Apr 28, 2015

Why Our Antiquated Power Grid Needs Battery Storage

Slashdot
Last year, renewable energy sources accounted for half of new installed electric-generation capacity (natural gas units made up most of the remainder). As more photovoltaic panels are installed on rooftops around the nation, an antiquated power grid is being overburdened by a bidirectional loadits was never engineered to handle. The Hawaiian Electric Company, for example, said it's struggling with electricity "backflow" that could destabilize its system. Batteries for distributed renewable power has the potential to mitigate the load on the national grid by allowing a redistribution of power during peak hours. Because of this, Tesla, which is expected to announce batteries for homes and utilities on Thursday, and others are targeting a market estimated to be worth $1.2B by 2019. Along with taking up some of the load during peak load, battery capacity can be used when power isn't being generated by renewable systems, such as at night and during inclement weather. That also reduces grid demand.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apr 24, 2015

Africa E-Waste Dump Continues Hyperbole War

Two stories appear today which feature close up photos of young African men surrounded by scrap metal in the city of Accra. The headlines state that this iswhere our computers go to die (Wired). The Daily Mail puts it in even starker terms, alleging "millions of tons" are dumped in Agbogbloshie.

The stories appear the same day as a press release by investigators who returned this week from 3 weeks at the site. The release claims that Agbogbloshie's depiction as the worlds "largest ewaste dump site" to be a hoax. It is a scrap automobile yard which accounts for nothing more than local scrap from Accra. Three Dagbani language speaking electronics technicians, three reporters, Ghana customs officials and yours truly visited the site, interviewed workers about the origins of the material, and assessed volumes. About 27 young men burn wire, mostly from automobile scrap harnesses. The electronics — 20 to 50 items per day — are collected from Accra businesses and households. The majority of Accra (population 5M) have had televisions since the 1990s, according to World Bank metadata (over 80% by 2003).

The investigation did confirm that most of the scrap was originally imported used, and that work conditions were poor. However, the equipment being recycled had been repaired and maintained, typically for a decade (longer than the original OECD owner). It is a fact that used goods will, one day, eventually become e-waste. Does that support a ban on the trade in used goods to Africa? Or, as the World Bank reports, is the affordable used product essential to establish a critical mass of users so that investment in highways, phone towers, and internet cable can find necessary consumers?

Apr 23, 2015

How The state of Wisconsin celebrated Earth Day

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Fifty-seven employees of the state Department of Natural Resources began receiving formal notices this week that they might face layoff as part of Gov. Scott Walker's budget for the next two fiscal years.

DNR spokesman Bill Cosh said that of that number, 27 employees are in the Bureau of Science Services, a unit of the DNR where Walker is proposing significant cuts.

The bureau performs significant research duties for the DNR, and the cuts have come under fire from wildlife and environmental groups who say research is the underpinning of many agency activities. Other positions that could be cut are education and communications personnel.

Six Environmental Heroes Honored With Prestigious Prize

Six Environmental Heroes from around the world were honored this week with the annual Goldman Prize for their role in defending the earth, "often at great personal risk." Selected by an international jury, this year's recipients hail from Kenya, Myanmar, Scotland, Haiti, Canada, and Honduras. They will be bestowed with $175,000 "to pursue their vision of a renewed and protected environment," according to the Goldman Environmental Foundation. An award ceremony that took place in San Francisco on Monday will be followed by another in Washington, D.C. later this week. The winners' stories are captured in the short descriptions and videos below, all of which were provided by the Goldman Environmental Foundation. 

How quickly they forget...Cheap Gas Fuels Switch From Electric Cars For SUVs

Slashdot....sure to clash with Earth Day narratives: drivers who bought hybrid and electric cars are switching back to SUVs at a higher rate than ever. Quoting:According to Edmunds.com, about 22 percent of people who have traded in their hybrids and EVs in 2015 bought a new SUV. The number represents a sharp increase from 18.8 percent last year, and it is nearly double the rate of 11.9 percent just three years ago. Overall, only 45 percent of this year's hybrid and EV trade-ins have gone toward the purchase of another alternative fuel vehicle, down from just over 60 percent in 2012. Never before have loyalty rates for alt-fuel vehicles fallen below 50 percent. ... Edmunds calculates that at the peak average national gas price of $4.67/gallon in October 2012, it would take five years to break even on the $3,770 price difference between a Toyota Camry LE Hybrid ($28,230) and a Toyota Camry LE ($24,460). At today's national average gas price of $2.27/gallon, it would take twice as much time (10.5 years) to close the same gap.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

USDA awards $72 million to six renewable energy projects in rural communities

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday announced $72 million in funding for six rural electric infrastructure projects in North Carolina, South Carolina, Kansas and Vermont. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement: "These solar projects represent an ongoing commitment from rural electric cooperatives to increase the diversity of their fuel sources with a focus on renewable energy." 

