Friday, November 21, 2008

Tip number 155: Create a through-draught

If your house gets too hot in the summer, plan to open selective
windows and doors to create a through-draught - for example, opening
the front and the back doors can be an efficient way to keep the house
cool. This will help keep it cool inside even when it's hot outside.
It's even worth building a new window into a room, but make sure it's
double glazed.

You can find additional information on home ventilation at

Tip number 154: Bottle your ideas

Before you send your plastic bottles for recycling, think of ways you
can use them in your home that will prevent you from having to buy
more plastic. For instance, cutting the ends off water bottles turns
them into excellent protective covers for seedlings.

Taken from 1001 little ways to save the planet.

Tip number 154: Bottle your ideas

Before you send your plastic bottles for recycling, think of ways you
can use them in your home that will prevent you from having to buy
more plastic. For instance, cutting the ends off water bottles turns
them into excellent protective covers for seedlings.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tip number 153: Unplug your charger

It takes a forest with an area equivalent to 500 football pitches to
absorb all the carbon dioxide produced by mobile phone chargers that
are left plugged into electrical outlets. In the UK alone, 95% of the
energy used by mobile phone chargers is wasted - only 5% is actually
used to charge the phone and the rest goes to waste when the charger
is left plugged in.

Taken from 1001 little ways to save the planet.

Parrot flower

There is an astonishing flower growing in the jungle of Burma that
closely resembles a parrot. It is uncertain why the flower has
developed this appearance...

You can find more information on any of the following sites:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bioscapes photo slideshow - Life Viewed through the Microscope

Taken from the original article at Scientific American

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but it is also in the eye of
a honeybee, the eggs of a lobster and the surface of petrified wood—as
is evident from a selection of images entered in the 2008 Olympus
BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition. In its fifth year, the
competition honors superior images of living organisms or their
components attained with the help of light microscopy.

The judges chose 10 winners and awarded honorable mention to many
others, evaluating entries based on the scientific value of the
images, aesthetics and the difficulty of capturing the information
displayed. This year, as in the past, competitors were free to bring
out specific features through pseudo-coloring and other computer

You can view the slideshow at

Here are some of the photos in the slideshow:

Benzene Pollution of Drinking water from Natural gas exploration

There is a article at Scientific American about how drilling
exploration wells for natural gas can contaminate natural aquifers
used for drinking water.

Here are two short extracts from the original article:

'Toxic Brew?
Of the 300-odd compounds that private researchers and the Bureau of
Land Management suspect are being used, 65 are listed as hazardous by
the federal government. Many of the rest are unstudied and
unregulated, leaving a gaping hole in the nation's scientific
understanding of how widespread drilling might affect water resources.

Industry representatives maintain that the drilling fluids are mostly
made up of non-toxic, even edible substances, and that when chemicals
are used, they are just a tiny fraction of the overall mix. They say
that some information is already available, and that releasing
specific details would only frighten and confuse the public, and would
come at great expense to the industry's competitive business.

"Halliburton's proprietary fluids are the result of years of extensive
research, development testing," said Diana Gabriel, a company
spokeswoman, in an email response. "We have gone to great lengths to
ensure that we are able to protect the fruits of the company's
research…. We could lose our competitive advantage."

"It is like Coke protecting its syrup formula for many of these
service companies," said Scott Rotruck, vice president of corporate
development at Chesapeake Energy, the nation's largest gas driller,
which has been asked by New York State regulators to disclose the
chemicals it uses.'

'Dirty Water
"When you just look at the data… the aerial extent of the benzene
contamination, you just say . . . . This is huge," says Oberley, who
is charged with water study in the area. "You've got benzene in a
useable aquifer and nobody is able to verbalize well, using factual
information, how the benzene got there."

Other signs of contamination were also worrying residents. Independent
tests in several private drinking wells adjacent to the anticline
drilling showed fluoride -- which is listed in Halliburton's hydraulic
fracturing patent applications and can cause bone damage at high
levels -- at almost three times the EPA's maximum limit.'

You can find the full article at

You can find more information on natural gas exploration at any of the
following sites:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Nanomaterial turns radiation directly into electricity

Researches have developed a new nanomaterial that can turn radiation
directly into electricity. This open the door to a range of new types
of small highly efficient nuclear reactors.

You can read the original article at


Dwarf planet's mysterious surface changes

Eris is the largest known object outside the orbit of neptune,
weighing a third more than pluto. It can therefore be seen as another
plutoid body or dwarf planet. Scientists have found it's icy surface
has changed dramatically during the last few months.

You can read the original article at


Oniphobic material repells dirt

There is an article about new materials being designed that can
actually repel dirt.

You can read the original article at


Indian probe set to impact moon surface

An Indian Impacter is set to hit the moon's surface sometime later
this week. The information gained from this experiment will help India
in it's own manned mission to the moon in 2010.

You can read the article at


Man made climate change may have prevented near permanent ice age

Another view of human induced climate change is now appearing. Some
scientists (small percentage) believe that higher than normal levels
of CO2 are in fact preventing earth from going into a extremely severe
and long duration ice age!

