Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Urban Mining

Thinking of throwing out your old cell phone? Think again. Maybe you should mine it first for gold, silver, copper and a host of other metals embedded in the electronics -- many of which are enjoying near-record prices.

It's called "urban mining", scavenging through the scrap metal in old electronic products in search of such gems as iridium and gold, and it is a growth industry around the world as metal prices skyrocket.

The materials recovered are reused in new electronics parts and the gold and other precious metals are melted down and sold as ingots to jewellers and investors as well as back to manufacturers who use gold in the circuit boards of mobile phones because gold conducts electricity even better than copper.

A tonne of ore from a gold mine produces just 5 grams (0.18 ounce) of gold on average, whereas a tonne of discarded mobile phones can yield 150 grams (5.3 ounce) or more, according to a study by Yokohama Metal Co Ltd, another recycling firm.


GM Revives Greener Combustion HCCI Engine

As fuel prices climb higher seemingly by the minute and the American carbon footprint continues to balloon, it’s becoming increasingly important for engineers to find a new way to propel our cars. And we’ve covered their progress across practically every potential solution—batteries, hydrogen, ethanol, even air power. But what if we told you that perhaps the most promising fix for our fossil-fuel dependency involves none of those, but rather pistons, valves and (gasp!) gasoline? Believe it or not, it’s true.

Dismissed as a laboratory curiosity in the 1970s, homogeneous charge-compression ignition (HCCI) has now emerged as a more feasible alternative to alternative fuels—and it’s almost ready to roll out en masse. When used in conjunction with other advanced engine technologies, this combustion process can help deliver a whopping 25- to 30 -percent better fuel economy than today’s spark- or compression-ignited internal combustion engines (ICE). HCCI does all this with near-zero emissions, just like a hybrid—and it won’t have any impact on your driving habits or come at a premium price.


HP Discovers Potential "God Particle" of Electronics

Silicon Valley is mostly a world of practical technology—applying principles from pure science to create handy gadgets. But today, Hewlett Packard announced a new electrical component born of theoretical physics. The device, a nanoscale component called a "memristor," requires no power to retain data, which it can store more densely than a hard drive and access about as fast as a computer’s RAM memory—potentially allowing it to replace both components in the future.

Memristors can function in either a digital mode, in which a memory cell is “on” or “off,” or in analog mode, in which each cell holds some value in between. These values grow every time the cell receives an electrical signal, mimicking the way neurons in the brain build stronger memories the more they are stimulated.

The memristor was theorized in the early seventies by an electrical engineer name Leon Chua, but it took decades before anyone could prove it exists. The process was similar to particle physics, in which mathematicians first propose a particle and then experimenters eventually find it—or don’t. (The hottest current example is the search for the theoretical Higgs boson, aka the “god particle.”) Chua’s mythical electrical component didn’t show up until recently when HP researchers were studying the electrical properties of nanoscale materials and came upon a few that acted suspiciously like the memristor. After some refinements, they invented exactly what Chua theorized.


Toddler Climbs Refrigerator

Toddler Climbs Refrigerator - Watch more free videos

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cell-Less Solar Farms

This month, in the latest in a string of recent deals, Spanish solar-plant developer Abengoa Solar and Phoenix-based utility Arizona Public Service announced a 280-megawatt solar thermal project in Arizona. By contrast, the world's largest installations of photovoltaics generate only 20 megawatts of power.

Morse says that while the design of solar thermal power stations is rapidly diversifying, most will use essentially the same system for storing energy: tanks full of a molten salt that remains liquid at temperatures exceeding 565 °C. "It's basically two tanks with a lot of heat exchangers, pipes, and pumps," says Morse. For a sense of scale, consider that the 50-megawatt plants that Germany's Solar Millennium is building in Spain near Granada will employ 28,500 tons of molten salt in twin tanks standing 14 meters high and 38.5 meters in diameter.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Oil Boom Coming to an End?

The roaring oil boom of the last few months may be on its last legs as economic growth slows hard across the world and a clutch new refineries come into operation, Lehman Brothers has warned in a hard-hitting report.

The Bright Artemis, a 146,463-ton Singaporean-registered oil tanker
The build-up in supply is taking place at a time of cooling demand

“Supply is outpacing demand growth,” said Michael Waldron, the US bank’s oil strategist.

“Inventories have been building since the beginning of the year. We have pretty significant projects starting soon in Saudi Arabia, and large off-shore fields in Nigeria,” he said.


