Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Eye-popping bug photos

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
"The Quantum Factor" – Apr 10, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Galaxies, Universe, Intelligent design, Benevolent design, Aliens, Nikola Tesla (Quantum energy), Inter-Planetary Travel, DNA, Genes, Stem Cells, Cells, Rejuvenation, Shift of Human Consciousness, Spontaneous Remission, Religion, Dictators, Africa, China, Nuclear Power, Sustainable Development, Animals, Global Unity.. etc.) - (Text Version)

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

(Live Kryon Channelings was given 7 times within the United Nations building.)

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“… 4 - Energy (again)

The natural resources of the planet are finite and will not support the continuation of what you've been doing. We've been saying this for a decade. Watch for increased science and increased funding for alternate ways of creating electricity (finally). Watch for the very companies who have the most to lose being the ones who fund it. It is the beginning of a full realization that a change of thinking is at hand. You can take things from Gaia that are energy, instead of physical resources. We speak yet again about geothermal, about tidal, about wind. Again, we plead with you not to over-engineer this. For one of the things that Human Beings do in a technological age is to over-engineer simple things. Look at nuclear - the most over-engineered and expensive steam engine in existence!

Your current ideas of capturing energy from tidal and wave motion don't have to be technical marvels. Think paddle wheel on a pier with waves, which will create energy in both directions [waves coming and going] tied to a generator that can power dozens of neighborhoods, not full cities. Think simple and decentralize the idea of utilities. The same goes for wind and geothermal. Think of utilities for groups of homes in a cluster. You won't have a grid failure if there is no grid. This is the way of the future, and you'll be more inclined to have it sooner than later if you do this, and it won't cost as much….”

"Fast-Tracking" - Feb 8, 2014 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Reference to Fukushima / H-bomb nuclear pollution and a warning about nuclear > 20 Min)

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change
In a bid to combat climate change, US President Barack Obama announced the Clean Power Plan on Monday, marking the first time power plants have been targeted by mandatory regulations on carbon dioxide emissions in the US.
Google: Earthday 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013

LUX results: Dark matter hunt nears final phase

BBC News, Rebecca Morelle, Science reporter, 30 October 2013

The first results show LUX is the most sensitive detector in the world

Related Stories 

Scientists could be nearing the final phase of the search for dark matter: the enigmatic substance thought to make up a quarter of our Universe.

The first results from a particle detector called LUX show it is the most powerful experiment of its kind.

It did not detect any dark matter during its first run, but scientists say it is poised to probe deeper than ever before during its second in 2014.

It has also ruled out earlier hints of dark matter shown by other experiments.

Dr Chamkaur Ghag, a collaborator on the LUX experiment from University College London, said: "If the dark matter is out there and if it interacts the way we think it does we should really start seeing it now."

Not finding any direct evidence for dark matter particles would mean that physicists would have to "go back to the drawing board", he added.

Missing matter

Dark matter is thought to make up 27% of the Universe. But astronomers have only been able to infer its existence through the gravitational effects it has on visible matter in the Universe; no-one has ever directly detected it.

Most scientists believe that it takes the form of particles called Weakly Interacting Massive Particles, or WIMPs, and that millions of these are streaming through us every second without a trace.

There are three main ways that scientists are hunting for this elusive stuff.

One is to look in deep space, using detectors such as the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), to search for the debris that dark matter particles leave behind as they collide with each other.

Another method is with the Large Hadron Collider, where scientists are hoping to create dark matter as they smash particles together.

And the third is using detectors, installed underground, to try and detect the particles as they pass through the Earth. These experiments are set up to spot the very rare occasions when dark matter particles bump into regular matter.

The LUX (Large Underground Xenon) detector is located deep in a mine in the Sanford Underground Research Facility, US. Its first 90-day run took place earlier this year.

"What we've done in these first three months of operation is look at how well the detector is performing, and we're extremely pleased with what we're seeing," said Prof Richard Gaitskell, from Brown University in Rhode Island.

"This first run demonstrates a sensitivity that is better than any previous experiment looking to detect dark matter particles directly."

The experiment is located deep underground in a gold mine in South Dakota

During this period, the detector did not see any evidence of dark matter.

The team said that this absence also ruled out the possibility that other detectors, such as DAMA in Italy and the CDMS and CoGeNT experiments in the US, had seen glimpses of dark matter.

The researchers said because LUX was so sensitive, if these hints had been correct, then it would have seen dark matter particles too.

However, the scientists are hopeful that in the next 300-day run, which is scheduled to start in early 2014, LUX could be the first experiment to directly detect dark matter.

"This really really should be it. I personally hope we will have detected WIMPs within this decade," said Dr Ghag.