You can read the article at

It's always good to know both sides of the story.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Backyard nuclear reactors

A company is building tiny nuclear reactors than can be set up in a
small neighborhood and provide electricity to homes in the area. You
can read more about it at

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fussy Memory

There is an article over that Scientific American on how memory tends
to become fuzzy the older they are and how a new study using 3000
pictures shown to a group of people we recalled successfully over 90%
of the time. It may shed some light on how we remember things and can
help us improve the memories we have, which is kind of helpful in
everyday life.

The article can be found at

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Rainforest fungus for making biodiesel

Biodiesel is only really environmentally friendly if you can make it
from something which grows without a lot of inputs which in turn
produce greenhouse gasses and deplete resources. Some plants capable
of growing on marginal land are useful for this purpose but scientists
are looking toward third generation biodiesel technologies that can
use other materials now. One of these technologies use algae which are
plentiful in many highly eutrophic inland water bodies. The algae can
be harvested and converted to biodiesel with a few chemical steps
needed. Waste materials, like wood chips can also be converted to
either biodiesel or bio ethanol with the correct strains of
genetically engineered bacteria present.

Now scientists are looking at the use of fungi growing in forests as a
viable source of the raw materials needed to make biodiesel.

Feel free to have a look at what they are doing at the following site:
Physorg at

Bamboo car

There is another one of those inspirational, if somewhat whacky
stories in Japan where researchers from the Kyoto University has built
a electric car almost completely out of bamboo! Bamboo is a very
environmentally friendly material because it re-grows at an
astonishing rate! The single-seat "BamGoo" weighs about 130 pounds,
can only run about 30 miles on a charge, and probably won't pass any
safety tests, but it sure is cute! Let's just hope that there aren't
any wandering pandas about :-)

Plasma for waste disposal

We have already covered the use of plasma for the destruction of
hazardous wastes. I found an article about its use for household
waste. You can find the article at Scientific American's website at

Here is an extract of that article:
'Every year 130 million tons of America's trash ends up in landfills.
Together the dumps emit more of the greenhouse gas methane than any
other human-related source. But thanks to plasma technology, one
city's rotting rubbish will soon release far less methane—and provide
power for 50,000 homes—because of an innovation in plasma technology
backed by Atlanta-based Geoplasma.

Engineers have developed an efficient torch for blasting garbage with
a stream of
superheated gas, known as plasma. When trash is dropped into a chamber
and heated
to 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, its organic components—food, fluids,
paper—vaporize into a hot, pressurized gas, which turns a turbine to
generate electricity. Steam, a by-product, can generate more.
Inorganic refuse such as metals condense at the bottom and can be used
in roadbeds and heavy construction.

Several small plasma plants exist around the world for industrial
processes, but Geoplasma is constructing the first U.S. plasma refuse
plant in St. Lucie County, Florida. The plant is scheduled to go
online by 2011; it will process 1,500 tons of garbage a day, sending
60 megawatts of electricity to the power grid (after using some to
power itself).

Emissions are far lower than in standard incineration, and the process
reduces landfill volume and methane release. Power prices are
projected to be on par with electricity from natural gas. The
difference, says Ron Roberts, St. Lucie County's assistant director of
solid waste, is that "you're getting rid of a problem and making it a
positive." '

More information on plasma

You can find additional information about plasma at any of the
following sites


Plasma Universe

Monday, October 27, 2008

New lunar rover

Nasa has been developing a new lunar module with a compressed cabin.
You can find the original article at

It seems we are going back to the moon.

Biodiversity Hotspots

There is a very interesting article about biodiversity hotspots on the Scientific American site. 

Here is a short extract from that article:
'In the field of conservation, success stories about saving individual species abound. Bald eagles have recovered from their bout with the pesticide DDT; from fewer than 500 breeding pairs in 1963, the population in the lower 48 states has grown to nearly 10,000 breeding pairs, such that they are no longer listed even as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Gray wolves have returned to Yellowstone National Park, as well as to the Italian and French Alps. The California condor has been brought back from the absolute brink of extinction, after the last surviving birds were rounded up and bred in the San Diego and Los Angeles zoos. And so on.

When human ingenuity and resources are trained on a particular species, usually a charismatic one, it makes a difference—but it does not change the global pattern, which is a steady drumbeat of extinction and of the permanent loss of biodiversity that goes with it. In a recent global assessment, Stuart Butchart and his colleagues at BirdLife International in England concluded that between 1994 and 2004 conservation efforts had saved 16 species of bird from extinction, at least temporarily. During that same decade, however, another 164 bird species listed as threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had slipped a notch closer to extinction.

Conservationists have many priorities and many strategies. But for the past two decades, a leading priority has been to preserve as much biodiversity as possible, and the most prominent strategy has been to focus on "hotspots"—regions of the world, such as tropical rain forests, that are rich in species and yet losing them fast. The strategy has been arguably successful, yet it has also been controversial.

"The most difficult challenge we face as conservationists today is to answer the question, Why does biodiversity matter?" says Mike Hoffmann, an ecologist based at Conservation International (CI), an organization that has made hotspots the centerpiece of its efforts. All conservationists oppose extinction, it seems, in the same way that they favor apple pie. But not all agree that saving the maximum number of species worldwide should be the number-one priority—or that preserving hotspots on our increasingly crowded planet leads to the best of all possible worlds.

