Sci/tech

Arctic vault takes shape for world food crops
September 20, 2007 07:31 AM - John Acher -Reuters

In a cavern under a remote Arctic mountain, Norway will soon begin squirreling away the world's crop seeds in case of disaster.

Dynamited out of a mountainside on Spitsbergen island around 1,000 km (600 miles) from the North Pole, the store has been called a doomsday vault or a Noah's Ark of the plant kingdom.

New twist on time-tested technology: Heat Pumps.
September 20, 2007 07:28 AM - , Private Landowner Network

To be realistic, it’s hard to imagine every home, apartment building or condominium complex in the world converting to solar energy for heat, hot water and electricity (or any other onsite renewable energy for that matter). Further, given the low proportion of renewables currently on the world’s power grids, it’s hard to see every building on the planet powered by renewables for quite some time.

Using video-game technology to find oil & gas
September 20, 2007 07:16 AM - University of Houston

What do video games and seismic explorations have in common" Both require very demanding computer applications that call for the ability to process massive quantities of data rapidly. Using computer technology originally co-designed by IBM for video-game consoles, University of Houston seismic researchers are employing this extremely fast technology to more effectively target oil reserves.

Australia uses lasers to check Antarctic sea ice
September 20, 2007 07:06 AM - Reuters

An Australian-led expedition is using lasers on helicopters in Antarctica and satellites for the first time to determine whether sea ice in the Southern Ocean is changing in response to climate change.There are concerns that Antarctic sea ice might be getting thinner, the Australian Antarctic Division said in a statement on Thursday.

Must Watch TV: Ultimate Green Machines
September 19, 2007 02:35 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

LOS ANGELES - From a Maseriati Quattroporte to a '57 Chevy pick-up, all the way to a Cigarette style speedboat, the new TV show "Ultimate Green Machines" will show that any vehicle can still run as fast if not faster than their stock counterparts while being green inside and out. For the series, the producers have assembled a dream team of "off-the-grid", defiant-minded mechanics and fabricators. This team not only thinks outside the box, they are ready to tear it up on the open road and do it green. The production team will also be producing a second show called "Finding Green", an equally intense, following a man with a burning passion and a need to meet a deadline imposed by his multi-million dollar investor. Cameras follow his every move along this often rocky road, as the clock ticks away on his dream.

Eco-Engineering, Learned From A Steam-Spitting Beetle
September 19, 2007 11:46 AM -

Leeds, UK - An amazing insect, which sprays its predators with toxic steam, has inspired research into a new generation of technology at the University of Leeds.

The research has resulted in the new µMist™ technology which has the potential to become the platform for the next generation of more effective and eco-friendly mist carrier systems. It has multiple potential applications – such as new nebulisers, needle-free injections, fire extinguishers and powerful fuel injection systems – all more efficient and environmentally-friendly than existing technologies.

The research funded initially by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and subsequently by Swedish Biomimetics 3000 ®, enabled the Leeds team, led by Professor of Thermodynamics and Combustion Theory Andy McIntosh to examine the mechanisms at work in the bombardier beetle.

 

Lonliness, A Molecule
September 19, 2007 11:34 AM - UCLA News

It is already known that a person's social environment can affect his or her health, with those who are socially isolated - that is, lonely - suffering from higher mortality than people who are not.

Now, in the first study of its kind, published in the current issue of the journal Genome Biology, UCLA researchers have identified a distinct pattern of gene expression in immune cells from people who experience chronically high levels of loneliness. The findings suggest that feelings of social isolation are linked to alterations in the activity of genes that drive inflammation, the first response of the immune system. The study provides a molecular framework for understanding why social factors are linked to an increased risk of heart disease, viral infections and cancer.

Scientists in first global study of 'poison' gas in the atmosphere
September 19, 2007 10:41 AM - University of York

It was used as a chemical weapon in the trenches in the First World War, but nearly a century later, new research by an international team of scientists has discovered that phosgene is present in significant quantities in the atmosphere.

Peruvians get sick from apparent meteorite crater
September 18, 2007 06:57 PM - Teresa Cespedes, Reuters

LIMA (Reuters) - Dozens of people living in a Peruvian town near Lake Titicaca reported vomiting and headaches after they went to look at a crater apparently left by a meteorite that crashed down over the weekend, health officials said on Tuesday.

After hearing a loud noise, people went to see what had happened and found a crater 65 feet wide and 22 feet deep on an uninhabited plateau near Carancas in the Puno region.

Experts from Peru's Geophysical Institute are on their way to the area 800 miles south of Lima to verify whether it was a meteorite.

"We've examined about 100 people who got near to the meteorite crater who have vomiting and headaches because of gasses coming out of there," Jorge Lopez, health director in Puno, told Reuters.

 

New Solar Plane Breaks Unmanned Plane Record
September 18, 2007 07:54 AM - Simmons, Environmental Graffiti

London - An unmanned solar-powered aircraft that soared for 54 hours more than 50,000 feet above New Mexico may hold the record for unmanned flight, defense research company QinetiQ announced Monday. The record is currently 30 hours, 24 minutes in a flight on July 23, the company said. The plane, the Zephyr UAV, may not hold the official record because officials did not see the actual flight.

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