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Hive Mind
Thursday, September 30, 2004
 

Scientists propose using microbes to clean the Earth's atmosphere



Earth's microbial lungs may be encouraged to take deeper breaths to rid the atmosphere of pollution, writes Roger Highfield from London.

The Earth's atmosphere is so polluted that the planet is dying. But scientists around the world have a plan; they want to enlist some of the smallest creatures to renew the atmosphere and save all of humanity.

The US has already spent about $US100 million dollars to curb climate change by giving the Earth a new set of "lungs".

The lungs would consist of vast colonies of bacteria and other microbes that are able to scrub the atmosphere of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. As a bonus, they may even convert the pollutants to ethanol, which can be used as a fuel.

Last year, Spencer Abraham, the US Secretary of Energy, said he envisaged "a colony of specially designed microbes living within the emission-control system of a coal-fired plant, consuming its pollution and its carbon dioxide".

This is a really, really interesting idea. The part about converting pollutants into ethanol reminds me of Bucky Fuller referring to pollution as an "untapped resource," a very forward thinking and pleasantly optimistic view indeed.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2004
 

An atom-smasher on your desk?


The image of particle-physics machines tends to be of huge beasts snaking through kilometres of countryside and costing billions of dollars. But that is about to change.

Cheap table-top particle accelerators could bring high-energy physics into normal laboratories, now that several teams have cleared the major hurdle to shrinking these machines to a manageable size.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2004
 

$14m diamond theft at Paris show



PARIS, France (AP) -- Thieves stole two diamonds worth more than $14.2 million from a display case at a Paris antique show near the Louvre on Monday, police said.

[...]

An initial police investigation found no alarm system or surveillance cameras at the display window. There was no sign of a break-in, police said.

"It happened in a few seconds, surely. The two stones disappeared," show president Christian Deydier told reporters. "Everything is in the hands of the police."

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Monday, September 27, 2004
 

GLOR #13 Now Online




Check it out.


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Monday, September 20, 2004
 

"Vandal" daubs DNA code in street.



BBC:"Police and academics in Cambridge are trying to find a graffiti artist who could be Britain's brightest vandal.

The artist spray-painted part of a chemical component of DNA on the road outside a lab where the double helix was unveiled 50 years ago.

Atop the design - described by one academic as "really nice" work - the artist wrote the word "phospholipase".



(Via Blog126)

 
 

Ninja teens spark terrorist alert



A GROUP of teenagers dressed as ninjas sparked a security alert in the centre of Cambridge.

Police were called in after an officer noticed the group dressed from head to toe in distinctive black Japanese warrior outfits.

The teenagers, who describe themselves as street acrobats, were warned about their behaviour by officers and ordered to remove the offending clothing.

[...]

Student Jon Whymark, who witnessed the drama unfold on Wednesday afternoon, said: "It was ridiculous to believe these kids were anything more than street performers.

"I was just dumfounded by the police response and the reaction of some American tourists who seemed to think Al-Qaeda were about to attack."

(Via Jesus' General)


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Sunday, September 19, 2004
 

WTF?






Fnords in the mass media is one thing, but c'mon, Ziggy? 
Friday, September 17, 2004
 

Spinach May Soon Power Mobile Devices




Baldo and other researchers from MIT, the University of Tennessee and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, including electrical and biomedical engineers, nanotechnology experts and biologists, collaborated on the world’s first solid-state photosynthetic solar cell. The work was reported in NanoLetters, a publication of the American Chemical Society.

“We have crossed the first hurdle of successfully integrating a photosynthetic protein molecular complex with a solid-state electronic device,” Baldo said.

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Bacteria Turn Toxins Into Plastic


From the Wired News Article

Irish scientists have isolated a bacterium that can convert a toxic waste product into safe, biodegradable plastic.

This week, scientists Kevin O'Connor and Patrick Ward, of the Department of Industrial Microbiology at University College Dublin, announced that they have discovered a bacterial strain that uses styrene, a toxic byproduct of the polystyrene industry (which produces Styrofoam, among other things), as fuel to make a type of biodegradable plastic, polyhydroxyalkanoate, known as PHA.

(via WorldChanging)



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Sunday, September 12, 2004
 

Quantum chip circuitry demonstrated



PORTLAND, Ore. — Yale University researchers have demonstrated how to build a quantum computer operating on quantum bits, or qubits, which hold a superposition of quantum states. The computer uses a superconducting "Cooper box" to store oscillating microwave photons which can be read and written without disturbing their quantum states.

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Giant Squid To Go On Show



A giant squid washed up at Farewell Spit is the largest specimen ever discovered.

Auckland researcher Dr Steve O'Shea has identified the creature from the deep, which is now at a storage facility in Auckland.

The 300-kilogram squid will be kept deep-frozen until October when there will be work to preserve it and eventually put it on show.

Dr O'Shea says the find is important in understanding the little-known species, which is threatened through over-fishing of coastal waters.

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Thursday, September 09, 2004
 

Sandia experiments may reduce possibility of future water wars



ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A method that uses roughly only one-hundredth the fresh water customarily needed to grow forage for livestock may leave much more water available for human consumption, as well as for residential and industrial uses. As a byproduct, it also may add formerly untapped solar energy to the electrical grid.

The method for lessening water use is being tested by 42 wireless sensors being installed in a forage-growing hydroponic greenhouse built barely a stone's throw from the Mexico border under the supervision of the National Nuclear Security Administration's Sandia National Laboratories, a U.S. national security lab.

Sandia is interested because, says lab researcher Ron Pate, "Disputes over water are possible, if not likely, causes for war in the 21st century."

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Saturday, September 04, 2004
 

UC Davis Medical Center Tests Robot That Brings Your Doctor To You After Surgery



SACRAMENTO, Calif. — UC Davis Medical Center has begun testing a new, five-and-a-half-foot-tall robot that allows physicians to personally check in and interact with their hospital patients following surgery — without the doctor actually being there in person.

The medical center is one of four sites in the nation participating in a scientific study to determine if a robot is a useful and safe complement to the standard care following surgery. UC Davis urologist Lars Ellison is studying whether a surgeon can adequately assess patients from a remote location using a machine that is know affectionately around the hospital as “Rudy”.

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