27 Nov 2014

Australian scientists are developing wind turbines that are one-third the price and 1,000 times more efficient than anything currently on the market to install along the country's windy and abundant coast.

New superconductor-powered wind turbines could be installed off the coast of Australia within the next five years to finally take advantage of the country’s 35,000 km of coastline, which offers up some of the best wind resources in the world.
Developed by a team at the Institute for Superconducting and Electronic Materials at the University of Wollongong in New South Wales, the wind turbines are a significant improvement on current technology. Right now, wind turbines cost about $15 million each to construct, and are super-heavy and tough to ship. They also require a whole lot of maintenance because they're run using a complex, heavy, and costly piece of machinery called a gear box.
“In our design there is no gear box, which right away reduces the size and weight by 40 percent,” said lead researcher and materials scientist Shahriar Hossain. “We are developing a magnesium diboride superconducting coil to replace the gear box. This will capture the wind energy and convert it into electricity without any power loss, and will reduce manufacturing and maintenance costs by two thirds.”
Superconductors are a class of materials that have been getting a lot of attention this year due to their potential to completely revolutionise power systems and batteries as we know them. Right now, these systems generate power by running an electric current through a copper conduction loop, but during this process up to 10 percent of the energy is lost due to resistance. This, and the fact that the copper wire decays quickly, means our current power systems are relatively inefficient with short lifespans.
But superconducting materials generate no electrical resistance, which means they're able to store electricity with no loss of energy. The current is also able to circulate over and over indefinitely, even if power is turned off. The Australian team is making their superconducting coil out of magnesium and boron, both of which are cheap, durable and easy to make. 
The team estimates that their superconductor wind turbines will cost just $3-5 million each to build, because by next year, the magnesium diboride coil will cost just $1 per metre to manufacture.

One Woman Rescues 3,000 Babies From Abortion

While Rio has been at the center of the world stage, hosting World Youth Day, World Cup Soccer, and the Summer Olympics in 2016, one woman has quietly saved over 3,000 children slated for abortion in its poorest slums.
It started simply enough. Twenty-three years ago, Doris Hipolito had a comfortable life as a history and geography teacher and counselor teaching second to eighth graders in Rio de Janeiro. The principal of her school asked her to help some of the girls who where suffering from the aftermath of abortion. Hipolito gathered some pro-life materials to help the girls and passed them out among fellow parishioners. She then felt the tug to start praying the rosary in a public square on the 13th of every month while also passing out pro-life pamphlets. With support from Bishop Werner Siebembrok and the Legion of Mary, Hipolito’s small group started assisting women in Rio’s favelas (slums) who felt they had no other alternative than abortion.
Although abortion is illegal in most cases in Brazil, there are still “clinics” where they are performed illegally in Baixada Fluminense, a socially abandoned part of Rio with a population of 3 million. Less clinic and more of a “spiritual house” – something akin to voodoo– many of the aborted babies are fed to dogs and snakes. 
Hipolito stands at the doors of these “clinics” trying to convince these mothers – many of whom have drug addictions and/or intense pressure by others to abort – to keep their babies, while offering support to continue the pregnancy and turn their lives around.

Eight years ago, Hipolito took the courageous step with the support of her family, to quit her job and work for these desperate women full time. Then in 2007, she encountered a homeless pregnant woman living under an overpass who was physically and mentally disabled. Hipolito rented a small house to take care of her. Then another pregnant woman in need came. Then another, and another. Hipolito finally established a formal home: Casa de Amparo PrĂ³ – Vida or the House of Assistance.
In addition to having a safe and nurturing place for these women and their children, Hipolito helped establish pro-life centers at local churches for pregnant women to get assistance. Both through these centers and the House of Protection, a pregnant woman can find professional training, medical care, and a place to work where she can live her life with dignity and meet the needs of her baby.
Many of the women Hipolito has helped have become volunteers to her work. The daughter of one woman who she helped twenty years ago now volunteers to help other women.
Political pressure is mounting in Brazil for abortion to be legalized. Feminist groups are working to defeat Hipolito’s pro-life work. She has received threatening phone calls and even death threats. One woman, a local prosecutor, came to inspect the House of Assistance, and upon seeing the photos of the children who were saved from abortion, exclaimed, “This House should never have existed!”
Today, Hipolito and her family rely upon Providence to provide for their needs and the needs of all who are cared for at the House of Assistance. She hopes to expand the house and land has been donated for her to do so, but the project has been stalled because of a lack of funds. Even in their poverty, Hipolito has already seen the lives of 160 children saved from illegal abortions this year alone.

