Sci/tech

Report confirms ozone pollution can kill
April 22, 2008 07:01 PM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Even breathing in a little ozone at levels found in many areas is likely to kill some people prematurely, the National Research Council reported on Tuesday. The report recommends that the Environmental Protection Agency consider ozone-related mortality in any future ozone standards, and said local health authorities should keep this in mind when advising people to stay indoors on polluted days.

Brain reacts to fairness as it does to money and chocolate
April 22, 2008 08:45 AM - University of California - Los Angeles

The human brain responds to being treated fairly the same way it responds to winning money and eating chocolate, UCLA scientists report. Being treated fairly turns on the brain's reward circuitry. "We may be hard-wired to treat fairness as a reward," said study co-author Matthew D. Lieberman, UCLA associate professor of psychology and a founder of social cognitive neuroscience.

Synchrotron light unveils oil in ancient Buddhist paintings from Bamiyan
April 22, 2008 08:42 AM - European Synchrotron Radiation Facility

The world was in shock when in 2001 the Talibans destroyed two ancient colossal Buddha statues in the Afghan region of Bamiyan. Behind those statues, there are caves decorated with precious paintings from 5th to 9th century A.D. The caves also suffered from Taliban destruction, as well as from a severe natural environment, but today they have become the source of a major discovery. Scientists have proved, thanks to experiments performed at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), that the paintings were made of oil, hundreds of years before the technique was “invented” in Europe. Results are published today in the peer-reviewed Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry.

Aerodynamic trailer cuts fuel and emissions by up to 15 percent
April 18, 2008 09:02 AM - Delft University of Technology

Creating an improved aerodynamic shape for truck trailers by mounting sideskirts can lead to a cut in fuel consumption and emissions of up to as much as 15%. Earlier promising predictions, based on mathematical models and wind tunnel tests by TU Delft, have been confirmed during road tests with an adapted trailer. This means that public-private platform PART (Platform for Aerodynamic Road Transport), has produced an application which can immediately be put into production.

S&T has vital role in sustainable farming
April 18, 2008 08:28 AM - , SciDevNet

A recent report is a welcome analysis of modern agriculture's future, but it fails to adequately recognise the role of science and technology. There are areas in which science and progressive politics make comfortable bedfellows. Climate change is one such example. The direction in which the scientific consensus on the dangers of global warming points — towards a world based on reduced carbon emissions — is compatible with a broader commitment to both environmental sustainability and social equity.

BigBelly Solar Trash Receptacle
April 17, 2008 08:56 AM - , The Alternative Consumer

Upon first glance you may think that a solar trash can is an extravagance municipalities can certainly do without, but perhaps we need to take a closer look. The BigBelly is a self-powered compacting trash receptacle. Instead of drawing electricity from the power grid this trash can uses solar power for 100% of its energy. From the company: “The unit takes up as much space as the ‘footprint’ of an ordinary receptacle—but its capacity is five times greater. Increased capacity reduces collection trips and can cut fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions by 80%. BigBelly also provides cost efficiencies from labor savings, fuel cost and maintenance savings, as well as environmental benefits from reduced emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.”

Wind Turbines Now Spinning On Bahrain World Trade Center
April 17, 2008 08:22 AM - , MetaEfficient

This is a quick post to let you know that the Bahrain World Trade Center has turned on all three of its huge wind turbines simultaneously. The three massive turbines, measuring 29 meters in diameter, are supported by bridges spanning between the complex’s two towers. Through its positioning and the unique aerodynamic design of the towers, the prevailing on-shore Gulf breeze is funneled into the path of the turbines, helping to create power generation efficiency.

Researchers find rare giant turtle in Vietnam
April 17, 2008 07:25 AM - Reuters

HANOI (Reuters) - Biologists have identified a soft-shell giant turtle of cultural significance in northern Vietnam that was believed to be extinct in the wild, researchers said on Thursday. After three years of searching, Asian turtle experts found, photographed and identified the turtle (Rafetus swinhoei), the only known living such specimen, in a lake west of the capital, Hanoi.

World risks 'scientific apartheid', says top African scientist
April 16, 2008 08:43 AM - , SciDevNet

[ALEXANDRIA] The world risks "scientific apartheid" between rich and poor countries unless research and technology is better used to benefit the poor, says one of Africa's leading science experts. Ismail Serageldin, director of Bibliotheca Alexandrina and former chairman of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) made the comments in his keynote address to the BioVision Alexandria conference in Alexandria, Egypt, yesterday (14 April).

Tesla Motors sues designer on competing green car
April 16, 2008 08:01 AM - Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Electric car maker Tesla Motors has sued a well-known automotive designer it hired to style the body and interior of its electric-hybrid four-door sedan, after the man announced plans for a competing vehicle. The lawsuit, filed on Monday afternoon in San Mateo Superior Court in California, accuses designer Henrik Fisker and Bernhard Koehler, the chief operating officer of Fisker's design company Fisker Coachbuild, of fraud, misappropriation of trade secrets, and breach of contract during their year-long effort in 2007 to style the interior and body of the Tesla sedan, called WhiteStar.

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