Funds include: $20 million to Montgomery Solar Owner in Cornelius, N.C., to build a 20 megawatt solar farm; $5 million to Chocowinity Solar and Cirrus Solar in Cornelius to build 5 megawatt solar farms; $17 million to Rolling Hills Electric Cooperative in Kansas to build or improve 197 miles of transmission and distribution line and make other system improvements; $18 million to Broad River Electric Cooperative in North and South Carolina, to build or improve 138 miles of line and make other system improvements; and $7 million to Washington Electric Cooperative in Vermont to build or improve 46 miles of line and make other system improvements. (Read more

Chinese Scientists Claim To Have Genetically Modified Human Embryos

... now it's been confirmed. Chinese scientists have attempted the ethically questionable feat of genetically modifying human embryos. The scientists try to head off ethical concerns by using 'non-viable' embryos, which cannot result in a live birth, obtained from local fertility clinics. The study is a landmark — but also a cautionary tale.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apr 22, 2015

This Arbor Day, plant a tree and help the urban forest canopy grow

WI-DNR: The public is invited to attend the planting of a large red oak tree near the corner of Main Street and Pinckney Street on the capitol square in Madison at noon on April 24, 2015 to mark the 132nd celebration of Arbor Day in Wisconsin.

"People often ask when is the best time to plant a tree?" said Jeff Roe, urban forestry team leader with the Department of Natural Resources. "My standard answer is 'yesterday,' but if you didn't plant one yesterday, plant one on Arbor Day."

Wisconsin celebrates Arbor Day on the last Friday in April, the same day Arbor Day is celebrated nationally. The first Arbor Day was declared in 1872, when Nebraska newspaper editor J. Sterling Morton convinced the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture to accept a resolution by him "to set aside one day to plant trees, both forest and fruit." Today, Arbor Day is celebrated in all 50 states and around the world.

"Wisconsinites take pride in the forests where we live and play--from the majestic white oak in your backyard to the vast pines of the Northwoods. The tree canopy where we live provides many benefits, including reducing storm water runoff, lowering air temperatures, reducing air pollution, enhancing property values, improving health and wellbeing and the aesthetic benefits," Roe said.

"Threats to the urban forest posed by the emerald ash borer mean that the urgency to plant trees and continue to receive all of these benefits is exponentially increasing," Roe said. "The management of this pest is resulting in the removal of many ash trees in urban and rural environments."

State Forester Paul DeLong and other special guests will be on hand at the Capitol as The Bruce Company uses a tree spade truck to plant the large red oak. Smokey Bear will make an appearance to remind school children and other event participants that "Only YOU Can Prevent Wildfires!" Madison musician Ken Lonnquist will also be on hand to lead the crowd in songs celebrating the benefits of trees.

The public is invited to join in celebrating Arbor Day by participating in a tree planting ceremony--either at the state capitol or at one of the hundreds of local Arbor Day ceremonies that will be taking place throughout the state on April 24 -- or by planting a tree on their own property.

  Arbor Day tree planting  Arbor Day tree planting
Arbor Day is a worldwide tree-planting holiday that has been celebrated in Wisconsin since 1883. Though the holiday is observed on different dates according to planting conditions and local custom, Wisconsin’s official Arbor Day is the last Friday in April.

Four easy steps for a happy Arbor Day

  1. Celebrate Arbor Day by planting a tree and committing yourself to its care.
    Use this family-based activity [PDF] to learn how to properly plant and care for your seedling or learn how to plant and care for your landscape tree [PDF]
  2. Catch the Arbor Day spirit.

Please read on at:
http://dnr.wi.gov/news/weekly/#art4

Never Forget EarthDay is EveryDay... Even when is seems like everyone else hase

Protein Converts Pancreatic Cancer Cells Back Into Healthy Cells

Scientists working in the area of pancreatic cancer research have uncovered a technique that sees cancerous cells transform back into normal healthy cells. The method relies in the introduction of a protein called E47, which bonds with particular DNA sequences and reverts the cells back to their original state. The study (abstract) was a collaboration between researchers at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, University of California San Diego and Purdue University. The scientists are hopeful that it could help combat the deadly disease in humans
Please continue reading from: 

EPA Awards $5 million in Clean Diesel Grants to Protect Health of Communities near Ports (HQ, CA, NJ, OR, TX)

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today awarded $5 million in grant funding for clean diesel projects at U.S. ports. The selected projects in California, Oregon, New Jersey and Texas will improve the air quality for people who live and work near the ports, and significantl... Please continue reading from: EPA News

Apr 21, 2015

William Shatner Proposes $30 Billion Water Pipeline To California

The 84-year-old Star Trek star wants to build a water pipeline to California. All it'll cost, according to Mr. Shatner, is $30 billion, and he wants to KickStarter the funding campaign. According to Mr. Shatner, if the KickStarter campaign doesn't raise enough money then he will donate whatever that has been collected to a politician who promise to build that water pipe. Where does he wants to get the water? Seattle, "A place where there's a lot of water. There's too much water," says Mr. Shatner.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Record Amount of E-Waste Generated Globally in 2014, Report Finds

A record amount of electronic waste was discarded in 2014, with a total of 41.8 million tons of personal electronics and household 2014 saw a record amount of e-waste.
appliances hitting landfills worldwide, a new report from the United Nations University found. The highest per-capita totals of so-called "e-waste" came from Scandinavian and European countries — Norway topped the list, followed by Switzerland, Iceland, and Denmark — and China and the U.S. were responsible for the largest volumes overall. Nearly 60 percent of e-waste by weight came from electronic components and wiring in large and small kitchen, bathroom, and laundry appliances, and 7 percent was discarded mobile phones, calculators, personal computers, and printers, the report said. It also found that less than one-sixth of all discarded electronics were properly recycled, and an estimated $52 billion in gold, copper, silver, and recoverable materials went to waste. Please continue reading from: Yale Environment 360