Defining Diversity
The word "biodiversity" first appeared in print in 1988, as the title of a National Research Council report edited by Harvard University entomologist E. O. Wilson. In the opening chapter Wilson guessed that the earth held between five million and 30 million species, more than half of them living in tropical rain forests. "From a single leguminous tree in the Tambopata Reserve of Peru," he wrote, "I recently recovered 43 species of ants belonging to 26 genera, about equal to the entire ant fauna of the British Isles." He went on to make an equally rough estimate of how many species the earth was losing to extinction: about one every half an hour. Most were undescribed tropical insects vanishing without witness.

Wilson's calculation was based on his theory of "island biogeography," which predicts how many species can survive in a given area of isolated or fragmented habitat, and on estimates of how much rain forest was being cut down. An area the size of West Virginia, Wilson said, was being lost every year—confirming predictions made a decade earlier by a British researcher named Norman Myers. Those predictions had been dismissed by some of his peers as alarmist, but it became clear they were not: human beings were causing a mass extinction unparalleled since the demise of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

Over in species-poor Britain, Myers was also coining a new term in 1988—new at least to conservation biology—and it would soon become a buzzword, too: "hotspots." Myers is an independent environmental consultant, an adjunct academic, notably at the University of Oxford, and a self-described "lone wolf." After previous lives as a schoolteacher in colonial Kenya and then as a photographer of African wildlife, he had earned a Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, in the early 1970s and moved into conservation work. By the late 1980s he was frustrated. "It struck me that because of sheer shortage of funds, scientific expertise and government attention, we were not helping many species all that much," Myers recalls. "We were spreading ourselves far too thinly."

Hotspots were his solution: If you had limited resources and wanted to preserve the maximum number of species, Myers reasoned, you should concentrate on regions that had the most "endemic" species—species that were not found elsewhere—and that were losing them fastest. In his 1988 paper Myers identified 10 such hotspots, all of them centered on tropical forests. Two years later he added eight more to the list, including four regions with Mediterranean climates—subtropical grasslands that were under intense pressure from humans.

The hotspot concept caught on almost immediately. From 1990 on the Mac Arthur Foundation supported hotspot preservation to the tune of $15 million a year. Later the idea was adopted by CI, which had initially been formed by defectors from the Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund. Those older organizations had also been concerned with preventing extinctions, but CI made the preservation of global biodiversity—that is, the total number of species—its main focus. Working with Myers, it refined his concept, defining a hotspot as a region that had at least 1,500 species of endemic plants (0.5 percent of the world's total) and that had lost at least 70 percent of its original vegetation. Hotspots brought a welcome rigor to conservation biology, says Peter Kareiva, chief scientist of the Nature Conservancy. "There was a sense before that conservation was ad hoc—that it was about this pretty place or that charismatic animal. The good thing about hotspots is that they were the beginning of being analytical."

Above all, hotspots made sense to the World Bank and to the foundations that have become increasingly important supporters of conservation work. Even people in the business of healing the world's pain do not like feeling they are pouring money down a bottomless hole. Hotspots divided a vast and intractable problem into more manageable parts, with definable targets, and that made foundation managers want to sign checks. Ask Myers today, 20 years after he hatched his simple little idea, which of its impacts he is proudest of, and he says this: "The mobilizing of $850 million." It is indeed an astonishing sum. CI, which has received much of it into its Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, had fewer than 100 employees in 1990; it now has about 900 in locations all over the world. Recently it increased the number of hot spots to 34. "If our number-one priority is to save as many species as possible, I don't see how you can do much better than hotspots," Myers says.

Focusing Aid and Attention
Hotspots, as Myers and CI define them, are large regions—Central America is one, for instance, as is Madagascar. Within those regions, various conservation strategies are possible, including captive breeding programs for particular species. But because habitat loss is generally the gravest threat, the most obvious strategy is to designate smaller, even hotter spots within those regions as "protected areas." Beside its "Red List" of threatened species, the IUCN also maintains, along with the United Nations, a list of protected areas. They number over 100,000 and cover 11.5 percent of the earth's land surface.

But many, especially in the poorer tropical countries, are what conservationists call "paper parks"—parks in name only. A few years ago Ana Rodrigues of CI and her colleagues compared the ranges of 11,633 species of terrestrial vertebrates with the geographic coverage of the protected areas. They found that a minimum of more than 12 percent of vertebrates— 1,483 species, including 833 listed as threatened by the IUCN—fell into gaps between the parks and thus had no protection at all. Mammals fared the best, amphibians the worst, presumably because people care more about mammals and because amphibians tend to have smaller ranges that are less likely to overlap with a park.
Thus, a large gap exists between conservation need and conservation resources: compared with what it would take to prevent the mass extinction that is now under way, $850 million spread over many years is actually a tiny sum. People such as John Watkin, an ecologist who is also a grant director for the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, feel that gap acutely. "I'm a huge advocate of the hotspots approach," he said recently. He was speaking on his cell phone, stuck in what he said was "the longest traffic jam in my life," on a bus that was taking him from Arusha, Tanzania, to Nairobi, Kenya. Hotspots, such as the Eastern Arc Mountains of those two countries, are not wilderness areas; on the contrary they are areas that are being crushed by a needy humanity. "When I first joined [Conservation International], I was very skeptical of hotspots," Watkin went on. "I've been turned around by looking at the financial resources. Everybody has to draw a line in the sand somewhere."

