Sci/tech

Wood-Pellet Stoves: Efficient Heat
January 28, 2008 09:02 AM - , Triple Pundit

The 1980’s witnessed the inception of wood-pellet stoves but the benefits and efficiency of this innovative product, has not showed its face until recently. A pellet stove is a small electric unit that burns small pieces of recycled and compacted sawdust pellets. The advantages to wood pellet stoves are many, for one, they are extremely efficient, use inexpensive fuel and produce very little waste.

New Techniques Create Butanol, A Superior Biofuel
January 28, 2008 08:55 AM - Washington University in St. Louis

The fuel is butanol; it can be derived from lignocellulosic materials, which are plant biomass parts that range from woody stems and straw to agricultural residues, corn fiber and husks, all containing in large part cellulose and some lignin. Butanol is considered to be a better biofuel than ethanol because it's less corrosive and has a higher caloric value, giving it a higher energy value. Like ethanol, butanol is being considered as an additive to gasoline.

Antarctica on alert for alien invaders
January 28, 2008 08:28 AM - Reuters

Aliens are landing in Antarctica. Seeds, spores, mites, lichens and mosses alien to the continent have been brought unwittingly by scientists and tourists, and could disrupt life in the icy wilderness. Antarctica is best known for penguins as well as seals and whales, but scientists are finding a host of other tiny organisms from springtails -- closely related to insects -- to mosses.

Global Warming by the Numbers
January 26, 2008 10:50 AM - Environmental Defense

Global warming is the most serious environmental threat of our time. As these facts show, affordable options are available. And America cannot afford to fall behind any more in the race to invent clean, renewable energy sources.

Europe transport can meet new emission limits: Barrot
January 25, 2008 08:53 AM - Reuters

The European car and airlines industries should be able to adapt to new plans to slash greenhouse gas emissions, EU Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot said on Friday. The introduction of electric cars, in particular, should help to cut emissions from journeys within cities, Barrot told Reuters at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.

Japan plans to support replacing petrol with wood
January 25, 2008 06:29 AM - Reuters

Japan is set to embark on a five-year plan this year to harness a new form of energy using unused wood biomass to produce auto fuels and other industrial products currently made from imported petrol. Japan, where two-thirds of the country is covered by forests, can supply a part of alternative fuels made from wood-origin ethanol as well as raw materials for plastic and carbon fibers.

GM forms team for hybrids, electric vehicles
January 24, 2008 11:42 AM - Reuters

DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Corp said on Thursday it formed a new organization to speed up the implementation of advanced battery technology for hybrid and electric vehicles. The world's largest automaker, which plans to produce the Chevrolet Volt plug-in by the end of 2010, said the global team will be based in Warren and Milford, Michigan, Mainz-Kastel, Germany and Shanghai, China.

Why Diatoms could help stop global warming
January 24, 2008 10:57 AM - University of Washington

The shells of diatoms are so heavy that when they die in the oceans they typically sink to watery graves on the seafloor, taking carbon out of the surface waters and locking it into sediments below. Scientists have reported the discovery of whole subsets of genes and proteins that govern how one species of diatom builds its shell. For oceanographers, the work might one day help them understand how thousands of different kinds of diatoms -- and their ability to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere -- might be affected by something like global climate change. Material scientists involved in the work are interested in the possibilities of manipulating the genes responsible for silica production as a way of fabricating more efficient computer chips.

China, not U.S., to be new driver of world's economy and innovation

A new study of worldwide technological competitiveness suggests China may soon rival the United States as the principal driver of the world’s economy – a position the U.S. has held since the end of World War II. If that happens, it will mark the first time in nearly a century that two nations have competed for leadership as equals. The study’s indicators predict that China will soon pass the United States in the critical ability to develop basic science and technology, turn those developments into products and services – and then market them to the world. Though China is often seen as just a low-cost producer of manufactured goods, the new “High Tech Indicators” study done by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology clearly shows that the Asian powerhouse has much bigger aspirations.

Role Addiction
January 24, 2008 10:12 AM - Abigail Paris, Global Policy Innovations Program

The American Medical Association (AMA) published a report in 2007 reviewing research data on the addictive potential of video games. The report suggests that gaming addiction is likely to be a subset of Internet addiction and may cause negative physical, psychosocial, or behavioral problems. The condition most frequently occurs in players of Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs). The definitions of Internet addiction and MMORPG addiction are still informal. The term Internet addiction was first used in the 1990s, extending the psychiatric lexicon of addiction to include persons using the Internet to such an extent that it causes "significant social, psychological, and occupational impairment."

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