Exemplary Clean Air and Climate Initiatives Win EPA Honors

WASHINGTON – This week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is honoring seven projects for their work on clean air and climate initiatives, including investment in alternative fuel vehicle fleets, business partnerships to reduce pollutants, and air quality education and outreach. The 2015... 
Please continue reading from: EPA News

Wisconsin Declares Bird Flu Emergency - NBC News

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker declared a state of emergency Monday because of an outbreak of H5N2 bird flu that kills poultry, activating the state's National Guard to help fight the infection.

Wisconsin is one of about a dozen U.S. states to be hit by the highly pathogenic strain of H5N2, which experts believe is spread by migrating waterfowl. Canada has been affected, also.

The virus has been found in three Wisconsin poultry flocks, affecting tens of thousands of chickens and turkeys. It can sweep through commercial flocks, wiping them out in days.

"We must act quickly and efficiently to contain the outbreak and protect domestic poultry," Walker said in a statement. "It is important to note, however, there is no threat to humans with the avian flu outbreak."

"There is no threat to humans with the avian flu outbreak."

There are dozens of strains of avian influenza, many of which don't cause severe symptoms in birds. But highly pathogenic strains can wipe out flocks of valuable commercial poultry and spread quickly, so outbreaks mean flocks must be destroyed.

Protein converts pancreatic cancer cells back into healthy cells

GizmagScientists working in the area of pancreatic cancer research have uncovered a technique that sees cancerous cells transform back into normal healthy cells. The method relies in the introduction of a protein called E47, which bonds with particular DNA sequences and reverts the cells back to their original state. .. Continue Reading Protein converts pancreatic cancer cells back into healthy cells 

Apr 20, 2015

He Holds the Patent that Could Destroy Monsanto and Change the World

Image

He Holds The Patent That Could DESTROY Monsanto And Change The World!

March 9th, 2015

If there's anything you read – or share – let this be it. The content of this article has potential to radically shift the world in a variety of positive ways.

And as Monsanto would love for this article to not go viral, all we can ask is that you share, share, share the information being presented so that it can reach as many people as possible.

In 2006, a patent was granted to a man named Paul Stamets. Though Paul is the world's leading mycologist, his patent has received very little attention and exposure. Why is that? Stated by executives in the pesticide industry, this patent represents “the most disruptive technology we have ever witnessed.” And when the executives say disruptive, they are referring to it being disruptive to the chemical pesticides industry.  

What has Paul discovered? The mycologist has figured out how to use mother nature's own creations to keep insects from destroying crops. It's what is being called SMART pesticides. These pesticides provide safe & nearly permanent solution for controlling over 200,000 species of insects - and all thanks to the 'magic' of mushrooms.

Paul does this by taking entomopathogenic Fungi (fungi that destroys insects) and morphs it so it does not produce spores. In turn, this actually attracts the insects who then eat and turn into fungi from the inside out!


This patent has potential to revolutionize the way humans grow crops – if it can be allowed to reach mass exposure.

To tolerate the use of pesticides in modern agriculture is to deny evidence proving its detrimental effects against the environment. Such ignorance really can no longer be tolerated. For example, can you imagine a world without bees? Monsanto's chemical concoctions which are being sprayed all over farmers' fields around the world are attributed to the large-scale bee die off. While a growing number of countries are banning Monsanto, it's still being used in  in nations who should  be aware of its dangers. To say that  new methods  need to be implemented before it is too late is an understatement.  

Monsanto presently generates $16 billion dollars per year (as reported in 2014), therefore you can be certain they do not want anything interrupting that flow of revenue. Such income gives them nearly limitless resources and abilities to suppress information that may be damaging their reputation.

Read more

New device combines the advantages of batteries and supercapacitors

GizmagScientists at UCLA's California NanoSystems Institute have developed a new device that combines the high energy densities of batteries and the quick charge and discharge rates of supercapacitors. The hybrid supercapacitor is reportedly six times as energy-dense as a commercially available supercapacitor and packs nearly as much energy per unit volume as a lead-acid battery. .. Continue Reading New device combines the advantages of batteries and supercapacitors 

Section: Science 

Tags:  

Related Articles:

Apr 16, 2015

Where 3000MPG+ Cars Come To Compete: The Ecomarathon

The Ecomarathon
Every year teams from around the world come together for the Ecomarathon, an event (ironically put on by Shell) that tasks teams from high schools and universities with creating energy-efficient electric, gas, and hybrid vehicles. This year's competition was held in Detroit, so I headed over to check it out.

vehicle-blurThe event has two categories that vehicles compete in: prototype vehicles that compete for the highest fuel efficiency and "urban concept" vehicles that are more focused on normal driving environments and look slightly closer to street-legal vehicles. Cars in both categories can be fully electric or powered by gas, diesel, compressed natural gas, or other alternative fuels. Vehicles drive around a 0.9 mile track that weaves through downtown Detroit and the efficiency of each vehicle is measured as they complete a fixed number of laps around the track.

supermileage-workingEven though many of these teams are backed by universities with hefty amounts of funding, the skill sets of individual team members have a huge impact on a team's success. I talked to a team from Ohio whose electric vehicle team was made up entirely of mechanical engineers — and they were actually able to put together a fully functional vehicle.