Biodiversity hotspots channel resources to places that need it most, Watkin observed—not only away from the temperate-latitude industrial countries, which are richer in cash than in creatures, but away from "the Serengeti and the other established reserves that have been popularized by research and tourism." At the northern end of the Eastern Arc Mountains, for instance, CI is working to protect the cloud forests of the Taita Hills. Ninety-eight percent of the forest has been cut down, mostly in the past 40 years, to make way for agriculture; a little more than 1,000 acres are left, a dozen small islands in a sea of farmland and exotic tree plantations. No lions, elephants or giraffes live in the Taita Hills; there are not even gorillas, but there are three species of bird that live only in those beleaguered islands. Saving those birds means saving what is left of the forests.

Looking for scientific articles

If you are looking for scientific articles for your project, have a
look at the following page:
from here you can browse thousands of journals under Sciencedirect.

Today's Alternative Energy

You can visit Scientific American's web portal for Alternative Energy at

Bringing the "Eco-Home" Trend to Condos

A article about making city life more eco friendly can be found at

Here is a short extract from the original article:
'Believe it or not, condominiums may be some of the most
environmentally responsible housing out there today, especially since
more and more developers are paying attention to sustainability from
the get-go.

By their very nature, many condo complexes adhere to some of the most
basic tenets of green housing: density, to maximize surrounding open
space and minimize buildings' physical and operational footprints;
proximity to mass transit, given their typical location in urban
areas; and reduced resource use per unit, thanks to shared systems,
walls and common spaces. Builders can elect to layer on other green
elements, such as high-efficiency appliances and HVAC systems, green
roofs and organic landscaping.

"Projects are embracing green [to] be more responsive to what the
buying public is looking for," says Gail Vittori, chairperson of the
U.S. Green Building Council, which produced and manages the Leadership
in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) design and building
standards. "They also want to have the built environment become much
more in line with environmental and health considerations."

One example is Florence Lofts, a new development of 12 townhouses and
a 4,200 square foot commercial building in downtown Sebastopol,
California. The LEED-certified project features a photovoltaic solar
system on the roof for hot water and other electrical needs, a
commercial scale "gray water" system to divert sink and shower water
for irrigation purposes, and a tank that collects storm water from
roofs to prevent excessive run-off.

Another example is The Riverhouse overlooking the Hudson River in New
York City's Battery Park district. The LEED-certified, 320-unit
building—the new home of actor/environmentalist Leo DiCaprio—has
geothermal heating and cooling, twice-filtered air, non-toxic paint,
and landscaped roof gardens.

But not all developers need to break the bank to go green on their
condo and apartment projects. Two-thirds of the units in Harlem's much-
publicized 1400 Fifth Avenue building—touted as New York's first green
condominium, are considered affordable, priced at $50,000 to $104,000
and restricted to families of moderate income. Also in the New York
metropolitan area, Habitat for Humanity recently announced it has
assembled a green design team to build "real affordable condos" in New
Rochelle and other parts of Westchester County.

"If you're doing a moderately green building, the premium to build is
typically in the 1.5 to two percent range. It's very small," says
Leanne Tobias of Malachite LLC, a Maryland-based green real estate
consulting firm. Additionally, the carrying costs for green units are
lower, since such buildings operate on less energy and water and
generate less waste than conventional high-rises. "All of those will
be savings every month for the homeowners or residents of those
buildings," Vittori adds. "That's a big plus."

Is Focusing on "Hot Spots" the Key to Preserving Biodiversity?

Quantum Chaos

There is a fascinating article about quantum mechanics at Scientific

Here is a short abstract from that article, the original can be found

'In 1917 Albert Einstein wrote a paper that was completely ignored for
40 years. In it he raised a question that physicists have only,
recently begun asking themselves: What would classical chaos, which
lurks everywhere in our world, do to quantum mechanics, the theory
describing the atomic and subatomic worlds? The effects of classical
chaos, of course, have long been observed-Kepler knew about the motion
of the moon around the earth and Newton complained bitterly about the
phenomenon. At the end of the 19th century the American astronomer
William Hill demonstrated that the irregularity is the result entirely
of the gravitational pull of the sun. So thereafter, the great French
mathematician-astronomer-physicist Henri Poincaré surmised that the
moon's motion is only mild case of a congenital disease affecting
nearly everything. In the long run Poincaré realized, most dynamic
systems show no discernible regularity or repetitive pattern. The
behavior of even a simple system can depend so sensitively on its
initial conditions that the final outcome is uncertain.

At about the time of Poincaré's seminal work on classical chaos, Max
Planck started another revolution, which would lead to the modern
theory of quantum mechanics. The simple systems that Newton had
studied were investigated again, but this time on the atomic scale.
The quantum analogue of the humble pendulum is the laser; the flying
cannonballs of the atomic world consist of beams of protons or
electrons, and the rotating wheel is the spinning electron (the basis
of magnetic tapes). Even the solar system itself is mirrored in each
of the atoms found in the periodic table of the elements.

