Sci/tech

Arctic seed vault opens doors for 100 million seeds
February 26, 2008 09:41 AM - Global Crop Diversity Trust

LONGYEARBYEN, NORWAY (26 FEBRUARY 2008) – The Svalbard Global Seed Vault opened today on a remote island in the Arctic Circle, receiving inaugural shipments of 100 million seeds that originated in over 100 countries. With the deposits ranging from unique varieties of major African and Asian food staples such as maize, rice, wheat, cowpea, and sorghum to European and South American varieties of eggplant, lettuce, barley, and potato, the first deposits into the seed vault represent the most comprehensive and diverse collection of food crop seeds being held anywhere in the world.

Sharp to make solar power storage batteries: report
February 26, 2008 01:37 AM - Reuters

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Sharp Corp will team up with Daiwa House Industry Co Ltd and Dai Nippon Printing Co Ltd to develop large lithium-ion batteries that can store solar energy for houses, the Nikkei business daily reported on Tuesday. The deal will help Sharp, the world's largest producer of solar cells, expand its solar power system business while enabling Japanese homebuilder Daiwa House add value to its homes with energy-saving technologies, the Nikkei said.

Could Waste Heat From Car Exhausts Be Recycled To Help Power Cars?
February 25, 2008 10:03 AM - Cardiff University

Professor Mike Rowe's long term research interest at the Cardiff School of Engineering has been in thermoelectric generation - employing thermocouples to convert heat into electricity. The conversion technology is used in everyday applications such as controlling the central heating system or refrigerator temperature.

Fiber Nanogenerators Put the Power in Power Walking
February 25, 2008 09:51 AM - , Triple Pundit

Researchers led by Zhong Lin Wang at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Materials Science and Technology, are developing power fibers that can be used to manufacture shirts and other clothing that can convert energy released during physical motion into electrical energy capable of powering small electronic devices in the field. Applications are widespread and extend beyond soldiers and other military personnel using such power generating clothing to scientists, engineers and other researchers, as well as everyday people eventually wearing them to sustain our ever expanding reliance and fascination with portable electronic devices.

New solar technology greatly improves performance
February 25, 2008 09:40 AM - ENN

A new coating for solar panels could lead to more efficient solar collection. The energy from sunlight falling on only 9 percent of California’s Mojave Desert could power all of the United States’ electricity needs if the energy could be efficiently harvested, according to some estimates. Unfortunately, current-generation solar cell technologies are too expensive and inefficient for wide-scale commercial applications.

Gene discovery may lead to new baldness drugs
February 25, 2008 09:05 AM - Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - Researchers have identified a gene linked to hair loss that could lead to new drugs to treat baldness. The gene is responsible for a rare hereditary form of hair loss known as Hypotrichosis simplex, a condition affecting 1 in 200,000 people, in which people begin going bald in childhood, the researchers reported in the journal Nature Genetics.

Amazon nuts help fuel first biofuel flight
February 24, 2008 08:22 AM - Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - Nuts picked from Amazon rainforests helped fuel the world's first commercial airline flight powered by renewable energy on Sunday. A Virgin Atlantic jumbo jet flew from London to Amsterdam with one of its fuel tanks filled with a bio-jet blend including babassu oil and coconut oil.

GM exec stands by calling global warming a "crock"
February 23, 2008 10:08 AM - Reuters

DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Corp Vice Chairman Bob Lutz has defended remarks he made dismissing global warming as a "total crock of s---," saying his views had no bearing on GM's commitment to build environmentally friendly vehicles. Lutz, GM's outspoken product development chief, has been under fire from Internet bloggers since last month when he was quoted as making the remark to reporters in Texas.

Japan launches experimental Internet satellite
February 23, 2008 06:36 AM - Reuters

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan launched an experimental communications satellite on Saturday as part of an ambitious space program that could help ensure super high-speed Internet access in remote parts of Japan and elsewhere in Asia. The H-2A rocket carrying the 2.7 tonne "KIZUNA" (WINDS) communications satellite took off into over the tiny island of Tanegashima, about 1,000 km (620 miles) south of Tokyo, at 5.55 p.m. (0855 GMT).

U.S. says "virtual fence" on border ready for use
February 23, 2008 06:23 AM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A high-tech "virtual fence" on part of the U.S. border with Mexico is finally ready for service and the technology can fight illegal crossings all along the frontier, the Homeland Security chief said on Friday. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff made the announcement during a review of border-control efforts, at which officials also unveiled higher fines for employers who hire illegal immigrants.

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