The Ecomarathon requires each electric vehicle to have a custom-designed motor controller, which was a big challenge to a group with both limited time and little electrical experience. To get something up and running as quickly as possible, the team took an Arduino and hooked it up to a bunch of parallel FETs which are PWMed to control their drive motor. Unfortunately their simple design ended up frying a bunch of FETs during competition, probably due to inadequate gate drive. Nevertheless, the team was able to get their car working before the end of the competition and ended up in 11th place with a power consumption of 109km/kWh.

vehicle-inside

In contrast, some other teams had pretty impressive electronics; custom vehicle controllers built around microcontrollers, and quite a few that interfaced to phones or Android tablets to display live data over Bluetooth or USB. A couple of teams even had web interfaces that displayed live telemetry from their vehicle.

Despite all of the fairly sophisticated electronics, most of the vehicles are based around single-cylinder gasoline internal combustion engines, and most use a commercial engine controller.

steering-columnMost teams start out with an off-the-shelf lawnmower engine or something similar in size. Some teams just run the engines stock, while others add mechanical or electronic fuel injection and fabricate their own cylinders and pistons. Teams with stock engines often perform surprisingly well, since a ton of efficiency is gained and lost in the aerodynamics of the car alone.

The construction of each car varies quite a bit: some cars have simple designs around tubular metal frames, while other designs are elaborate composite layups with carbon-fiber roll cages and supports. Some cars have automotive-quality paint jobs, while others have a pretty rough finish. Regardless of the outside appearance, nearly every car I looked at had some sort of awesome hacked-together last-minute fix (note the pop can in the image below).

um-engine-sc

Most of the prototype cars have extremely aerodynamic body shapes, which the students spend a ton of time simulating to make sure they are as efficient as possible. One of the biggest sources of drag for the vehicles is the wheels, so many of the vehicles have aerodynamic covers over the wheels, or actually move the wheels inside the car. Each team had their own take on body design, and most designs were really unique.

Even though these prototype cars aren't anything close to what you might see on the road, this competition brings students together to research and create energy-efficient mechanical and electrical designs. The designs might not directly translate to vehicles on the road in the near-term, but I'm sure the students will use their the skill and passion for engineering and hacking to make the vehicles of the future even more awesome.

Want to check out the scores from the event and see what schools competed? Head on over to the results page.


Filed under: car hacksFeaturedslider  

High School Students and Professionals Join Forces to a Construct Homeless Village

Jetson Green

ext

The Seattle-based non-profit organization Sawhorse Revolution is currently raising funds to sponsor the building of a "moveable eco-village" to house the city's homeless. They are calling the project the Impossible City, and with the help of volunteers from among the local high school students and building professionals they home to start building it soon. Currently they are trying to raise the funds via an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.

shleters

Once built, Impossible City will house anywhere from 40 to 100 homeless people at a time, with the aim of helping them get back on their feet. This city will also move every 3 to 12 months so the shelters need to be mostly off-grid. Sawhorse Revolution has already built a few portable, small shelters using recycled materials. These include salvaged aluminum panels for the roof, disused street signs for the façade, reused windows, and a "slab" made of industrial plastic pallets. They hope to build six more housing units using tensile or folding materials, since the homes are designed to be collapsible and easy to move. One of their goals is to also add a solar-powered charging station, a community cooking space and latrines equipped with composting toilets.

kitchen

latrine

shelter1

The interior of the homes will be quite cozy, with a lofted bed walled off from the rest of the home for privacy, ample storage, large windows to let in plenty of light and offer good ventilation, as well as a lounging area with a window seat and lots of shelving.

shelter int

The shelters are to be designed and built by local high school students, who will be working under the supervision of architects, engineers and builders. This will give the teens real world skills and community service experience, which is also the main goal of the Sawhorse Revolution organization. The campaign is just shy of reaching it's funding goal with about 2 weeks left.

EIA predicts energy to 2040 with more a bit more oil, gas and renewables and moderate prices

Next Big Future
The Annual Energy Outlook 2015 (AEO2015), prepared by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), presents long-term annual projections of energy supply, demand, and prices through 2040. The projections, focused on U.S. energy markets, are based on results from EIA's National Energy Modeling System (NEMS). NEMS enables EIA to make projections under alternative, internally-consistent sets of assumptions, the results of which are presented as cases. The analysis in AEO2015 focuses on six cases: Reference case, Low and High Economic Growth cases, Low and High Oil Price cases, and High Oil and Gas Resource case.

