Sci/tech

Next-generation biofuels edge to center
January 12, 2008 09:43 AM - Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The quest by executives and venture capitalists to build a next-generation biofuels industry has made strides this year as oil reached $100 a barrel and the world's largest energy consumer laid down ambitious new mandates for alternative fuels.

WMO to seek satellites to monitor climate change
January 11, 2008 01:11 PM - Reuters

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations' weather agency will ask NASA and other space agencies next week to make their next generation of satellites available to monitor climate change, a senior official at the U.N. body said on Friday. The aim is to ensure that satellites launched over the next 20 years constantly record parameters such as sea levels and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said.

Be wary of biotech lettuce experiments
January 11, 2008 09:50 AM - GM Watch.org

The Salinas Californian recently reported on a talk by Professor Henry Daniell, who was here to promote cultivation of drug-producing lettuce. The biotechnology industry has long hoped to use plants, including common food crops, to produce high-profit new drugs. It is worth noting that Daniell is not only an academic; he is also the founder of Chlorogen, Inc., a company that hopes to profit from these so-called 'pharm' crops.

Innovations Help Economy, May Save the Planet
January 11, 2008 09:18 AM - Alana Herro, Worldwatch Institute

California’s ambitious energy conservation legislation has created an unusual challenge for the state’s utility companies: to get customers to consume less of their product. Laws that reward utilities for meeting energy reduction targets and punish them for missing the goals have led to unusual business tactics. “It’s a strange business,” Roland Risser, the head of customer energy efficiency for Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), told the Wall Street Journal. “You have to do gymnastics to get things moving forward.”

Ocean Fertilization 'Fix' For Global Warming Discredited By New Research

Research performed at Stanford and Oregon State Universities suggests that ocean fertilization may not be an effective method of reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a major contributor to global warming. Ocean fertilization, the process of adding iron or other nutrients to the ocean to cause large algal blooms, has been proposed as a possible solution to global warming because the growing algae absorb carbon dioxide as they grow.

It is too early to sell carbon offsets: scientists
January 11, 2008 09:07 AM - University of East Anglia

Prof Watson said: "While we do envision the possibility of iron fertilisation as an effective form of carbon offsetting, we believe larger scale experiments are needed to assess the efficiency of this method and to address possible side effects. "There remain many unknowns and potential negative impacts."

South Africa gets nanotech underway
January 11, 2008 09:04 AM - , SciDevNet

South African scientists are using nanotechnology to develop new healthcare tools, advanced materials and energy technologies. Research is underway at South Africa's first two Nanotechnology Innovation Centres based at Mintek — the country's national mineral research organisation

Researchers make nano-scale DNA research tool
January 11, 2008 03:42 AM - Reuters

U.S. researchers have made a very small research tool that may one day help scientists probe the activity of genes and proteins in a single cell, they said on Thursday, opening the door to a new realm of genetic research. The tool is designed to do the work of current gene chip systems used to examine thousands of genes at the same time for mutations or to uncover clues to disease.

South Korea terminates first multipurpose satellite
January 11, 2008 02:54 AM - Reuters

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea is ending the mission of its first multipurpose satellite, launched in 1999, after losing contact with it at the end of December, its space agency said on Friday. The Arirang satellite had an original mission of three years, mapping the Earth's surface. It continued in operation for several more years after that, the Korea Aerospace Research Institute said.

Cloning-for-food growth seen slow if FDA approves
January 10, 2008 12:30 PM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Regulatory approval could catalyze the nascent U.S. cloning industry, but leading firms say growth would come slowly as they battle to win consumers over to the concept of food from cloned animals.

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