Despite the difficulties, Hipolito stays afloat through the hope she sees in the faces of the children she has pictured on her wall. And when things get very difficult, she recites to herself: “The powerful can give me power, but the babies can give me Paradise.”

Scientist 'terrified' of own tech - A leading scientist investigating geoengineering solutions to climate change has admitted he is "terrified" of his own technology.

A leading scientist investigating geoengineering solutions to climate change has admitted he is "terrified" of his own technology.
But Dr Matthew Watson believes if nothing can be done to turn the tide of global warming the human race may be forced to risk interfering with nature on a planetary scale.
Dr Watson, principal investigator for the Spice project which is looking at ways of simulating the cooling effects of volcanoes, said: "Personally, this stuff terrifies me.
"I'm easily terrified. I think if we ever deploy SRM (Solar Radiation Management) it will be the closest indication yet that we've failed as planetary stewards.
"I believe that. It's a watershed for our relationship with the Earth and with nature. It fundamentally changes the way seven billion people are going to interact with the world, and I'm not sure the system is going to be controllable in the way we want."
SRM envisages using water droplets or sulphur particles to reduce the amount of radiation from the Sun reaching the Earth, mimicking what happens after major volcanic eruptions.
An early Spice experiment, one of the first to move geoengineering technology out of the laboratory, was cancelled in May amid controversy over alleged conflicts of interest.
The trial would have used a weather balloon to inject 150 litres of piped water into the atmosphere.
Scientists are still in the process of uncovering the potential hazards of geoengineering to counteract climate change.
One of the biggest risks is disrupting the delicate balance of land and sea weather influences, resulting in drought and extreme rainfall in different parts of the world.
Another danger specifically linked to sulphur particles is the destruction of atmospheric ozone, a vital barrier to harmful solar radiation that can trigger skin cancer and have damaging effects on plants and animals.
Dr Watson, a reader in natural hazards from the University of Bristol, does not expect to see such technology deployed in this decade, but believes the day may come when it cannot be avoided.
"Unless we're very wrong about climate change or quickly change our ways, at some point we're going to have to 'go outside'," he said.
He stressed that without drastic cuts in greenhouse emissions, global warming was on course to make the world 4C hotter by 2100. "That's going to have a profound effect on the planet," he added.
Dr Watson was speaking ahead of a meeting at the Royal Society in London where experts will be told the latest results from computer simulations of the effects of geoengineering.
Spice is one of three projects, together costing the taxpayer £5 million, which will be discussed.
Other potential solutions involve spraying sea salt into low clouds to make them brighter and more reflective, capturing and burying large amounts of carbon underground, raising levels of carbon-absorbing plankton in the oceans, and using shiny materials to increase the reflectivity of deserts.
The scientists agreed there could be no "quick fix" for global warming and priority should be given to reducing carbon emissions and adapting to the effects of climate change.