• Through 2020, strong growth in domestic crude oil production from tight formations leads to a decline in net petroleum imports and growth in net petroleum product exports in all AEO2015 cases. In the High Oil and Gas Resource case, increased crude production before 2020 results in increased processed condensate exports. Slowing growth in domestic production after 2020 is offset by increased vehicle fuel economy standards that limit growth in domestic demand. The net import share of crude oil and petroleum products supplied falls from 33% of total supply in 2013 to 17% of total supply in 2040 in the Reference case. The United States becomes a net exporter of petroleum and other liquids after 2020 in the High Oil Price and High Oil and Gas Resource cases because of greater U.S. crude oil production.

• The United States transitions from being a modest net importer of natural gas to a net exporter by 2017. U.S. export growth continues after 2017, with net exports in 2040 ranging from 3.0 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) in the Low Oil Price case to 13.1 Tcf in the High Oil and Gas Resource case.

• Rising costs for electric power generation, transmission, and distribution, coupled with relatively slow growth of electricity demand, produce an 18% increase in the average retail price of electricity over the period from 2013 to 2040 in the AEO2015 Reference case. The AEO2015 cases do not include the proposed Clean Power Plan



Read more »

EIA predicts little change in US carbon emissions to 2040

Next Big Future
The US energy information administration has a prediction of energy production and usage to 2040.

Here is the predictions around electricity and renewables.



Read more »

EPA Mobile Lab Screens Austin Residents’ Soil (TX)

DALLAS – (April 15, 2015) Scientists from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) used a mobile lab facility to screen soil samples from Austin residences recently. Participants were able to bring soil from their garden or yard and have it assessed for heavy metals. Scientists from ... 
---- Please continue reading from: U.S. EPA News

Apr 15, 2015

EPA Holds National Sustainable Design Expo

U.S. EPA News, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Deputy Administrator Stan Meiburg will open the 11th Annual National Sustainable Design Expo Saturday morning in Alexandria, Va. The expo will host student teams from colleges and universities across the country who exhibit sustainable projects ... 

Windows vulnerability can compromise credentials

ComputerworldA vulnerability found in the late 1990s in Microsoft Windows can still be used to steal login credentials, according to a security advisory released Monday.

A researcher with security vendor Cylance, Brian Wallace, found a new way to exploit a flaw originally found in 1997. Wallace wrote on Monday the flaw affects any PC, tablet or server running Windows and could compromise as many as 31 software programs.

He wrote the flaw was not resolved long ago, but that "we hope that our research will compel Microsoft to reconsider the vulnerabilities."

The vulnerability, called Redirect to SMB, can be exploited if an attacker can intercept communications with a Web server using a man-in-the-middle attack.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Kitegen announces their 3 megawatt wind kite power system

Next Big FutureKiteGenVenture LLC announces the launch of the KiteGen Stem, a massive, 3 MW generator capable of providing affordable clean energy on a massive scale. Using large Power Kites, KiteGen's generators harnesses freely available kinetic energy from wind, and converts that energy into electricity that is accessible via the grid. Each KiteGen Stem Generator is capable of providing enough clean energy to support the energy needs of up to 10000 families. The energy KiteGen produces boasts no environmental impact, and zero CO2 emissions. KiteGen Stem does not need to be installed in especially windy areas - they can be installed and provide electricity anywhere clean energy is needed.f

Nextbigfuture has over a dozen Kitegen articles going back to 2006. Kitegen has been working on the 3MW system since about 2010.

Next steps​. KiteGen has finished designing and testing the Power Kites - all that remains is to identify where these generators can make the most impact, and to install them there. In an effort to make the greatest positive impact on our environment, KiteGen has partnered with like-minded nonprofits to help transform the world's energy use. They have committed to sharing revenue created from the first line of installed generators with these groups, which include Bridge for Good, which focuses on reforestation, Source International, which combats pollution, and Amnesty International, defender of human rights.

Highlights

* 3MW generator harnesses kinetic energy from the wind using Kites
* Harnessing, Converting, and Using Energy has no impact on environment, zero CO2 emissions
* Can be installed anywhere, provide energy for up to 10K families



The Campaign: ​KiteGen is running an Indiegogo campaign in support of the launch of their PowerKite Project. Backers can help make Power Kite technology a reality for as low as a $20 contribution. The campaign, which launches April 14, 2015, will run through June 13, 2015. Backers can expect to receive rewards by July 2015.

Read more »

Modified Salmonella eats away at cancer, without a side order of food poisoning

Gizmag : Though generally a bacteria we'd associate with a severe bout of food poisoning, previous research has suggested that Salmonella needn't always bring bad news and stomach cramps. Certain strains have been shown to kill off cancer cells, but to use them as a form of treatment for humans without inducing any nasty side effects has so far proven difficult. But now, researchers have developed genetically modified salmonella that turns toxic only after it enters a tumor... Continue Reading Modified Salmonella eats away at cancer, without a side order of food poisoning

Section: Medical 

Tags:  

Related Articles:

Apr 13, 2015

Seminar: Reducing Air Pollution Exposure in Passenger Vehicles and School Buses

Seminar: Reducing Air Pollution Exposure in Passenger Vehicles and School Buses

Presented by: Yifang Zhu, Ph.D., UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles

Tuesday, April 14, 2015, 1:00 p.m., PDT
Sierra Hearing Room, Second Floor, Cal EPA Headquarters, 1001 "I" Street, Sacramento, CA

WEBCAST
Webcast viewers: Please send your questions during broadcast to: sierrarm@calepa.ca.gov

Presentation
Research Project

Overview

Exposures to vehicle-emitted PM₂.₅, black carbon (BC), and ultrafine particles (UFPs), have been associated with adverse health effects. As a potential strategy to mitigate in-cabin exposure, we developed a novel high efficiency cabin air (HECA) filter for passenger vehicles and an on-board HECA filtration system for school buses.

