Thursday, December 30, 2004

TRN's Top Picks: Technology Research Advances of 2004

From slashdot, this article on the top science and engineering advances of 2004:
TRN's Top Picks: Technology Research Advances of 2004:
Lots of cool stuff, including:

The burgeoning field of nanotechnology -- the quest to build devices and materials from infinitesimal metal and semiconductor particles and even individual molecules -- continued its fast pace this year.

A pair of significant developments each had researchers taking DNA for a walk. Scientists at Duke University and the University of Oxford in England put together a series of DNA stations that can automatically pass a DNA fragment from one to the next. California Institute of Technology researchers improved the gate of a bipedal DNA walker originally designed by researchers at New York University from shuffling, with one leg always trailing the other, to leg-over-leg walking.

Nanotubes continue to be a promising nanotech building block. Researchers from the Japanese National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) found a relatively simple way to manufacture tall, dense, vertically-aligned stands of pure nanotubes. Nanotubes produced using the method are orderly and pure enough for use in medical implants as well as electronics. "

The Energy stories are really intriguing and I hadn't heard of half of these.

Energy research ranges from finding ways to power microscopic machines to developing renewable energy sources for global consumption. Many research teams are working on solar and hydrogen energy systems, and there have been several significant developments this year.
Scientists from Toin University of Yokohama in Japan built a single, compact device that converts solar energy to electricity and also stores the electricity. This is an improvement from today's combination of solar energy devices that harvest the energy from light and batteries that store the energy. The device is also relatively efficient at harvesting ambient light; it could eventually allow people to recharge cell phones, for instance, using indoor light.
Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers found a way to double a solar cell's potential energy production by using the energy of a single photon to move two electrons rather than just one, and researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the University of California, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineered a single material that is capable of capturing more than 50 percent of the sun's energy from across the solar spectrum.
On the fuel cell front, University of Wisconsin at Madison researchers found a way to use carbon monoxide, a fuel cell waste product that ordinarily degrades cells, to produce more energy. Researchers from the University of Minnesota and the University of Patras in Greece devised a way to extract hydrogen directly from ethanol, which is produced by converting biomass like cornstarch to sugar, then fermenting the sugar.

Euro Trash - Even drug dealers are giving up on the dollar.

After reading this slate article, I wonder if the US will start making $500 and $1000 bills again:

Euro Trash - Even drug dealers are giving up on the dollar. By Daniel Gross

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

MORE NEWS Most Popular
• Tsunami death toll by country | Thailand toll increases
• Hundreds of Americans believed missing
• Tsunami aid effort gathers speed | List | How to help
• Survivors face disease threat | Tsunami Special Report
• Stingy Americans?: U.N. comment hits nerve
• Scientists: Quake shifted tectonic plates
• Swimsuit model survives tsunami
• Tsunamis shatter celebrity holidays

Glad that swimsuit model is ok, but it seems other celeb holidays have been shattered. Bummer.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Putin hints at China alliance for Yukos oil / Home UK - Putin hints at China alliance for Yukos oil
updated: working link:
Putin hints at China alliance for Yukos oil

Also, check out this nytimes article about how China is going after Alberta oil sands.

China in Line as U.S. Rival for Canada Oil

updated, working link:
LP: China in Line as U.S. Rival for Canada Oil

Quiz: Art or Crap

Here's a fun little art quiz. Pretty easy for anybody that's ever read Janson's or Gardner's.

Quiz: Art or Crap

Monday, December 20, 2004

Basic Choices and Constraints on Long-Term Energy Supplies

While I think the following article is a little too optimistic about fossil fuel reserves, it is overall a good summation of a lot of key points. Physics Today July 2004- Basic Choices and Constraints on Long-Term Energy Supplies

There's also an article in this month's issue about Tranforming the Electric Infrastructure, but I haven't had a chance to check it out yet.

Friday, December 17, 2004

The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies

This book, The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies, makes for a great stocking stuffer and read. The reviews on amazon are pretty good too. Heinberg does slide over some things that his hippy nature is sure to loathe, like nuclear fission power for one. But, overall, it makes for a great introduction to looking at human civilization from an ecological and thermodynamic point of view. e.g. he rarely mentions oil in the first 50 or so pages of this book, instead he methodically lays down all the important concepts like carrying capacity, the laws of thermodynamics, etc. Heinberg is also in The End Of Suburbia, which is a pretty interesting documentary.

Check 'em out!

A book that Heinberg mentions that I'd really like to read now is The Collapse of Complex Societies (New Studies in Archaeology) by Tainter et al. Anybody read this?

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Another Random Post With Absolutely No Redeeming Value

I love seeing the random searches that lead to this page. Petrolium [sic], tommy westphal mind, snoop dog sayings, ratherisms. Those last two have a lot in common actually.

Last 20 Unique Search Engine Queries
Time Search Engine Query
12/15/04 @ 09:24am Yahoo: snoop dog sayings
12/15/04 @ 09:23am Yahoo: snoop dog sayings
12/13/04 @ 01:37pm Google: tommy westphal mind
12/11/04 @ 08:02pm Google: nanothoughts
12/10/04 @ 10:46am Alltheweb: kath bloom come here mp3
12/08/04 @ 05:58am Alltheweb: kath bloom come here mp3
12/06/04 @ 10:06pm Google: opinions take a ride to exurbia
12/05/04 @ 12:06pm Yahoo: take a ride to exurbia
12/04/04 @ 01:05am Msn: liquid petrolium gas
12/02/04 @ 03:29am Yahoo: heatkernel
11/30/04 @ 02:37pm Google: ratherisms
11/28/04 @ 10:50pm Google: homicide life on the street tv theme songs
11/26/04 @ 10:30pm Yahoo: dan rather 2004 election video ratherisms
11/26/04 @ 08:03am Google: clevernothing
11/25/04 @ 01:10pm Alltheweb: download dan ratherisms
11/19/04 @ 10:51am Google: snoop dog like a dog without a bone
11/18/04 @ 12:45am Google: life is a rock %2b mp3
11/16/04 @ 02:47pm Google: plastic operator folder
11/15/04 @ 12:55pm Google: life is a rock mp3
11/14/04 @ 06:51pm Google: life is a rock mp3

Piled Higher and Deeper

I haven't posted in about a month. Here's partly why: Piled Higher and Deeper

Although my weekly meetings are on wednesdays and not thursdays.