Saturday, August 21, 2010
The 6-ounce Nokero bulb absorbs the sun's energy into a replaceable battery by way of four photovoltaic panels, which gives power to five white LEDs inside the weatherproof, plastic casing. The bulb will glow for four hours when fully charged, and a full day outside will provide enough energy for about two hours of light. Currently they are $15 each, but the price will drop for bulk orders.
Although the bulbs will likely appeal to the outdoorsy type or patio lovers, Katsaros' major focus is making them available to those in the developing world. "We are trying to reduce the cost so that the 2.8 billion people in the world who make less than two dollars a day can afford this." Nokero bulbs could provide a clean and safe alternative to the commonly used kerosene lanterns, which emit toxic fumes and start fires responsible for over 1 million deaths worldwide.
Friday, August 20, 2010
The video above shows the process of zebrafish development from one cell to the 512-cell stage. The scale bar represents 100 micrometres. The embryo in the video is not labeled with any dyes, however soon enough fluorescent molecular markers will be combined with this approach and allow for more detailed visualization of early development.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Recent research analyzing DNA sequences revealed that other Pinta Island Tortoises might exist on the neighboring Galapagos island of Isabela (PubMed). One male tortoise that was screened had half of its genes in common with George's subspecies, suggesting that it is likely a first generation intergrade between the subspecies. This means that a pure Pinta Island Tortoise might be living among the 2000 tortoises on Isabela. The Darwin Research Station is offering $10,000 to anyone who discovers a Pinta female.
Columbia University microbiologist, Dickson Despommier believes that the solution to humanities newest predicament is the large scale introduction of vertical farming. Since mastering the art of growing food horizontally, we have sacrificed countless thriving ecosystems and replaced them with fields of crops. We protect ourselves from the elements by moving into cities and living in tall buildings, yet let our growing food fend for itself against flooding, droughts, and hurricanes. With our booming population it's high time to learn how to grow our food locally, in buildings within urban centers. Vertical farms offer the possibility of year-round crop production and the simultaneous repair of ecosystems as we gradually lose our reliance on horizontal farming. Also, let's not forget how this could decrease fossil fuel burning, which is needed to power tractors, plows, and various shipping methods.
Along with the benefit of no weather or insect related crop failures, vertical farms would eliminate agricultural runoff by recycling black water. They would also add energy back to the grid via methane generation from composting non-edible parts of plants and animals. Depending on the crop, 1 indoor acre is the equivalent to 4-6 outdoor acres or more. Just consider that one 30 story building taking up an entire NYC block would feed 50,000 people per year. This means that 165 sky farms spread across the 5 boroughs would be enough to continuously feed all of New York. For more information visit The Vertical Farm Project.
Monday, August 16, 2010
At the end of 2009 The American Museum of Natural History released this video entitled 'The Known Universe' as part of their Visions of the Cosmos exhibition. There are many similar "zoom out from the earth" videos, including the Morgan Freeman narrated IMAX film 'Cosmic Voyage', but this is by far the most impressive and accurate. It starts with the Himalayas and zooms out through our atmosphere and into the depths of the dark space beyond. Every star, planet, and quasar seen is carefully plotted based on the 4D Digital Universe Atlas maintained by astrophysicists at the AMNH. To enjoy the full experience, watch it in full screen HD quality.
Friday, August 13, 2010
A test was initially done and it was observed that fish began forming communities within the old scrap metal containers within one year. It has been projected that the abandoned vehicles will create a total of 72 artificial reefs, which should increase local fish stocks. In this Al Jazeera video, reporters interview local fishermen and scientists about the idea:
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Research suggests that salt-permeated air helps dissolve phlegm in the bronchial tubes and kills micro-organisms that cause infections. This greatly helps patients undertaking asthma treatment and so mine therapy is currently being practiced in Slovakia, Poland, and Ukraine.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Needless to say, the cross-breeding experiment has already become quite a lucrative venture. Seed and sapling company Suttons purchased exclusive rights to sell the fruit trees in Britain, and saplings are being scattered all over European orchards to start mass production.
Tom Sharples, spokesman for Suttons, said 'This is the very first red-fleshed, fine-tasting apple in the world. It has a delicious sweet and tangy taste with a hint of berries to it if eaten raw and is also ideal for cooking.'
The apple of your eye doesn't just look pretty either; its antioxidant-rich flesh make it healthier to eat than the average apple. The trees, which let out a mesmerizing deep pink blossom in the spring, can be yours for £24.95 per sapling from Suttons.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Shown above, famous inventor Dean Kaman's goal was to create a small portable machine that could be placed anywhere and at point-of-use create clean, reliable drinking water from any source. His device, named SlingShot, can make distilled drinking water from anything wet, whether it be ocean water, sludge, or sewage. Liquid goes into the SlingShot where it is boiled until it becomes steam. Once the steam is re-condensed the result is pure distilled water. If the liquid coming in contains metals or other inorganic toxins, they will not vaporize.
Until now nobody has been able to create this effect in a portable machine, because of the energy intensive distillation process. The secret of the SlingShot is that it uses a closed loop of energy. Once the first batch of water is vaporized and re-condensed, all the energy is preserved in a sealed heat exchange system. In other words, the SlingShot runs on less energy than a toaster oven and has been designed to make 1000L of water per day, which is enough for a village of 100 people.
During the summer of 2006, a pair of SlingShot devices worked successfully in a village in Honduras. Although initial devices cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, Kamen hopes that increased economies of scale will allow production machines to be made available for $2000 each.
By placing these panels in high-traffic areas, energy can be generated and used locally to power things nearby. Imagine a busy intersection where panels on the corners of the street could power the traffic lights above. It could be especially useful and efficient if placed at transportation centers like airports, railways stations, or bus terminals. According to their website, PowerLeap is not yet available to be purchased. They are in the process of finalizing the product and are currently raising capital to fund their growth initiative.
"The freshwater stored in this ice island could keep the Delaware or Hudson rivers flowing for more than two years. It could also keep all U.S. public tap water flowing for 120 days," lead researcher Andreas Muenchow estimates.
"The newly born ice island may become land-fast, block the channel, or it may break into smaller pieces as it is propelled south by the prevailing ocean currents. From there, it will likely follow along the coasts of Baffin Island and Labrador, to reach the Atlantic within the next two years."
According to environmentalists this rapid ice melting is being caused by global warming, as Arctic temperatures in the 1990s reached their warmest level of any decade in the last 2000 years. Some predict that within decades the Arctic Ocean will become ice free in summer months. (Image: Andreas Muenchow)
Monday, August 2, 2010
The incredible footage above was shot by a group of volunteers trying to evacuate the Tamboles village. For a moment they appear trapped in the midst of hell on earth. Warning: for those who understand Russian there is explicit language that might not be suitable for some readers.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Just because they're concerned with the well being of their drivers on the car's interior, doesn't mean they've forgotten about the importance of the safety from the outside. New anti-collision technology, similar to radar systems used by ships and planes, will monitor the distance between itself and the vehicle in front. The system will warn the driver to decelerate with a beeping sound, and will actually slow the vehicle down by automatically raising the accelerator pedal and softly braking. In test scenarios they could prevent collisions at forward speeds of up to 60km/h.