Their performance was evaluated in 12 passenger vehicles and 6 school buses, respectively. UFP number concentration and size distribution as well as BC and PM₂.₅ levels were concurrently monitored inside and outside of each vehicle under three driving conditions: stationary, on local roadways, and on freeways. For passenger vehicles, data were collected with no filter, the in-use original equipment manufacturer (OEM) filter, and two prototypes of HECA filters (i.e., HECA A and B filters). For school buses, data were collected with and without operating the filtration system equipped with HECA B filters. For passenger vehicles, the HECA B filters offered in-cabin concentration reductions of 90 ± 8% for UFPs on average across all driving conditions, which is much higher than the reductions seen with (or achieved by) the OEM filters (50 ± 11% on average). Similarly, the HECA B filters offered an 81 ± 15% reduction for BC and 66 ± 28% for PM₂.₅ across all driving conditions. In comparison, across all driving conditions, the in-use OEM filters only provided 31 ± 17% and 29 ± 20% reduction for BC and PM₂.₅, respectively. For school buses, across all driving conditions, in-cabin UFP and BC levels were reduced by 88 ± 6% and 84 ± 5% on average, respectively, when the on-board HECA filtration system was operating. The application of this technology in passenger vehicles also kept in-cabin CO2 concentration below 1,000 ppm under outdoor air mode. In-cabin PM₂.₅ was also reduced from approximately 35 μg/m³ to 10 μg/m³.

This proof-of-concept study concludes that the HECA technology can significantly reduce human exposures to UFPs, BC, and PM₂.₅ in passenger vehicles and school buses. Practical application of the HECA filter, however, requires long-term evaluations under a broader range of vehicle models and driving conditions.

Speaker Biography

Yifang Zhu, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of the Environmental Health Sciences Department, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Dr. Zhu's research interest is primarily in the field of air pollution, environmental exposure assessment, and aerosol science and technology. Specifically, she is interested in quantitative exposure/risk assessments on ultrafine particles from various indoor and outdoor sources. Dr. Zhu's current research focuses on measuring and modeling ultrafine particle emissions, transport, and transformation on and near roadways as well as in various indoor environments. Dr. Zhu's scholarship and creativity has been recognized by several national awards, including the Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award from the Health Effects Institute in 2007, the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation in 2009, and the Haagen-Smit Prize from Atmosphere Environment in 2011. Dr. Zhu was appointed to the California Air Resource Board's Research Screening Committee in January 2014. Dr. Zhu received her Ph.D. in Environmental Health Sciences from UCLA in 2003.

Report: Chinese Government Plans To Put 3D Printers In All Elementary Schools

The Chinese government has a new plan to install a 3D printer in each of its approximately 400,000 elementary schools over the next two years. Education is probably one of the areas that will benefit the most from 3D printers in the long run. The problem though is getting the machines into the schools in the first place. With prices generally ranging from $400 to $3,000 for typical desktop 3D printers, they are not cheap, and with budgets within many school districts running dry, both in the United States and overseas, the unfortunate fact is that many schools simply can't afford them, not to mention the materials and time it takes to train teachers to use them.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apr 10, 2015

Another Electric Car Bites The Dust: Current Chevy Volt To Go The Way Of The Aztek Due To Plunging Sales

zero hedge - A week ago when observing the latest GM deliveries, we noticed something troubling:

Here is the unpleasant detail for a car that five years ago was among the biggest hopes for the recently bankrupt auto maker:

 

It was thus inevitable that the car which first went on sale in 2010 amid very high expectations, and whose lackluster sales of 70,000 to date, far below initial company forecasts amid low gasoline prices and the release of more capable electric models from competitors, was about to be mothballed. Today Reuters confirmed as much when it reported that GM will "halt production of the Chevrolet Volt electric car for the summer to whittle down about seven months of unsold inventory and smooth the way for the next generation of the plug-in hybrid sedan."

Production of the current model, which costs $34,000 and up before federal tax credits, will halt early next month, the Detroit auto maker has said. It will be replaced by a 2016 model with a sleeker design and up to 50 miles range on an electric charge. That second generation Volt will go into production at the end of the summer.

Alas, absent a surge in the price of gasoline back into the high $3 range, the prospects of this "upgrade" will hardly be any better.

From Reuters:

The production hiatus comes after a first quarter in which sales fell well behind Nissan Motor Co.'s Leaf electric car in the U.S. GM sold 1,874 Volts during the three-month period, equivalent to the number of Silverado pickups sold in a day, and in contrast to Nissan's 4,085 Leaf sales. Volt stocks are enough to last 210 days, or until November, at their March sales pace, according to researcher Autodata Corp. Car makers generally like to have about 60 days of inventory at dealers.

