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Friday, 5 October 2007

Vegeterian vampires, CO2 extraction and cool smart tables

The social stars

The new investigation also indicates that the most massive stars have gathered at the cluster's centre, something that has previously been observed in more massive groupings called globular star clusters. Globular clusters behave like cosmic sorting machines. Over time, interactions between the stars cause the most massive ones to settle near the centre of clusters, while less massive stars stay farther out.

Also appearing in the image are some dark and extremely cold "Bok globules" at top right. Bok globules are dense clouds of dust and gas with between 10 and 50 times the mass of the Sun. Among the coldest objects known in the universe, with temperatures just a few degrees above absolute zero, they are thought to be condensing and on their way to forming new stars.


Smart tables

YOU arrive home from work, drop your mobile phone, MP3 player and camera on the kitchen table and pour yourself a well-earned drink. Immediately, the music on your MP3 player begins blaring from your hi-fi, photos start downloading to your PC and texts and emails start flashing up on your TV screen.

What's going on? The phone, MP3 player and camera are sending information to the table, which passes it to the walls, which in turn route it to the hi-fi, television and PC.

Takao Someya, Tsuyoshi Sekitani and colleagues at the University of Tokyo, Japan, have developed a flexible, plastic electronic sheet that can be embedded in tables, walls and floors. Plastic transistors and copper wires that snake through the sheets allow gadgets placed on them to form spontaneous connections and swap data.

The sheets could free users from having to plug gadgets into each other.


My comment: Oh, yeah! That's what I'm talking about, baby! Although I don't have an mp3 player and my phone is in repair and the camera sucks but still! I love it.


Check out here- the question is if there can be a DNA free diet, because all the organisms on Earth share similar DNA-pool. And thus, you may eat only plants, but they are partly animal too. And the great idea in the article is to have red blood cells, because they don't have their nucleus and mitochondria thus- no DNA! Sweet, huh?

"One cheat that springs to mind is red blood cells. In many species, including humans, the nucleus and mitochondria are removed from these cells during the maturation process. This is to make room for more haemoglobin, the iron-bound protein that carries oxygen. Because the nucleus and mitochondria contain all the cell's DNA, you could argue that provided you don't kill the animals, drinking their blood is the ultimate vegetarian diet. You'd need to filter out the white blood cells, which still have plenty of DNA, but the rest of the blood components would be fine. They'd provide you with protein, some sugars and vitamins, but probably more iron than is healthy."

It looks like someone's going to win

Removing CO2 from the atmosphere is the subject of a prize announced earlier in 2007 by British entrepreneur Richard Branson. Branson pledged to award $25 million to anyone who can develop a scheme for removing at least one billion tonnes of the gas from the atmosphere every year, for a decade.

So, together with Klaus Lackner, a former colleague at Columbia University, Zeman devised a new way of scrubbing CO2 from air. He has also performed calculations, published in Environmental Science & Technology, which suggest that the new method is efficient enough to justify its use.

The process involves pumping air from the atmosphere through a chamber containing sodium hydroxide, which reacts with the CO2 to form sodium carbonate. This carbon-containing solution is then mixed with lime to precipitate powdered calcium carbonate – a naturally occurring form of which is limestone. Finally, the "limestone" is heated in a kiln releasing pure CO2 for storage.

Zeman calculates that one carbon atom would need to be expended as fuel – to pump air and heat the process – in order to capture four carbon atoms from air.

Jon Gibbins, an expert on energy technology at Imperial College in the UK concedes that carbon capture from air could be a desirable last-ditch solution, but is concerned that it could also provide justification for continuing to burn fossil fuels.

Read here for more.

My comment: Although it's good to see the competition having a result, I somehow dislike the idea of storing all this CO2 underground. The process sounds good, but we should use it along with renewable sources, not just keep on doing the same.

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