Two new revolutionary technologies are being developed that could change our planet. Are they related to each other fundamentally or do they utilize different phenomena?
Today we are facing an energy crisis that threatens the future of our species. Cheap energy from fossil fuels has allowed civilization to grow and expand. In the past hundred years the human population has went from millions to billions. As access to cheap fossil fuels becomes more difficult, all of this progress is threatened. Currently, there are at least two companies that claim to have technologies that could provide a solution to the energy crisis. One of these companies is Randall Mills' BlackLight Power (BLP) and the other is Andrea Rossi's Leonardo Corp.
BLP and Cold Fusion in a Nutshell
BlackLight Power claims to have a technology based on producing shrunken hydrogen atoms called "hydrinos." Basically, their claim is that when atomic hydrogen comes into contact with one of several catalysts (there are at least a dozen) the orbit of the electron around the hydrogen nucleus is reduced below the "ground state" and energy is released.
(AA) In today's world of high-tech portable gadgets, iPods and cell phones, we've become dependent upon readily accessible electric outlets to power our devices and charge our batteries. But now researchers at the University of Washington have discovered nature's alternative to the power outlet: living trees.
That's right, living trees. UW engineers Babak Parviz and Brian Otis have invented an electrical device that can be plugged directly into any tree for power. "As far as we know this is the first peer-reviewed paper of someone powering something entirely by sticking electrodes into a tree," said Parviz.
The research was based upon a breakthrough study last year out of MIT, when scientists found that plants generate a voltage of up to 200 millivolts when one electrode is placed in a plant and the other in the surrounding soil. Those researchers are already designing devices which act as forest sensors powered entirely by this new method. But until now, no one has applied these findings to the development of tree power.
It all began last summer with UW undergraduate student Carlton Himes (also the study's co-author). He spent his summer wandering around the woods surrounding campus, hooking nails to bigleaf maple trees and connecting them to his voltmeter. Sure enough, the trees registered a steady voltage of up to a few hundred millivolts.
The next step for the UW team was to build a circuit to run on the available tree power. Because the voltage generated by the trees can be so small, the resulting device -- a boost converter -- was specialized to take input voltages of as little as 20 millivolts to be stored to produce greater output. The device's produced output voltage ended up being 1.1 volts, which is enough to run low-power sensors.
Of course, the researchers were quick to point out that the technology is still a long way off from being able to power normal electronics. "Normal electronics are not going to run on the types of voltages and currents that we get out of a tree," Parviz said.
At the very least, these findings open the door for new generations of electronics which might eventually be efficient enough to take advantage of tree power. It certainly excites the imagination. Maybe in time we'll be witness to weekend picnickers lounging in local parks with their iPods and cell phones plugged into the surrounding foliage.
Photo: Engineers Babak Parviz and Brian Otis demonstrate with students how a device can be plugged into a tree for power. (Photo: University of Washington)
(ENS) - New York, NY - "Forests for People" is the theme of the UN's International Year of Forests 2011 - launched at a ceremony today at UN Headquarters in New York attended by world leaders, Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai and forest experts. While the worldwide rate of deforestation remains "alarmingly high," the UN says in its latest biennial report on the state of the world's forests, the rate of forest loss is slowing. Europe has more forests than any other region, due to the vast forests of Russia, while Latin America and the Caribbean had the highest net forest loss over the last decade.
At least 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their daily livelihoods and subsistence needs, and the world's forests are home to more than 60 million people, many of them members of indigenous communities, the UN says.
The UN General Assembly designated 2011 as the International Year of Forests, and today Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said this year will be used as a pathway to raise awareness about the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests.
"By declaring 2011 as the International Year of Forests, the United Nations General Assembly has created an important platform to educate the global community about the great value of forests - and the extreme social, economic and environmental costs of losing them," said Ban.
by Terrence Aym, Helium
"Superstorms can also cause certain societies, cultures or whole countries to collapse. Others may go to war with each other."
(CHICAGO) - NASA has been warning about it…scientific papers have been written about it…geologists have seen its traces in rock strata and ice core samples…
Now "it" is here: an unstoppable magnetic pole shift that has sped up and is causing life-threatening havoc with the world's weather.
Forget about global warming—man-made or natural—what drives planetary weather patterns is the climate and what drives the climate is the sun's magnetosphere and its electromagnetic interaction with a planet's own magnetic field.
When the field shifts, when it fluctuates, when it goes into flux and begins to become unstable anything can happen. And what normally happens is that all hell breaks loose.
(CBS) A controversial bill handing President Obama power over privately owned computer systems during a "national cyberemergency," and prohibiting any review by the court system, will return this year.
Internet companies should not be alarmed by the legislation, first introduced last summer by Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), a Senate aide said last week. Lieberman, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, is chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
"We're not trying to mandate any requirements for the entire Internet, the entire Internet backbone," said Brandon Milhorn, Republican staff director and counsel for the committee.
Instead, Milhorn said at a conference in Washington, D.C., the point of the proposal is to assert governmental control only over those "crucial components that form our nation's critical infrastructure."
Portions of the Lieberman-Collins bill, which was not uniformly well-received when it became public in June 2010, became even more restrictive when a Senate committee approved a modified version on December 15. The full Senate did not act on the measure.
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