Reinvigorating consumer interest in the Volt, a car that has a battery and a small gasoline motor, is a top priority for GM as it prepares to release its fully-electric Bolt sedan, say analysts. Volt development consumed more than a billion dollars but has failed to generate a fraction of the buzz that Tesla Motors Inc. has with its pricier Model S luxury electric car or Toyota Motor Corp. with its Prius family.

According to Pam Fletcher, GM's chief electric-vehicle engineer, Chevrolet executives have kept in close contact with initial Volt buyers, polling them on issues spanning quality to performance to design. One key thing it learned, "People said they didn't want a science experiment," Ms. Fletcher said.

That's odd because the buyers of Tesla's own electric car have no problem with that particular science experiment. Then again, when it comes to electric cars, the Apple marketing scheme is far more applicable: the price should be higher, not lower, because a "science experiment" is acceptable as long as it also happens to be a status symbol, A very expensive one preferably, which is the primary reason why there is still any demand for Teslas around the globe.

That, however, has not dawned on GM's marketing department just yet, although there is hope: according to Reuters, the marketing plan for the next generation Volt is still coming together said Chevrolet Car Marketing Director Steve Majoros. GM plans to address the confusion around a battery-powered car that has a gasoline engine. Dealers will get "significant marketing support" for the 2016 model. "We will be out publicly and big," he added.

Brett Hedrick, owner of Hedrick's Chevrolet in Clovis, Calif., said he is in favor of greater support from GM for Volt sales, but said electric cars won't catch on until they make financial sense. When gas prices went down consumers weren't "as conscious about conserving," he said. 

Mr. Hedrick said his current challenge is selling the Volt inventory on his lot before the new model arrives—something he hopes GM will support.

Chelsea Sexton, a Los Angeles-based electric car advocate, said while GM made a lot of waves when it first launched Volt, it lost soon ground to other auto makers who released fully electric vehicles.

She said GM lately has reached out less often to enthusiasts, noting talks with herself and others "have largely fallen off…as those conversations fall off, it's hard to tell where they stand in the long term."

Dealers say GM has to regain mind share in electric cars. "We just don't have presence in the space currently," said Jamaal McCoy, general manager of Findlay Chevrolet in Las Vegas. "When someone thinks of an electric vehicle they don't think of Chevrolet; they think Toyota or Tesla."

... For now. Because Tesla's electric "supremacy" days may well be numbered with the arrival of the BMW i8 and other ultra high-end competition. Because when it comes to novelty electric cars which despite the best intentions and efforts of their makers simply refuse to become mainstream, one has to differentiate in other ways. For Tesla that something is appealing to the buyer's vanity and desire to show off their wallet. However, that success of such a strategy is limited as the recent drop in Tesla sales in China is confirming.

As for the current iteration of Chevy Volt, it has finally met its fate on the recycling lot, which as many had predicted long ago, will be right next to that other GM "shock and awe" concept: the infamous Pontiac Aztek.


Apr 9, 2015

Nation’s first federal combined solar power purchase launched by EPA, Forest Service, Energy Department and GSA (CA, NV)

U.S. EPA News – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Forest Service, Department of Energy and General Services Administration announced the first ever federal partnership to purchase solar power. This action follows President Obama's order last month requiring federal agencies to cut their... 

Apr 8, 2015

OSHA Updates Workplace Violence Guidance for Protecting Healthcare and Social Service Workers

Environmental & Safety Law UpdateIn its announcement last week, OSHA noted that the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported for 2013 that over 23,000 significant injuries were due to violent assault at work, with more than seventy percent of these assaults being in the healthcare and social service settings.

OSHA concluded that healthcare and social service workers are almost "four times as likely to be injured as a result of violence than the average private sector worker." To bring a reduction to this risk, OSHA has just released an update to its Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers. The Guidelines include what OSHA believes to be "industry best practices," and provides direction on ways to reduce the risk of violence in various healthcare and social service settings.

These revised Guidelines, that update and broaden the reach of OSHA's previous 1996 and 2004 Guidelines, incorporate "research in the last decade into the causes of workplace violence on healthcare and social service settings, risk factors that accompany working with patients or clients who display violent behavior, and the appropriate preventive measures that can be taken, amid the variety of settings in which health care and social service employees work."

Importantly for employers in these industries is that the Guidelines also stress the importance of developing a written workplace violence prevention program. The Guidelines require that a workplace program should include management commitment and employee participation, worksite analysis, hazard prevention and control, safety and health training, and recordkeeping and program evaluation.

Please continue reading from: Brent I. ClarkJames L. CurtisMark A. LiesMeagan Newman, and Craig B. Simonsen

Apr 7, 2015

America's Poor Spend 60% Of Their Income On Food & Housing Proving CPI Is Meaningless

From WSJ:

For many Americans, the rise in food and housing prices is a tough squeeze. That’s because—even in an era with low overall inflation—low-income Americans spend a disproportionate share of their money on food and housing.