Perhaps the single most outstanding feature of the quantum world is
its smooth and wavelike nature. This feature leads to the question of
how chaos makes itself felt when moving from the classical world to
the quantum world. How can the extremely irregular character of
classical chaos be reconciled with the smooth and wavelike nature of
phenomena on the atomic scale? Does chaos exist in the quantum world'?
Preliminary work seems to show that it does. Chaos is found in the
distribution of energy levels of certain atomic systems; it even
appears to sneak into the wave patterns associated with those levels.
Chaos is also found when electrons scatter from small molecules. I
must emphasize, however, that the term "quantum chaos" serves more to
describe a conundrum than to define a well-posed problem.

Considering the following interpretation of the bigger picture may be
helpful in coming to grips with quantum chaos. All our theoretical
discussions of mechanics can be somewhat artificially divided into
three compartments [see illustration] although nature recognizes none
of these divisions.

Elementary classical mechanics falls in the first compartment. This
box contains all the nice, clean systems exhibiting simple and regular
behavior, and so I shall call it R, for regular. .Also contained in R
is an elaborate mathematical tool called perturbation theory which is
used to calculate the effects of small interactions and extraneous
disturbances, such as the influence of the sun on the moon's motion
around the earth. With the help of perturbation theory, a large part
of physics is understood nowadays as making relatively mild
modifications of regular systems. Reality though, is much more
complicated; chaotic systems lie outside the range of perturbation
theory and they constitute the second compartment.

Since the first detailed analyses of the systems of the second
compartment were done by Poincaré, I shall name this box P in his
honor. It is stuffed with the chaotic dynamic systems that are the
bread and butter of science. Among these systems are all the
fundamental problems of mechanics, starting with three, rather than
only two bodies interacting with one another, such as the earth, moon
and sun, or the three atoms in the water molecule, or the three quarks
in the proton.

Quantum mechanics, as it has been practiced for about 90 years,
belongs in the third compartment, called Q. After the pioneering work
of Planck, Einstein and Niels Bohr, quantum mechanics was given its
definitive form in four short years, starting in 1924. The seminal
work of Louis de Broglie, Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrödinger, Max
Born, Wolfgang Pauli and Paul Dirac has stood the test of the
laboratory without the slightest lapse. Miraculously. it provides
physics with a mathematical framework that, according to Dirac, has
yielded a deep understanding of "most of physics and all of chemistry"
Nevertheless, even though most physicists and chemists have learned
how to solve special problems in quantum mechanics, they have yet to
come to terms with the incredible subtleties of the field. These
subtleties are quite separate from the difficult, conceptual issues
having to do with the interpretation of quantum mechanics.

The three boxes R (classic, simple systems), P (classic chaotic
systems) and Q (quantum systems) are linked by several connections.
The connection between R and Q is known as Bohr's correspondence
principle. The correspondence principle claims, quite reasonably, that
classical mechanics must be contained in quantum mechanics in the
limit where objects become much larger than the size of atoms. The
main connection between R and P is the Kolmogorov-Arnold-Moser (KAM)
theorem. The KAM theorem provides a powerful tool for calculating how
much of the structure of a regular system survives when a small
perturbation is introduced, and the theorem can thus identify
perturbations that cause a regular system to undergo chaotic behavior.

Quantum chaos is concerned with establishing the relation between
boxes P (chaotic systems) and Q (quantum systems). In establishing
this relation, it is useful to introduce a concept called phase space.
Quite amazingly this concept, which is now so widely exploited by
experts in the field of dynamic systems, dates back to Newton.

The notion of phase space can be found in Newton's mathematical
Principles of Natural Philosophy published in 1687. In the second
definition of the first chapter, entitled "Definitions", Newton states
(as translated from the original Latin in 1729): "The quantity of
motion is the measure of the same, arising from the velocity and
quantity of matter conjointly." In modern English this means that for
every object there is a quantity, called momentum, which is the
product of the mass and velocity of the object.

Newton gives his laws of motion in the second chapter, entitled
"Axioms, or Laws of motion." The second law says that the change of
motion is proportional to the motive force impressed. Newton relates
the force to the change of momentum (not to the acceleration as most
textbooks do).

Momentum is actually one of two quantities that, taken together, yield
the complete information about a dynamic system at any instant. The
other quantity is simply position, which determines the strength and
direction of the force. Newton's insight into the dual nature of
momentum and position was put on firmer ground some 130 years later by
two mathematicians, William Rowan Hamilton and Karl Gustav-Jacob
Jacobi. The pairing of momentum and position is no longer viewed in
the good old Euclidean space or three dimensions; instead it is viewed
in phase space, which has six dimensions, three dimensions for
position and three for momentum.

Continue reading the article at

Nearest planetary system boasts two asteroid belts

Taken from New Scientist:

'The nearest known planetary system to Earth sports two asteroid
belts, a new study suggests. The relatively young system could offer
clues about how solar systems form and might be the ideal place to
look for the faint glint of an Earth-like planet.

The belts were found in orbit around the nearby star Epsilon Eridani,
which sits just 10.5 light years from Earth. The star boasts a planet
that orbits once every 7 years and weighs about 60% the mass of
Jupiter. Astronomers have also previously detected a far-out ring of
icy material around the star, similar to our own Kuiper belt.

Now, two rocky asteroid belts have been found much closer to the star,
a new study suggests. Dana Backman of the SETI Institute in Mountain
View, California, and colleagues caught the warmer glow of the two
belts using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, which images objects at
infrared wavelengths.

Epsilon Eridani's inner belt is similar to the solar system's own
asteroid belt, which sits between Mars and Jupiter.

