Sunday, October 29, 2006

Google Mars

Google Mars

You just have to love Google. Click above to link to Google Mars. The maps are going to only get better now that the latest U.S. craft orbiting Mars, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. This is a picture taken shortly after the craft entered into it's final orbit after months of aerobraking. The picture above is the Valles Marineris. This is the Grand Canyon of Mars, at time miles deep and stretching thousands of miles long.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Strange Stuff!

Okay, gang! What is on for today? First, Duke University scientists, in conjucntion with a College of London physicist, John Pendry, announced the development of a "cloaking device" . Technically, they used negative-index-of-refraction metamaterials. See the EE Times article and this Blogs earlier notation "Cloaking Break through" about this fun stuff.

Also, click below to read about the Halloween postcard from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope showing a worm-like structure. Very interesting! JPL.NASA.GOV: Feature Stories

Okay, so you want more odd stuff? Earlier this year, in February, there was a conference in New Mexico of the Space Technology & Applications International Forum (STAIF). As reported by, there were discussions of the possiblity of faster than light travel using an Alcubierre warp drive using a rotating superconductor. See the article here and read about Mexican scientists warp drive proposal in an earlier post below.

Read about the upcoming decision to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. The previous NASA director made a bad decision to sacrifice Hubble after the last Shuttle disaster. There was a fear of more problems in orbit that would not allow an emergency docking with the ISS. A flight would allowan already built Cosmic Origins Spectrograph and the Wide Field Camera 3 to be installed. The current NASA director, a phycist and engineer may well reverse the former director's crazy decision to sacrifice Hubble.

Speaking of the Cosmos, see The Physics of Extra-Terrestrial Civilizations by physicist Michio Kaku.

Friday, October 27, 2006

An Energy Decarbonization Roadmap

An Energy Decarbonization Roadmap

I heard about this on Science Update podcast. Sounds good, a mix of existing technologies. However, see entry below re nuclear. For a good list of Science podcasts, let me know.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Anything Into Oil: Technological savvy could turn 600 million tons of turkey guts and other waste into 4 billion barrels of light Texas crude each yea

Anything Into Oil: "Technological savvy could turn 600 million tons of turkey guts and other waste into 4 billion barrels of light Texas crude each year BRAD LEMLEY / Discover v.24, n.5, 1may03: 'Anything Into Oil'"

Okay, this process claims to use thermal de-polymerization to turn anything organic (that is, containing carbon) into fuel oil and related products. All U.S. agricultural waste could be turned into 4 billion barrels per year...the same amount imported annually.

This narrowly read blog concentrates, in part, on energy and environmental issues. It is your humble bloggers opinion that there is no one magic bullet to the energy/environment dilemma. Instead, a mix of technologies and yes, changes in our behavior, could go a long way to a solution.

One thing in this mix that I thought might work would be going back to nuclear power. Nukes kill very few people per year, but the crap from coal powered plants kills many thousands. Nukes claim to be green house gas neutral. The technology, now much improved, is backed by Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace. This impressed me until I heard a debate involving Mr. Moore and opponents on an Economist magazine podcast debate. The opponents point out the hidden costs that include the dangers and environmental consequences of uranium mining and transportation and the horrendous costs involved in de-commissioning nukes. Click here for a link to this issue.

If you read this blog, please begin a dialogue! I may be crazy, but I need to know that others besides those accidentally finding me in a search for the epigram to Dante's Inferno stop by.

Remember Back to the Future II? The DeLoren was modified so it was powered by Mr. Fusion, a device that turned garbage into fusion power. Click here for more info on that wonderful car!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What's done is done… or is it? - fundamentals - 28 September 2006 - New Scientist

New Scientist sets out to discover if the future can change the past - welcome to "retrocausality"

"Ever wish you could reach back in time and change the past? Maybe you'd like to take back an unfortunate voicemail message, or rephrase what you just said to your boss. Or perhaps you've even dreamed of tweaking the outcome of yesterday's lottery to make yourself the winner."

Read this for the description of a fascinating experiment.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Wired News: Space Geeks Vie for X Prize Cup

Wired News: Space Geeks Vie for X Prize Cup

Anousheh Ansari, recently returned from a trip to the International Space Station, attends an event in New Mexico to showcase the second annual X Prize cup. The X Prize, sponsored by her family, paid the first prize last year for Burt Rutan's sub orbital flight.

In tunneling physics, a decadesold paradox is resolved


In tunneling physics, a decades old paradox is resolved: "As if the concept of quantum tunneling—where atoms pass through barriers—isn't confusing enough, one of the vexing questions within that area of physics is why particles seem to travel faster than the speed of light when passing through a barrier, but not when they travel through empty space."

And While we are at it, see the text of the speech by Michael Crichton, "Aliens Cause Global Warming".

Monday, October 16, 2006

Northwest Energy News + Analysis: Current Innovation: Making waves

Nouvelle Vague in tidal power!

Older projects in places like the French Atlantic coast have tried to take advantage of large tidal differences. This is a new method, much more efficient, to use buoys and the tide to create energy. Contrast this with the use of the temperature difference to create low pressure steam to electricity as practiced on the Big Island of Hawaii. See the National Energy Lab of Hawaii Authority

Northwest Energy News + Analysis: Current Innovation: Making waves

Office of Sustainable Development

I live in Portland, Oregon. Portland is in the forefront of microbrews, designer coffee drinks and sustainable development. Below is the statement of a City Commissioner about the Portland Office of Sustainable Development. Click on the link for an interesting web page.

Office of Sustainable Development

I established the Office of Sustainable Development because it is vital that we, as a community, advance the principles of sustainability to enhance our quality of life. Sustainability is synonymous with integrating ecology, economics, and social justice. Sustainability means thinking about our behavior in a bigger context and recognizing that our choices have a profound effect on our future. Please join us in working for a better future, and a better now.
Dan Saltzman
Portland City Commissioner

Venturi AstroLab: Solar/Electric Hybrid

Venturi AstroLab: Solar/Electric Hybrid

Back to energy issues and odd science! This is a link to the first commercially available electric-solar hybrid vehicle, The Astrolab

More MacNeill Nonsense to come!