 

New data from the Labor Department show the extent of the discrepancy. The bottom 10% of Americans, by income, devote 42% of their spending to housing and an additional 17% to food–nearly 60% of their total spending, according to the Consumer Expenditures Survey. By contrast, the wealthiest 10% of Americans dedicate only 31% of their spending to housing and 11% to food–closer to 40% of total spending…

 

This underscores one reason that inflation feels different household to household: People spend their money in such different ways. A parent with children in college or daycare might scoff at the notion that inflation has been low for the last five years. Conversely, someone with no car payment and no mortgage but who does a lot of driving may be feeling flush from the plunge in gas prices.

Yes, “different from household to household.” So what you’re saying is that if things like your child’s education actually have to be paid for with real wages, you may think differently about your economic circumstances than someone who has no mortgage and who “does a lot of driving” in a Bentley that was paid for in cash but which ends up sucking a lot of gas because its V-8 churns out 500 horsepower. Got it. And as it turns out, the poorest 10% of US households foolishly and habitually choose to spend 60% of their meager earnings on housing and food whereas the top 10% of earners apparently understand that, while necessary, putting a roof over one’s head and eating shouldn’t be allowed to take up too much of one’s earnings because if left unchecked, such expenditures can eat into resources that should by all rights be reserved for vacation home purchases.

 

Curiously, WSJ also notes that the poorer you are, the more you depend on the government and incredibly, it turns out that there’s a correlation between being rich and spending money:

The poorest 10% receive more public assistance than any other group. The second 10% receive more than half their income from Social Security and retirement programs. The third and fourth 10% also receive large shares of their income from retirement programs, suggesting that retirees make up a large share of the lower-middle part of the income distribution…

 

As consumers become wealthier, their spending patterns change, sometimes dramatically.

And while this certainly appears to paint a rather vivid picture of wealth inequality in America, WSJ does note that “the consumer expenditures survey is not perfect” — and neither is a system where the bottom rung of society spends 20% more of their vastly lower income on staying alive than the country’s elite.

Link and source from zerohedge

70% of People on Antidepressants Don't Have Depression: Study

globalresearch: If sales for antidepressants such as Zoloft, Lexapro, or Prozac tell us anything, it’s that depression is sweeping the nation. But a new study questions the validity of most of these sales. The study has found that the majority of individuals on antidepressants – a whopping 69% – do not even meet the criteria for clinical depression. These individuals are likely just experiencing normal sadness and hardships that most of us experience.

In addition to finding that nearly two-thirds of antidepressant-takers don’t meet criteria for depression, the researchers also note how 38% of those taking antidepressants for other psychiatric disorders do not meet the criteria. These include panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, social phobio, general anxiety, and a number of other arguably fabricated mental disorders.

The study, published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatryreads:

Objective: Past studies have shown that many individuals who use antidepressants have no current or lifetime history of mental disorders. However, recent studies suggest that the one-time retrospective evaluation of mental disorders commonly used in such studies may substantially underestimate the true lifetime prevalence of mental disorders. We examined the prevalence of mental disorders, assessed prospectively over multiple interviews, among individuals currently using antidepressants in a community sample.

Conclusions: Many individuals who are prescribed and use antidepressant medications may not have met criteria for mental disorders. Our data indicate that antidepressants are commonly used in the absence of clear evidence-based indications.”

Prescriptions for anti-depressants have skyrocketed over the past several decades.In 1998, 11.2 million Americans used these drugs. By 2010, it was 23.3 million.

A few years back, Harvard conducted a study to reiterate what many in the psych professionals already know – Americans are addicted to anti-depression meds. We collectively pop Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, Paxil, and Zoloft pills like they are candy in an attempt to boost mood and feel better. The increase in sales of anti-depressants is up a startling 400%. This pill-popping became the norm, even though clinical studies suggest there are numerous natural remedies that can help us feel better, without the pricey and life altering side-effects that many of these drugs can cause.

Unfortunately, we are fighting a partnership between the psychiatric community and doctors that exists in the background. An astonishing 70 percent of the panel members of psychiatric bible, known as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, reported having financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies. About 57 percent reported ties in the previous edition. This is just one reason pharmaceuticals are sweeping the nation.

Are radioactivity levels from Fukushima dangerous to British Columbians?

Famous last words.... 
After calling on the public to help gather samples, scientists at the Massachusetts-based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution says traces of radioactivity from the meltdown 2011 meltdown of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plan are showing up in B.C. waters.

But researchers says there is good news: the levels of radioactivity likely pose no threat.

“Radioactivity can be dangerous, and we should be carefully monitoring the oceans after what is certainly the largest accidental release of radioactive contaminants to the oceans in history,” said marine chemist Ken Buesseler. “However, the levels we detected in Ucluelet are extremely low.”

A sample collected on February 19 in Ucluelet, says Woods Hole, contained trace amounts of cesium (Cs) -134 and -137, which the institute says is “well below internationally established levels of concern to humans and marine life”.

Scientists from Woods Hole have gathered samples from more than 60 sites along the U.S. and Canadian coasts and say there is simply no cause for alarm.

“If someone were to swim for 6 hours a day every day of the year in water that contained levels of cesium twice as high as the Ucluelet sample, the radiation dose they would receive would still be more than one thousand times less than that of a single dental x-ray,” said a report from Woods Hole.

Please read full at: http://www.cantechletter.com/2015/04/is-radioactivity-from-fukushima-dangerous-to-british-columbians/