Almost 25% of cancer cases in the USA are linked to obesity, WHO report

Some half a million cases of cancer a year are due to people being overweight or obese, and the problem is particularly acute in North America, the World Health Organization's cancer research agency said on Wednesday.
In a study published in the journal The Lancet Oncology, the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said high body mass index (BMI) has now become a major cancer risk factor, responsible for some 3.6 percent, or 481,000, of new cancer cases in 2012.
"The number of cancers linked to obesity and overweight is expected to rise globally along with economic development," said Christopher Wild, IARC's director.
He said the findings underlined the importance of helping people maintain a healthy weight to reduce their risk of developing a wide range of cancers, and of helping developing countries avoid the problems currently faced by wealthier ones.
The IARC study found that, for now, North America has by far the worst cancer problem linked to weight, with some 111,000 obesity-related cancers diagnosed in 2012, accounting for 23 percent of global cancer cases linked to high BMI.
In Europe, obesity is to blame for around 6.5 percent of all new cancers a year, or around 65,000 cases.
While in most Asian countries the proportion of fat-related cancers is smaller, it still translates into tens of thousands of cases because populations are so large, IARC said.
In China, for example, about 50,000 cancer cases are associated with being too fat, accounting for 1.6 percent of new cancer cases.
In Africa, on the other hand, obesity is to blame for only 1.5 percent of cancers.

Having a high BMI -- a person's weight in kilograms divided by the square of their height in metres -- increases the risk of developing cancers of the oesophagus, colon, rectum, kidney, pancreas, gallbladder, postmenopausal breast, ovary and endometrium. A BMI score of 25 or more is classed as overweight, while 30 or more is obese.

Black residents protect white-owned store in Ferguson during a major riot.

Since looting first erupted following the August police shooting of black teenager Michael Brown, nearly all the businesses in a two-square-mile area of this St. Louis suburb have had to board up. All except one — a Conoco gas station and convenience store.
At least a dozen stores have been set ablaze and others looted in Ferguson in racially charged riots since a grand jury on Monday cleared white policeman Darren Wilson in the shooting, which has torn apart this predominantly black Missouri city.
The unrest surrounding Brown’s death has underscored the often-tense nature of U.S. race relations. But the gas station has stood out as a beacon, literally and figuratively, as nightfall has descended and chaos has reigned around it.
On Tuesday night, as police and soldiers took up positions in the parking lots of virtually every strip mall and big box store around it, the forecourt of the brightly lit gas station was busy with customers.
One, a 6-foot-8-inches man named Derrick Jordan — “Stretch,” as friends call him — whisked an AR-15 assault rifle out from a pickup truck parked near the entrance.
Jordan, 37, was one of four black Ferguson residents who spent Tuesday night planted in front of the store, pistols tucked into their waistbands, waiting to ward off looters or catch shoplifters.
Jordan and the others guarding the gas station are all black. The station’s owner is white.
Ferguson has seen a stark demographic shift in recent decades, going from all white to mostly black. About two-thirds of the town’s 21,000-strong population are black. By some accounts, the Brown shooting has heightened racial tensions in the city. But not at the gas station.
“We would have been burned to the ground many times over if it weren’t for them,” said gas station owner Doug Merello, whose father first bought it in 1984.
Merello said he feels deep ties to Ferguson, and if the loyalty of some of his regular customers is any indication, the feeling is mutual.
At times, Jordan and his friends were joined on Tuesday night by other men from the neighborhood, also armed. None of the men was getting paid to be there. They said they felt they owed it to Merello, who has employed many of them over the years and treats them with respect.
“He’s a nice dude, he’s helped us a lot,” said a 29-year-old who identified himself as R.J. He said he, like the other volunteers, had lived a short distance away from the store for most of his life.
He carried a Taurus 9mm pistol in his sweatpants and drew it out to show another customer, an older man at a pump who was brandishing a MAC-10 machine pistol.
Missouri allows the open carrying of firearms. State lawmakers recently passed a law overriding any local ordinance that banned the open carry of firearms by people who have concealed-weapons permits.
R.J. said on Monday they chased away several groups of teenagers rampaging through the area.

A Modern Treehouse That Is a Sanctuary in the Sky (13 pics)

This tree house djuren is in Gross Ippener in North Germany and is an awesome little hideaway for kids and adults alike.

This Is the Epitome of a Bad Day (37 pics)