The ring of debris sits 3 astronomical units (where 1 AU is the Earth-
Sun distance) away from the star, and seems to be composed of silicon-
based minerals. The star's one known planet may orbit just beyond this

A second belt, which sits 20 AU from the star, holds 20 times more
material, weighing in at roughly the same mass as the Moon.
Pale blue dot

The previously known icy ring sits between 35 and 90 AU from Epsilon
Eridani. This cometary belt is roughly 100 times more massive than the
Kuiper belt that lies beyond Neptune's orbit in our own solar system.

Two other planets, between the size of Neptune and Jupiter, might also
orbit Epsilon Eridani beyond its outer asteroid belt. One might have
helped carve the outside edge of the outer asteroid belt, and the
other might orbit just inside the star's icy 'Kuiper' belt.

Smaller planets could also be lurking inside Epsilon Eridani's inner
asteroid belt. "I would put money on there being an Earth-like planet
in the space between the inner asteroid belt and the star," Backman
told New Scientist.

The star is close enough that an Earth-like planet might be directly
imaged with future telescopes, such as the Terrestrial Planet Finder
Interferometer, a proposed orbiting array of telescopes currently
being considered by NASA. The system might "be the first one where you
could point to a pale blue dot and say, 'There's the Earth,'" Backman
told New Scientist.

Epsilon Eridani is only 850 million years old, about 20% the age of
the Sun. As a result, it sheds light on what the solar system might
once have looked like, before most of its debris was swallowed by the
Sun or cast far away, says team member Massimo Marengo of the Harvard-
Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Those
insights could help refine models of how solar systems form, he added.'

Taken from New Scientist at

Ranking methods to save the world

The following article appears on New Scientist's Site

"When it comes to repairing damage done to the Earth's climate there's
no shortage of ideas, ranging from schemes to put "sunshades" in orbit
to burying the offending carbon dioxide underground.

But ideas won't be enough, so there is an urgent need to rank those
proposals to work out which should undergo rigorous testing, argues
Philip Boyd of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric
Research in Dunedin, New Zealand.

"The ideas for how to change our climate keep getting pumped out. They
get lots of column inches," says Boyd. "My concern is that we will
reach a tipping point, people will ask what are we doing about it, and
none of the schemes will have been tested."

Boyd proposes that an international body such as the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change prioritise the schemes according to possible
risks involved, how quickly they could be got of the ground, their
cost, and how efficiently they would change the climate.

Climate scientist Martin Manning of the University of Victoria in
Wellington agrees that a systematic ranking is needed, in part because
there is little communication between research communities working on
different approaches.

"If warming is to be kept at 2 degrees or so, which is what most
governments are endorsing, we have to take every technology on hand,
we can't be too fussy and we will make mistakes," he says.
Herculean task

Any assessment should be broadened to include other techniques besides
geo-engineering, such as using plants for sequestration, says Manning,
who worked for the IPCC during the last assessment.

Some schemes could quickly be dismissed, but testing even one of the
feasible schemes will still be a herculean task.

"We have only started to realise how complicated and interconnected
Earth systems are, and scale up will be difficult," Boyd says.

For example, the Pinatubo volcanic eruption inspired the proposal to
inject sulphur particles in to the atmosphere to alter the Earth's
albedo so that sunlight is reflected back into space. But closer
scrutiny of the eruption revealed that sulphur particles alone can not
account for the fall in temperatures and other changes in climate that
followed the eruption.

Schemes that rely on biological mechanisms – for example seeding
oceans with iron to stimulate algae that would suck up carbon dioxide
– will be the most prone to unknown side effects, says Boyd. "You
probably never want to work with animals, children or biological
Risk management

The schemes that will be least prone to unexpected side effects – but
potentially among the most costly – would be those based on well
understood principles of physics and chemistry, such as "wind
scrubbing", in which chemicals are used to absorb carbon dioxide from
the atmosphere.

Boyd ranks geochemical schemes, such as transforming the carbon in
carbon dioxide into bicarbonate ions that would be dissolved in the
ocean as in between the two when it comes to risks of unexpected side

Boyd acknowledges that there are other risks inherent in testing
mitigation schemes. "You risk letting people of the hook in terms of
reducing emissions," he says. "On the other hand purposely
manipulating the environment on such a huge scale is a frightening
concept, and it could push people to take action."

Journal reference: Nature Geoscience, DOI: 10.1038/ngeo348

Climate Change – Want to know more about global warming: the science,
impacts and political debate? Visit our continually updated special

Taken from New Scientist at

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A very dangerous and often overlooked greenhouse gas

A rare but extremely potent greenhouse gas used in the electronics
industry is at least four times more abundant in the atmosphere than
previously thought, scientists have found. To better control its use,
nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) should be added to the list of gases
regulated under future climate-change agreements, they recommend.

NF3 is 12,000-20,000 times more efficient at trapping heat than carbon
dioxide, the best-known of six greenhouse gases regulated by the 1997
Kyoto protocol on climate change.

In the past ten years, NF3 has become an environmentally preferable
alternative to more volatile perfluorocarbons. It is now commonly used
by manufacturers of plasma TVs and other flat-panel displays as a
source of reactive fluorine atoms, used to etch the silicon chips in
the devices.