"We should know what a quarter of the Universe really is and LUX should be the one that finds it first."

Commenting on the LUX results, Prof Carlos Frenk from Durham University said: "In the last decade, there have been claims by different groups from around the world who say they have cracked the problem - and some of them have not been received by the community with overwhelming confidence. But in the last few years these claims have really come thick and fast from some very good groups - from some of the best experimentalists in the world.

"What LUX has done is brought some more order into the chaotic world of claims and counter claims. So when they say they rule out previous claims - one has to take them very seriously. But no doubt, more debate will ensue."

He said he was hopeful that LUX might find evidence of dark matter.

"I won't get the champagne out right now. But I will buy some and put it in the fridge."

Prof Anne Green from the University of Nottingham added: "LUX is a big step forward in the field of WIMP direct detection. It's really impressive that they've achieved world leading sensitivity with their first, short data taking run.

"LUX is complementary to indirect detection and collider experiments, such as AMS and the LHC. Because we don't know the exact properties of the WIMP, we don't know which type of experiment will see it first. And to be 100% sure we've detected dark matter we'll want to see consistent signals in different experiments."

If LUX fails to conclusively find dark matter, the team has another chance with an even larger and more sensitive experiment: LUX-ZEPLIN.

But if this cannot see any signs of the elusive particles, then it could be that physicists have got the concept of dark matter wrong and will have to come up with some new theories.

Related Articles:

"Recalibration of the Universe"– Jan 25, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) (Text Version)

“… The entire galaxy revolves as one plate, in a very counter-intuitive way. The stars and the constellations do not orbit within the rules of Newtonian physics that you are used to seeing all around you in your own solar system. For the stars and clusters in your galaxy, distance from the center does not matter. All the stars rotate as one. This is because the galaxy is entangled with the middle of itself. In that state, there is no time or distance. The change of consciousness on this planet has changed the center of the galaxy. This is because what happens here, dear one, is "known" by the center.

It's interesting to us what your reaction to all this is scientifically. You saw that the "creative event" of your Universe is missing some energy in order for it to have formed as it did. In addition, the unusual way the galaxy rotates, as I just stated, was also noted. So you have calculated that for all this to be in place, there has to be missing 3D matter, and you have given it a name - dark matter. How funny! Did you ever think that there could be a multidimensional effect going on that you now can observe and calculate - that has immense power, but can't be seen? It's not "matter" at all and it's not 3D. It's quantum energy.

Let me tell you something about physics. Yet again, I'll make it simple. Everything your scientists have seen in physics happens in pairs. At the moment, there are four laws of physics in your three-dimensional paradigm. They represent two pairs of energy types. Eventually, there will be six. At the center of your galaxy is what you call a black hole, but it is not a single thing. It is a duality. There is no such thing as "singularity". You might say it's one energy with two parts - a weak and a strong quantum force. And the strangest thing is it knows who you are. It is the creator engine. It's different in other galaxies than this one. It's unique.

The very physics of your galaxy is postured by what you do here. The astronomers can look into the cosmos and they will discover different physics in different galaxies. Could it be that there's something going on in the other galaxies like this one? I'm not going to answer that. 

“… By the way, what happens to the solar system when the magnetics shift? Now you start to see where astrology will begin to shift as well. There are those who will start to apply the quantum filter to astrology. It's happening now. What is your quantum sign? It's different than the three-dimensional sign. Oh, there'll come a day, dear ones, in science, where the scientists will be able to apply what I will call a quantum filter to alter what they see. This will be a filter developed for telescopes that involves a super-cooling of the filter itself. Astronomers will be able to look out into the cosmos and, for the first time, see quantum attributes.

The first thing they'll notice is two things in the center of the galaxy, not one. The next thing will be the colors around the Human Being. And science will start a whole new section called "The Study of the Human Auric Energy." All of these are coming.  …”

"The Quantum Factor" – Apr 10, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Galaxies, Universe, Intelligent design, Benevolent design, Aliens, Nikola Tesla (Quantum energy), Inter-Planetary Travel, DNA, Genes, Stem Cells, Cells, Rejuvenation, Shift of Human Consciousness, Spontaneous Remission, Religion, Dictators, Africa, China, Nuclear Power, Sustainable Development, Animals, Global Unity.. etc.) - (Text Version)

