Sci/tech

Birds, bats and insects inspiration for new type of plane
February 5, 2008 09:37 AM - ENN

Natural flyers like birds, bats and insects outperform man-made aircraft in aerobatics and efficiency. University of Michigan engineers are studying these animals as a step toward designing flapping-wing planes with wingspans smaller than a deck of playing cards. A Blackbird jet flying nearly 2,000 miles per hour covers 32 body lengths per second. But a common pigeon flying at 50 miles per hour covers 75.

Matsushita to offer thinner, greener plasma TVs
February 5, 2008 06:55 AM - Reuters

AMAGASAKI, Japan (Reuters) - Panasonic maker Matsushita said it planned to start selling plasma TVs next year that consume half as much power as its current models. Matsushita Electric Industrial Co Ltd also said it had developed a plasma TV just 24.7 mm (1 inch) thick -- quarter the thickness of its standard model, and it will start using this technology in products in the business year from April 2009.

The Lawn Mower of My Dreams
February 4, 2008 09:37 AM - , Private Landowner Network

I’m in love. With a lawn mower. I’ve never seen her in person, as it were. I’ve never taken her for a stroll around my yard. I’ve only seen her in pictures and I’ve reviewed her, ah, “specifications.” That’s enough. I know she’s perfect for me. The lawn mower in question is Remington Power Tools new cordless PowerMower (tm). It has all the features necessary, for most of us, to replace our dirty and heavily-polluting gasoline-powered mower.

Rounding up gases, nano-style
February 3, 2008 10:01 AM - University of Calgary

Chemists unveil new process for capturing and storing gas; potential spin-offs include improvements to greenhouse gas management and fuel cell development. A new process for catching gas from the environment and holding it indefinitely in molecular-sized containers has been developed by a team of University of Calgary researchers, who say it represents a novel method of gas storage that could yield benefits for capturing, storing and transporting gases more safely and efficiently.

Migrating Birds Sophisticated Internal Compass Still a Mystery
February 3, 2008 09:41 AM - ENN

"We have experimentally shown beyond reasonable doubt that long-distance, intercontinental avian migrants can correct for east-west displacements during their return migration in spring," said Nikita Chernetsov of the Biological Station Rybachy at the Zoological Institute in Russia. "This means that they can determine geographic longitude, even though we do not currently know how they do it."

Agriculture is Altering Mississippi River Chemistry
February 3, 2008 09:26 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana - Over the past 50 years, farming has altered the hydrology and chemistry of the Mississippi River, injecting more carbon dioxide into the river and raising river discharge, finds a study by researchers at Louisiana State and Yale universities. LSU Professor R. Eugene Turner and graduate student Whitney Broussard, along with their colleagues at Yale, tracked changes in the discharge of water and the concentration of bicarbonate, which forms when carbon dioxide in soil water dissolves rock minerals.

Qatar eyes solar power to meet surging demand: report
February 2, 2008 04:11 AM - Reuters

DUBAI (Reuters) - Qatar is considering building one of the world's largest solar power complexes to help meet demand, which could increase four-fold over the next 30 years, the Middle East Economic Digest (MEED) reported. Gulf Arab states have about 30 percent of the world's oil reserves and 8 percent of its gas, but an economic boom spurred by record crude prices is driving demand for power and water so rapidly that many are considering turning to alternative energies including nuclear.

Green Power, Energy & Corporate Transformation
February 1, 2008 09:26 AM - , Triple Pundit

Some already established companies are proving to be particularly adept change artists, capitalizing on the green and clean tech trends to craft and carry out corporate strategies that transform their organizations from the top-down and from the bottom-up. Many are found in Europe, where new EU laws and regulation are establishing new ground rules for the energy and power industries.

News Species Discovered in Africa: Giant Elephant-Shrew
February 1, 2008 08:33 AM - ENN

Although there is unquestionably much left to be discovered about life on Earth, charismatic animals like mammals are usually well documented, and it is rare to find a new species today—especially from a group as intriguing as the elephant-shrews, monogamous mammals found only in Africa with a colorful history of misunderstood ancestry. Like shrews, these small, furry mammals eat mostly insects. Early scientists named them elephant-shrews not because they thought the animals were related to elephants but because of their long, flexible snouts.

Airbus to fly an A380 on synthetic fuel
February 1, 2008 05:41 AM - Reuters

Airbus is planning to fly an A380, the world's largest airliner, on alternative fuel for the first time, the planemaker said on Friday. A double-decker aircraft loaded with special fuel derived from natural gas will take off from the Airbus plant at Filton near Bristol in western England at 1400 GMT (9 a.m. EST) and perform a three-hour test flight ending at Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, southwest France, it said.

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