is caused by cumulative over-exposure to the sun.

U.S. Air Force Turns to Alternative Fuel, Slashing CO2
October 27, 2007 11:44 AM - Jim Wolf, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The world's most powerful air force is seeking to wean itself from foreign oil and nearly zero out its carbon dioxide output as part of a sweeping alternative energy drive, a senior Pentagon official said on Friday.

By early 2011, the U.S. Air Force aims to make sure its entire fleet of bombers, fighters, transports and other aircraft can use a domestically produced 50-50 blend of synthetic and petroleum-based fuel.

William Anderson, an assistant Air Force secretary, said the goal was to reduce energy demand, look for cleaner power sources and to reuse captured carbon commercially, for instance to enhance the growth of biofuels or improve oil well production.

"We can get ourselves very close to a zero carbon footprint," said Anderson ahead of talks on the issue with counterparts in Britain and France next month.

"Not today. Not tomorrow. But maybe a decade or so down the road," he told a briefing at the State Department's Foreign Press Center.

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