(Subjects: You are looking  at a Quantum event, clearing a filter - Portal pineal , Higher self to step forward and communicate to You, Still remains in 3D but exposure to multi dimensions, Evolution of humanity, Intent, Mayan Calendar, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, 26.000 Years, Milky Way, Nostradamus, 1987, Beginning to a New Time, Channellers/Teachers, Center of Galaxy – Black hole, Bridge of Swords, Pleiadians, Children, Inventions – The discoveries (e.g. : Airplanes - Medicines – Radio .. ): These new Discoveries were given all over the planet when Human consciousness was ready for it. New Inventions are coming, the timing depends on how the middle East problems are solved, Biology reaction of quantum energy; new radio of the future, seeing quantum energy, when it is revealed all science books will have to be rewritten, This will be an AHA moment – be possible to communicate with the rest of Galaxy, NASA, Church/Religion will be effected the most by these discoveries, The quantum discovery will see the grid, life, gardens and will redefine life, DNA (3 billion pieces) evolving piece DNA are chancing, Gaia/Humanity are linked, new instruments will start to reveal the DNA variance, Evolution revealed: Autistic children have born with the removal of their 3D structure in the brain, Gaia/Spirit are testing these quantum beings  (Evolved DNA), Universe central clock = Rifs,  Globally there will be only 5 currencies, Wars on earth will be declared barbaric, Middle East, Global Unity, .. etc.)

Wadden island Ameland to get the Netherlands' biggest solar farm, Wednesday 30 October 2013

The lighthouse of Ameland (ANP XTRA)
The Wadden Sea island of Ameland is to build the Netherlands' biggest solar energy farm as part of plans to make the island energy neutral by 2020.

The Wadden Sea fund has given the island a grant of €2.6m to help develop the solar farm, which will cover 10 hectares. The park will produce six megawatts of power - or 20% of the island's annual energy needs.

The farm will be located to the west of the island's airfield and construction will start in summer 2014.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Phonebloks: a phone that can be built like Lego

Phonebloks is a smartphone made up of separate parts that can be swapped and replaced like Lego so it lasts for ever and can be customized

A screenshot of Phoneblok's design featured in the video Photo: Dave Movies 

A smartphone with detachable parts that could last forever has been designed.

Phonebloks is a sustainable device that can be built like Lego and would allow users to replace its parts over time instead of buying new smartphones.

Dutch designer Dave Hakkens designed it after his favourite camera broke and he was advised to buy a new one as it was cheaper than replacing the broken part.

He has not yet built the phone but his concept has generated a lot of interest and he told the BBC: "Right now, I'm thinking about what would be the best next step.

Related Articles

"Would it be to build it myself, open-source, online - or partner up with companies and collaborators?

"Half of the world says it's possible, the other half says it's not possible. I don't think anyone really knows because no-one's really tried it."

The phone would have a replaceable screen and easily changeable "blocks" containing different elements such as the battery and chipset.

It would be easy to use so the average consumer could replace the parts themselves.

The project also has 959,233 supporters on its website and a video publicising it has had more than 16 million views on YouTube.

The video says: "Every day we throw away millions of electronic devices because they get old and worn out - but usually its only one of the components that causes the problem.

"Its simply because electronic devices are not designed to last."

The detachable blocks are connected to the base, and the pieces are attached by two small screws.

It allows the user to customise their phone, by upgrading their camera or attaching larger batteries or speakers depending on their needs.

Related Articles:

"The New Paradigm of Reality" Part I/II – Feb 12, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)  (Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Dictators, Global Unity,..... etc.)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fish bypasses for pumping stations are a success, Monday 28 October 2013

A new fish passage in the Strypse Wetering
 at Rockanje. Fish can now step climb to the
 higher water level here. (Arcadis)
Hundreds of purpose-built waterways which allow fish to bypass dams, pumping stations and sluices are proving a great success, Trouw reports on Monday.

As soon as the special routes are opened, migrating fish stream through in large numbers, Trouw says, quoting research by civil engineering bureau Arcadis.

Fish such as salmon, sturgeon and gudgeon had almost disappeared from the Netherlands' waterways because of a combination of measures to drain land and poor water quality.

But improved river quality, thanks to international agreements, has led to an increase in numbers, and fewer bottlenecks along popular migration routes.

A 2008 report indentified 2,600 obstacles, of which around half have now been bypassed, Trouw says.

Fighting hunger through sustainable farming

Deutsche Welle, 28 October 2013

Until now, many have believed that intensive farming is the answer to famine and malnutrition around the world. But now experts are challenging this idea, propagating quality and variety over quantity.

"Go outside and everywhere you'll see corn, corn and more corn," Hans Rudolf Herren, president of the Swiss-based Biovision Foundation and winner of the Right Livelihood Award, is getting worked up as he presents his take on the problem of famine around the world. "In Africa, in Brazil, in America you can drive for hundreds of kilometers and all you see is corn! It's used to make ethanol and animal feed. This is wrong!"