Because only very small amounts of the gas were thought to escape to
the atmosphere in these processes - about 2% of all NF3 produced - it
was long assumed that its contribution to man-made global warming was
Screen burn

This notion was first challenged earlier this year when Michael
Prather, an atmospheric chemist at the University of California in
Irvine, questioned the commonly assumed emission rates of the gas1.

Now, analyses of air samples taken at two coastal clean-air stations
in California and Tasmania, Australia, have for the first time
confirmed that a significantly higher percentage of overall NF3
production escapes to the atmosphere.

The team, led by Ray Weiss of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography
in La Jolla, California, used a combined gas-chromatography and mass-
spectrometry system to measure NF3 levels in their samples.

They found that over the past three decades, the atmospheric
concentration of the gas has increased more than 20-fold, from 0.02 to
0.454 parts per trillion, with most emissions occurring in the
Northern Hemisphere. The overall amount of the gas in the atmosphere,
estimated in 2006 at less than 1,200 tonnes, was then actually 4,200
tonnes and has since risen to 5,400 tonnes, they report in Geophysical
Research Letters2.

Given its strong global-warming potential and estimated atmospheric
lifetime of 740 years, this is equivalent to the effect of about 67
million tonnes of carbon dioxide – roughly the total annual CO2
emissions of Finland.

"I'd say case closed. It is now shown to be an important greenhouse
gas," says Prather, who was not involved with the second study. "Now
we need to get hard numbers on how much is flowing through the system,
from production to disposal."
Early catch

"Industries were quite dismissive of Michael Prather's original paper
as pure speculation," says Piers Forster, an atmospheric chemist at
the University of Leeds, UK. "This new paper shows that NF3 is there
in significant quantities, and it's increasing."

The two papers have caught the problem in good time for industries to
clean up their act, he adds. Liquid crystal display (LCD) screens, for
example, can be produced in a more environmentally friendly way, and
may soon begin to replace plasma screens.

"The problem may die away naturally," agrees Jim Haywood, an
atmospheric scientist with the UK Meteorological Office. "But in the
meantime, it may well be worth including NF3 in the list of regulated
greenhouse gases."

1. Prather, M. J . & Hsu, J. Geophys. Res. Lett. 35, L12810
2. Weiss, R. F., Mühle, J., Salameh, P. K. & Harth, C. M.
Geophys. Res. Lett. (2008) doi:10.1029/2008GL035913.

Original article available at

Sticky Tape X-Ray Machine

I have noticed another article about the sticky tape X-Ray phenomenon
at Scientific American.

You can read it at

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Scotch tape for producing X-Rays

I found a very interesting article about scientists creating X-Rays
from peeling open Scotch tape. This is a remarkable breakthrough since
you would therefore no longer require hazardous radioisotopes to do
the job.

You can read the article with a included video at

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The human nature

With the fall of the world economic system happening as we speak I think it is time to look at other ways of living. For far too long has the need to collect money been the driving force of the world. I believe that we need to look at some alternatives before we make the same mistake as before.

I believe that innate, in every person is a deeper insight. The insight knows that we are not only individuals with free will, but that we are all connected somehow. New theories in quantum physics like entanglement are showing that science and religion can no longer be viewed as independent from each other. If we want to create a better future we need to stop thinking only about our own self en begin seeing the bigger picture. This bigger picture is what has, if you want to believe this, made out genes produce viable offspring up to the current moment.

I see it everywhere though, people are tires of living egocentrically. They want to reach out to others and are doing it in more and more ways. We need to build a world in love and respect for each other. We should stop thinking the thought 'What's in it for me?' and begin thinking 'How can I make a difference in the world?' Only them will we make it into the future. The threat of climate change is the first real challenge we are all facing together. The very nature of talks and agreements rely on a dispersonal sacrifice we need to make if we are to survive. I just hope this filters through all of society before it is too late. We need equitable distribution of health. If does not make sense for some people to throw parties of $ 25 Million when others have to live off less that $ 1 a day. We need to get the bigger picture.

Two highly rated blogs

I would like to point you to two of my favourite blogs.

The first is called Green Daily and contains a lot of information on environmental....ism for the lack of a better description.

The second is called Lifehacker and contains information on how to make life a little simpler.

They can be found here




Other cool sites for free energy

Also have a look at the following sites

John Searl Solution : Searl Effect Generator

These videos will change your outlook on energy generation forever.

Permenent magnets for electric motors.

Some companies have developed electric motors that use permanent magnets instead of the electromagnet variety and are claiming above unity (more energy out of the system than you put it). It is very difficult not to believe their claims having seen the prototypes on youtube. It actually helps not being an engineer because that makes it far easier to believe these inventions. I think we need thinkers who can think out of the box to discover these types of devices. We cannot be so arrogant to believe that we already know all there is to know and cannot possibly have overlooked something. These devices like the TPU can in fact be explained with the current newtonian laws if someone were to do the calculations. They are not necessarily breaking any laws of physics in the process. But like they say, laws are there to be broken.

A video of this can be found at

Torroidal Power Units (TPU)

I have been doing some research on the topic of Torroidal Power Units or TPUs and have found some incredible (and yet credible and verified) claim of people who developed a way to tap the magnetic field of the earth to generate a virtually limitless amount of power.

