Friday, May 25, 2007

Breakthrough In Hydrogen Storage

If making hydrogen as you go from starch doesn't work, here's a new process that uses a Lithium hydride to store massive amounts of hydrogen.

UK stops reprocessing of nuclear fuel

Buried in a recent policy paper it looks like UK will build more nuclear power stations but will shut down its spent fuel reprocessing facility. After all there is a perfectly good French reprocessing facility just across the channel at La Hague.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Radiation can be good for you

If you are a certain kind of fungus, that is. A fungus found growing inside the Chernobyl vault turns out to use ionizing radiation as an energy source.

Another Hydrogen Possibility

In this one the real fuel is starch. Add the appropriate enzymes and you have a hydrogen-producing reaction. By-products are water and CO2.
Over the years, many substances have been proposed as "hydrogen carriers,"such as methanol, ethanol, hydrocarbons, or ammonia -- all of which require special storage and distribution. Also, the thermochemical reforming systems require high temperatures and are complicated and bulky. Starch, on the other hand, can be distributed by grocery stores, Zhang points out.

"So it is environmentally friendly, energy efficient, requires no special infrastructure, and is extremely safe. We have killed three birds with one stone,"he said. "We have hydrogen production with a mild reaction and low cost. We have hydrogen storage and transport in the form of starch or syrups. And no special infrastructure is needed."

"The next R&D step will be to increase reaction rates and reduce enzyme costs," Zhang said. "We envision that in the future we will drive vehicles powered by carbohydrate, or energy stored in solid carbohydrate form, with hydrogen production from carbohydrate and water, and electricity production via hydrogen-fuel cells.

"What is more important, the energy conversion efficiency from the sugar-hydrogen-fuel cell system is extremely high -- greater than three times higher than a sugar-ethanol-internal combustion engine,"Zhang said. "It means that if about 30 percent of transportation fuel can be replaced by ethanol from biomass as the DOE proposed, the same amount of biomass will be sufficient to provide 100 percent of vehicle transportation fuel through this technology."

In addition, the use of carbohydrates from biomass as transportation fuels will produce zero net carbon dioxide emissions and bring benefits to national energy security and the economy, Zhang said.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Josh in the news

My daughter's friend, Josh Blue, gets a nice mention in this NYT article about the unabashedly disabled.
“My right arm does a lot of crazy stuff. Like the other day, I thought someone had stolen my wallet.”

Why we are losing Iraq

Retired Army General John Batiste speaks out on the fatal mismanagement of the war that has cost us Iraq.
“There was never enough. There was never a reserve,” he said. “Again and again, we had to move troops by as many as 200 miles out of our area of operations to support another sector. We would pull troops out of contact with the enemy and move them into contact with the enemy somewhere else. The minute we’d leave, the insurgents would pick up on that, and kill everybody who had been friendly.”
You can't truly win hearts and minds when they know you aren't going to be there long enough to truly pacify the country. This raises the question whether this war was ever truly winnable from day 1. But even if it was it is clear that the actual way it was handled has turn it into a defeat.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

What you don't hear about families today

But it's true.
Did you know:

* That married parents, mothers and especially fathers, spend more time interacting with their children today than they did in 1965, when stay-at-home moms were far more common? Single moms spend less time than married ones, but more than married ones did back in 1965.

* That during the 1990s youth crime levels fell to their lowest rate since 1966, and by 2004, violent crime in schools was one-third less than the 1991 peak rate?

* That most European countries, such as Germany, are much more approving of teen sex than Americans, but have lower rates of teen pregnancy, abortion, and sexually-transmitted diseases?

* That married women and men are LESS likely to visit, call, and offer practical help to neighbors, parents, and other relatives than are the unmarried?

* That gay and lesbian couples use more affection and humor than heterosexual couples when they bring up a disagreement, and partners are more positive in how they receive it? However, gay men need to be especially careful to avoid negativity in conflict.

* That men are more likely to report work-life conflict than women?

Colleagues Cite Partisan Focus by Justice Official

You have to give the Bushies this. When they set out to screw things up they do it with passion and complete dedication. They have no sense of what quality work really is so they don't value it. Conservative loyalty is all that matters. As a result almost the Justice Department has been hosed from the top to the bottom.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Oral sex can cause throat cancer

It's that pesky HPV again. It' seems like just as the human papillomavirus can cause cervical cancer it can also cause throat cancer. So, guys, it's time to line up for your shots also.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

So Sad

This is just Whack!
She had raised her daughter for six years following the divorce, handled the shuttling to soccer practice and cheerleading, made sure schoolwork was done. Hardly a day went by when the two weren't together. Then Lt. Eva Crouch was mobilized with the Kentucky National Guard, and Sara went to stay with Dad.

A year and a half later, her assignment up, Crouch pulled into her driveway with one thing in mind _ bringing home the little girl who shared her smile and blue eyes. She dialed her ex and said she'd be there the next day to pick Sara up, but his response sent her reeling.

"Not without a court order you won't."

Within a month, a judge would decide that Sara should stay with her dad. It was, he said, in "the best interests of the child."

What happened? Crouch was the legal residential caretaker; this was only supposed to be temporary. What had changed? She wasn't a drug addict, or an alcoholic, or an abusive mother.

Her only misstep, it seems, was answering the call to serve her country.