Sci/tech

Google to help green technologies amass scale
February 7, 2008 08:22 AM - Reuters

INDIAN WELLS, California (Reuters) - Google Inc is prepared to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in big commercial alternative-energy projects that traditionally have had trouble getting financing, the executive in charge of its green-energy push said on Wednesday. The Internet search giant, which has said it will invest in researching green technologies and renewable-energy companies, is eager to help promising technologies amass scale to help drive the cost of alternative energy below the cost of coal.

Nigeria to curb imports of "toxic" old computers
February 6, 2008 02:16 PM - Reuters

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria plans to slap duties on old computers imported for spare parts because much of the excess material is later dumped and causes toxic waste, Information Minister John Odey said on Wednesday. Nigeria has a growing market for computers, especially affordable ones, and there is a strong local culture of patching things up to keep them working for many years.

Chile innovation investment 'may hit US$200 million'
February 6, 2008 09:30 AM - , SciDevNet

The Chilean government is investing a record US$100 million in innovative projects this year. The figure is up from the US$73 million invested in 2007 thanks to an increase in a mining tax, which is expected to yield US$150 million in 2008. All tax proceeds will go into the two-year-old Fund for Innovation for Competitiveness, run by InnovaChile, the innovation department of the Ministry of the Economy.

Japan scientists make paper planes for space
February 6, 2008 07:47 AM - Reuters

A spacecraft made of folded paper zooming through the skies may sound far-fetched, but Japanese scientists plan to launch paper planes from the International Space Station to see if they make it back to Earth. On Wednesday the University of Tokyo researchers tested small, origami planes made of special paper for 30 seconds in 250 degrees Celsius (482 F) heat and wind at seven times the speed of sound. The planes survived the wind tunnel test intact.

Indian law 'strangulates' biodiversity research
February 5, 2008 10:23 AM - , SciDevNet

[NEW DELHI] A group of Indian botanists say that the country's stringent biodiversity laws are stifling research. In an article in the latest issue of Current Science (25 January), published by the Indian Academy of Sciences, the scientists say India's "draconian" rules on free exchange of biological samples could "totally isolate Indian biodiversity researchers and is akin to a self-imposed siege on scientists in the country".

EU and industry launch cleaner planes project
February 5, 2008 09:39 AM - Reuters

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Planes made in the European Union from 2015 may be quieter and less polluting thanks to a 1.6 billion euro ($2.4 billion) research project launched by the EU Commission and the aeronautics industry on Tuesday. Aerospace firms will pool research to develop technology that cuts noise around airports and build engines that use less energy and can run on alternative fuels.

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.

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