From what I can gather, a torroidal generator is in effect a transformer of a different design. It acts like a superconducting magnet found in MRI scanners in that electrons move around the ring of the toroid continuously under their own intertia which generates a shifting electric and magnetic field that is able harness the earths own magnetic field.

It has been known for decades that electric motors or transformers that start up experience a 'kick' from the magnetic field of the earth leading to a higher output than input voltage. The kick quickly dampens down as new fields are established though. The mechanism behind the torroidal power unit though is repetition of the kick effect by setting up a resonant frequency inside of the torroid. First, second and third harmonics of the frequency are added to increase the amplitude where the peaks coincide thus increasing the output voltage considerably. The torroid then sustains and continuously feeds itself from external magnetic fields, much like a small particle accelerator will accelerate particles around a ring.

A lot of the ground work was laid by Tesla with his experiments for the wireless distribution of transverse electric power. I find it strange that people are only now developing technologies like wireless charging for electronic devices since the technology to do so has been around for over a hundred years already.

In any case. I urge you to search the web for Torroidal power unit, torroidal coil or TPU and see what you find. It is really astonishing.

Overunity - Electric motor developed by steorn

In the world of science, people tend to believe what they were taught, what they have read in books and not in things that contradict those beliefs. I would like to take it as far as saying that people would rather believe in what they have been told rather than what they can see with their own eyes. We are entrenched with the LAWS of physics and are told that those laws are the ultimate dividing line between what is possible and impossible. We are arrogant in our own knowledge and do not go to consider what may actually be the cause of some of the things that ARE HAPPENING in the outside world.

One example of something, that according to any engineer and scientist cannot work and will inevitably be thrown into the recycle bin of knowledge is a new electric motor developed by a company called Steorn.

Steorn have been doing work in renewable and free energy devices (there is a significant difference) and have developed an electric motor that outputs more energy (torque x angular motion) than the energy required to drive it (watts).

You can read more about their motor at

They are not the only company with this type of technology but it seems that the economic system in which we believe has prevented these companies from making it in the world economy.

I will add a number of other posts on this topic during the rest of the week. Please visit the websites because it will change your beliefs of what is possible and what is not.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Solar Aid

Solar aid a a non profit organization aiming to improve the life of
the poorest African people using solar energy.

Please have a look at their website at

Solar and wind energy farm

A new plant has been built in Italy that harnesses both sunlight and
the wind.

You can read a full article about the farm at the following address:


There is a very interesting article about how randomness rules the

It can be read at:

Birth of the oceans

Taken from Scientific American

Tip number 145

Instead of relying on traditional alkaline batteries for clocks and
calculators, choose those that work on water power. With a new water-
based battery you simply have to fill up with water every few months
to keep it working.

Taken from '1001 little ways to save the planet' by Esme Floyd. I
definitely recommend getting the book.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Harnessing the energy of the earth's magnetic field

A friend of mine has built a catalytic hydrogen generator which can produce 720l of hydrogen per minute! 

What is remarkable is not only the rate of production, it is the fact that he is producing it above unity i.e. he is getting far more energy out by burning the hydrogen that is required to generate it. 

This is truly astounding. It is probably as important a breakthrough as the development of the light bulb or something. I still cannot believe it. 

You can read about his project at the following site:

More information about the blacklight hydrogen process can be found at:

Apparently they are able to produce hydrogen with a lover electronic ground state than was previously thought possible. This lowering of the electron's orbital releases a significant amount of energy ! The orbital recovers though as it is exposed to sunlight. 

More information about the toroid magnetic generator has be found at 

Take 2 hours to watch the videos because this is eureka science!!

Have a look because this will fundamentally change the world economy. The solar-hydrogen economy has been replaced with the geomagnetic-hydrogen economy. Nothing like this has ever been done!!!

I will try to arrange for a demonstration sometime later this semester if you want?


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Climate change at Nature

The following sites are an awesome resource for information about
climate change:

I have saved hundreds of thousands of web pages I found interesting on
my notebook. If you want to copy them instead of taking the effort to
go find them online, bring your flashdisk and I can copy it for you.


Bushmeat ban would have dire effects

The report finds that conservation strategy for African game could be
counterproductive. You can read it at:

Ecosystem CO2 uptake

There is an incredibly good article about a study of ecosystem CO2
uptake available at

Double trouble for Nepal's tigers

An article about Nepal's Tigers is available at

Wild fungi: delicious or deadly?

An article about harvesting wild mushrooms is available at

Oceans are 'too noisy' for whales

An article about the effect of noise on whales is available at the
following url:

Calls for bushmeat ban rejected

There is an article about the use of bushmeat in Africa available at:

UK seeking CO2 trading increase

An article about emissions trading is available at

Tip number 141: Buy second-hand

Instead of always buying new items for your home, think about visiting
markets, second-hand stores and car boot or garage sales. You may pick
up a few bargains and at the same time contribute to reducing waste.

Taken from '1001 little ways to save the planet' by Esme Floyd

Monday, September 8, 2008

Tip number 157: Welcome the wind

Many products can cause air pollution to build up in your home,
including modern cleaners, which contain strong chemicals. Make sure
you ventilate your home well, ensuring a through-flow of air to help
reduce pollution levels and encourage good ventilation.

Taken from '1001 little ways to save our planet' by Esme Floyd