Around one third of global grain crops is used to feed farm animals and over 50 percent goes towards industrial production and energy generation. This leaves less than half for human consumption. And while this does not create big problems for residents of wealthy countries, around 800 million people in the developing world suffer from hunger, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

Aid supplies are not enough

The vision of fair global food distribution and greater access to cheaper nutrition in developing nations has been a key aspect of development policy agenda for many years now - just as the belief that famine is the result of unproductive agriculture.

"Especially in the US our theory has been, 'Hey, we simply need to support the farmers there! We produce food a lot more efficiently and cheaply than the people in developing countries,'" said Roger Thurow, an expert on global agriculture at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. African countries are expected to simply buy food when they need it, he explained - and in a famine it's a case of "we'll feed you."

Farming methods in developing countries
are often inefficient and outdated
But it is becoming increasingly clear that this approach is inadequate. Small farm owners - who in some African countries make up three-quarters of the population - have been turned into aid recipients by such policies. This, in turn, has produced underdeveloped agricultural systems in many of these countries. According to Thurow, even at the best of times their yields remain smaller than those of farmers in the developed world.

"They regularly lose up to 30 percent of their crops through bad storage - the methods they use are medieval," commented Thurow. "Vermin and rain can get in and destroy the contents within weeks. And if they want to sell a portion of their harvest, there are hardly any roads that allow for it to be transported safely to the market."

Better farming and better food

Thurow believes that the answer to the famine problem is not more food but better quality and greater variety of food. Although crop output has been increased in India, according to nutritionist Michael Krawinkel from the University ofGiessen in Germany, the country still has more undernourished people than most other countries on Earth. Meanwhile, Europe and the US, where agriculture is subsidized and food is cheap, are fighting a battle against diet-related afflictions such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. At the same time, another argument for producing better and more varied food is the impact on climate change on agriculture and waning resources.

Obesity rates are increasing in the West, including EU countries

"Eating enough isn't enough anymore," said Krawinkel. "We need a variety of vitamins and other nutrients to feel truly sated and keep the level of sugar and fat in the blood in a healthy balance."

He believes that instead of large-scale cultivation of individual plant types, a variety of plants and cultivation methods needs to be maintained.

"For example, three different heights of plants on a vegetable patch were common: vegetables on the ground, above them taller plants and above those a tree that provided shade and produced fruit," explained Krawinkel. "This variety protects the plants from natural threats and supports a balanced and appropriate diet."

This is why Hans Rudolf Herren is on a mission to make sustainable agriculture one of the goals of sustainable development, a concept which is currently being developed by a UN committee. In the end, however, it is people who need to make more informed choices when shopping for food, he pointed out.

"When shopping and selecting products, every person is free to say, 'I will buy this but not that,'" said Herren. "I still believe that the industry will adjust to what the consumers do."

Dutch firms try to turn fly larvae into useful protein using food waste, Sunday 27 October 2013

The experimental set-up where flies lay
their eggs on the trays. (Jean-Pierre Jans)
An experiment is underway in Amsterdam using fly larvae to turn food waste into useful animal protein, the Parool reported at the weekend.

The project is a joint venture between the city's waste-fired power station group AEB, engineering firm Jagran, animal feed maker Denkavit and waste processor Sita.

The partners have set up a laboratory next to AEB's power plants in the city's western harbour area to experiment with the larvae. They hope by feeding the larvae food waste they can produce ingredients for, say, cat and dog food, the Parool said.


The four partners will decide next year whether to go ahead with large-scale production. If successful, the project could also be a good way of stimulating people to separate their household waste, the partners say.

Fly larvae are rich in proteins and can form a useful part of efforts to solve world food shortages, the paper states. While humans may be reluctant to eat dried larvae, they could be eaten by animals.

‘It would be great if Amsterdam waste is turned into fly larvae, then to feed the larvae to Amsterdam chickens and then sell the chickens in Amsterdam,’ Walter Jansen of engineering group Jagran told the paper. ‘It would be the optimal circular economy.’

Sunday, October 27, 2013

US scientists plan exodus to China amid funding concerns

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2013-10-27

Chinese astronauts return to Earth on June 26 after completing a space mission
aboard the Shenzhou-10 spacecraft. (Photo/Xinhua)

American scientists are thinking of flocking to China to continue their research because of funding shortages back home, reports the Global Times, a tabloid under the auspices of the Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily.

According to a report from Forbes, one-fifth of American scientists have been planning to move overseas since March due to the risk of a government shutdown over the failure to enact legislation appropriating funds for the fiscal year 2014 — sparked by the controversy over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. One professor from George Mason University in Virginia even said that his laboratory could be shut down unless he moves it to China.