You Walk Wrong

It took 4 million years of evolution to perfect the human foot. But we’re wrecking it with every step we take.

Walking is easy. It’s so easy that no one ever has to teach you how to do it. It’s so easy, in fact, that we often pair it with other easy activities—talking, chewing gum—and suggest that if you can’t do both simultaneously, you’re some sort of insensate clod. So you probably think you’ve got this walking thing pretty much nailed. As you stroll around the city, worrying about the economy, or the environment, or your next month’s rent, you might assume that the one thing you don’t need to worry about is the way in which you’re strolling around the city.

Well, I’m afraid I have some bad news for you: You walk wrong.

Look, it’s not your fault. It’s your shoes. Shoes are bad. I don’t just mean stiletto heels, or cowboy boots, or tottering espadrilles, or any of the other fairly obvious foot-torture devices into which we wincingly jam our feet. I mean all shoes. Shoes hurt your feet. They change how you walk. In fact, your feet—your poor, tender, abused, ignored, maligned, misunderstood feet—are getting trounced in a war that’s been raging for roughly a thousand years: the battle of shoes versus feet.

Last year, researchers at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, published a study titled “Shod Versus Unshod: The Emergence of Forefoot Pathology in Modern Humans?” in the podiatry journal The Foot. The study examined 180 modern humans from three different population groups (Sotho, Zulu, and European), comparing their feet to one another’s, as well as to the feet of 2,000-year-old skeletons. The researchers concluded that, prior to the invention of shoes, people had healthier feet. Among the modern subjects, the Zulu population, which often goes barefoot, had the healthiest feet while the Europeans—i.e., the habitual shoe-wearers—had the unhealthiest. One of the lead researchers, Dr. Bernhard Zipfel, when commenting on his findings, lamented that the American Podiatric Medical Association does not “actively encourage outdoor barefoot walking for healthy individuals. This flies in the face of the increasing scientific evidence, including our study, that most of the commercially available footwear is not good for the feet.”

Okay, so shoes can be less than comfortable. If you’ve ever suffered through a wedding in four-inch heels or patent-leather dress shoes, you’ve probably figured this out. But does that really mean we don’t walk correctly? (Yes.) I mean, don’t we instinctively know how to walk? (Yes, sort of.) Isn’t walking totally natural? Yes—but shoes aren’t.

“Natural gait is biomechanically impossible for any shoe-wearing person,” wrote Dr. William A. Rossi in a 1999 article in Podiatry Management. “It took 4 million years to develop our unique human foot and our consequent distinctive form of gait, a remarkable feat of bioengineering. Yet, in only a few thousand years, and with one carelessly designed instrument, our shoes, we have warped the pure anatomical form of human gait, obstructing its engineering efficiency, afflicting it with strains and stresses and denying it its natural grace of form and ease of movement head to foot.” In other words: Feet good. Shoes bad.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Long Term Plan to Steal Elections

Jim Crow has returned to American elections, only in the twenty-first century, instead of men in white robes or a barrel-chested sheriff menacingly patrolling voting precincts, we are more likely to see a lawyer carrying a folder filled with briefing papers and proposed legislation about "voter fraud" and other measures to supposedly protect the sanctity of the vote.

Since the 2004 election, activist lawyers with ties to the Republican Party and its presidential campaigns, Republican legislators, and even the Supreme Court -- in a largely unnoticed ruling in 2006 -- have been aggressively regulating most aspects of the voting process. Collectively, these efforts are undoing the gains of the civil rights era that brought voting rights to minorities and the poor, groups that tend to support Democrats.

In addition, the Department of Justice (DOJ), which for decades had fought to ensure that all eligible citizens could vote, now encourages states to take steps in the opposite direction. Political appointees who advocate for stringent requirements before ballots are cast and votes are counted have driven much of the DOJ's Voting Section's recent agenda. As a result, the Department has pushed states to purge voter lists, and to adopt newly restrictive voter ID and provisional ballot laws. In addition, during most of George W. Bush's tenure, the DOJ has stopped enforcing federal laws designed to aid registration, such as the requirement that state welfare offices offer public aid recipients the opportunity to register to vote.


Cloned Children Coming Soon?

'Now we have the technology that can make a cloned child'

A new form of cloning has been developed that is easier to carry out than the technique used to create Dolly the sheep, raising fears that it may one day be used on human embryos to produce "designer" babies.

