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