Scientists who used the procedure to create baby mice from the skin cells of adult animals have found it to be far more efficient than the Dolly technique, with fewer side effects, which makes it more acceptable for human use.


Salt and Pepper Close-up

Salt and Pepper corn.

Jason Beghe Leaves Scientology - Video


Monday, April 14, 2008

Real Iron Man Suit


Water Bears Can Survive Cold, Heat, Radiation, 10 yrs Without Water

Water bears are able to survive in extreme environments that would kill almost any other animal. They can survive temperatures close to absolute zero[4], temperatures as high as 151°C (303°F), 1,000 times more radiation than any animal[5], nearly a decade without water, and can also survive in a vacuum like that found in space.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Indian Teenage Girl at 1'11" (58cm)

'I'm proud of being small. I love all the attention I get because of it.'

Her dad, Kishanji Amge, 52, said: 'I can't separate myself from her even for a single day. I love her very much.

'She makes me proud. Lots of gurus come to see and bless her. They pray for her happiness and long life.'

She seems pretty well adjusted. Good for her.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Chickens Break Up Bunny Fight (Really)

Funny "Newborn" Costume

Fantasy/ Sci-Fi Shows That Never Made It (Thankfully)

From Exo-Man to Clonemaster, Even Dr. Strange!

Atheism Statistics - Atheists are Better?

Personally I think that it's not as black and white... there are shades of gray. I see no conflict in believing in G'd and trusting science at the same time. Intelligent design by setting up an evolutionary mechanism, anyone?

Evolution - Family Guy vs Simpsons

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Thanks to RM

Friday, April 04, 2008

Angelina Photo Shoot at 16

Angelina Jolie posed for photographer Sean McCall when she was sweet 16. InTouch has apparently purchased the photos and has included them in an upcoming issue of their weekly magazine.

The 1991 photos, taken half a lifetime ago for the 32 year old actress, are demure by current standards. You’ll find nothing salacious about the pics but they do give a glimpse of how Angie got her start.


Germs Eat Antibiotics

Several strains of bacteria in the soil can make a meal of the world's most potent antibiotics, researchers said on Thursday, in a startling finding that illustrates the extent to which these germ-fighting drugs are losing the war against superbugs.

A study of soil microbes taken from 11 sites uncovered bacteria that could withstand antibiotics 50 times stronger than the standard for bacterial resistance.

"It certainly was very surprising to us," said George Church, a geneticist at Harvard Medical School in Boston, whose research appears in the journal Science.

"Many bacteria in many different soil isolates can not only tolerate antibiotics, they can actually live on them as their sole source of nutrition," Church said in an audio interview on the journal's Web site.

Scary. More.

Best Name Ever (from Java)

Un-Wussifying America One Kid at a Time


I left my 9-year-old at Bloomingdale’s (the original one) a couple weeks ago. Last seen, he was in first floor handbags as I sashayed out the door.

Bye-bye! Have fun!

And he did. He came home on the subway and bus by himself.

Was I worried? Yes, a tinge. But it didn’t strike me as that daring, either. Isn’t New York as safe now as it was in 1963? It’s not like we’re living in downtown Baghdad.

Anyway, for weeks my boy had been begging for me to please leave him somewhere, anywhere, and let him try to figure out how to get home on his own. So on that sunny Sunday I gave him a subway map, a MetroCard, a $20 bill, and several quarters, just in case he had to make a call.

No, I did not give him a cell phone. Didn’t want to lose it. And no, I didn’t trail him, like a mommy private eye. I trusted him to figure out that he should take the Lexington Avenue subway down, and the 34th Street crosstown bus home. If he couldn’t do that, I trusted him to ask a stranger. And then I even trusted that stranger not to think, “Gee, I was about to catch my train home, but now I think I’ll abduct this adorable child instead.”

Long story short: My son got home, ecstatic with independence.
“Parents are in the grip of anxiety and when you’re anxious, you’re totally warped,” the author of “A Nation of Wimps,” Hara Estroff Marano, said. We become so bent out of shape over something as simple as letting your children out of sight on the playground that it starts seeming on par with letting them play on the railroad tracks at night. In the rain. In dark non-reflective coats.

The problem with this everything-is-dangerous outlook is that over-protectiveness is a danger in and of itself. A child who thinks he can’t do anything on his own eventually can’t.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

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