The feared US government shutdown eventually became a reality between Oct. 1 and Oct. 17, forcing 97% of the 18,000 staff at NASA to take leave from work and shut down the agency's website.

French newspaper Le Figaro reported that in the past 10 years, China's ambitious space program has been expanding while NASA's programs have been suspended or even canceled by the American government due to budget constraints. The article said it is clear that the US has not been prepared for China's leaps in aeronautics and can only defend its position by insisting that the Chinese are still significantly behind the Americans and Russians in terms of technical capabilities.

US military website Defense One said space is not only the final frontier but it may also be the new war front. US Space Times magazine notes, however, that China has very little actual flight experience, with only five manned space missions over the last 10 years.

Lu Jianing, deputy director of the Fast East Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, believes that for Chinese leaders, grabbing the lead in the space race is more about honor than gaining any real strategic or military advantage. For China, Lu said, it is about proving that a society with Chinese characteristics has the ability to come out on top in one of the most complex areas of competition. When China's space program finally surpasses the US and Russia is when a new world superpower will be born, he added.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Temple Grandin's story on overcoming autism in her mother's words

Temple Grandin is well known for her work regarding animal behavior in the livestock industry. She is also one of the most famous autistic activists in the world. Diagnosed at age 2, her mother Eustacia Cutler, who came to Kirksville recently as the keynote speaker at the 5th annual disABILITY Awareness Day, believes autism was always there, it just wasn't recognized.

Temple Grandin's Mother, Eustacia Cutler,
 talked to KTVO's Vanessa Alonso about
 how her daughter came over autism
 and how they are helping others.
"We called them retarded and we tucked them away in intuitions. We didn't know what it was neurologically. Temple when she was little she didn't speak she didn't play. I knew something was wrong. Temple has worked hard since the age of 2 and on to learn different things," Cutler said.

Cutler said life wasn't very easy for Grandin until she went to high school. At the school there was a farm with horses and it was there that Grandin discovered she had an interest in agriculture. At that same time, Grandin met a science teacher who gave her the inspiration to go to college and work in the ag industry. Cutler said that social interaction and friendship has helped Grandin come a long way.

"Looking back on Temple's life is all the people who helped her, who guided her, who supported her, and who taught me. We both had to learn along the road together. We're social creatures. We're dependent on each other to complete us," Cutler said.

Today, Grandin and her mother are now activists for the disorder that affects hundreds of children every year. They stand up for those families who need a voice.

"They need help and affection along the way. They can't do it alone. Nobody can do it alone," Cutler said.

Cutler also said no matter what we are and what we do, we never stop changing, growing, and learning.

"What is normal? Depends what you want to do. What makes character is experience because our genes change depending on external experience and external experience is us. We change all our life," Cutler said.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Scientists unveil energy-generating window

Google – AFP, 24 October 2013

Pedestrians walk through the financial district of Shanghai on October 16, 2013
(AFP/File, Peter Parks)

Paris — Scientists in China said Thursday they had designed a "smart" window that can both save and generate energy, and may ultimately reduce heating and cooling costs for buildings.

While allowing us to feel close to the outside world, windows cause heat to escape from buildings in winter and let the Sun's unwanted rays enter in summer.

This has sparked a quest for "smart" windows that can adapt to weather conditions outside.

Today's smart windows are limited to regulating light and heat from the sun, allowing a lot of potential energy to escape, study co-author Yanfeng Gao of the Chinese Academy of Sciences told AFP.

"The main innovation of this work is that it developed a concept smart window device for simultaneous generation and saving of energy."

Engineers have long battled to incorporate energy-generating solar cells into window panes without affecting their transparency.

Gao's team discovered that a material called vanadium oxide (VO2) can be used as a transparent coating to regulate infrared radiation from the Sun.

VO2 changes its properties based on temperature. Below a certain level it is insulating and lets through infrared light, while at another temperature it becomes reflective.

A window in which VO2 was used could regulate the amount of Sun energy entering a building, but also scatter light to solar cells the team had placed around their glass panels, where it was used to generate energy with which to light a lamp, for example.

"This smart window combines energy-saving and generation in one device, and offers potential to intelligently regulate and utilise solar radiation in an efficient manner," the study authors wrote in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.

Elon Musk: oil campaign against electric cars is like big tobacco lobbying

Tesla chief executive likens attacks on electric cars to campaigns of misinformation by big tobacco and climate sceptics

The Guardian, Adam Vaughan, Thursday 24 October 2013

Elon Musk in the new Tesla Model S high performance electric car in the
showroom at Westfield London. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

Attacks on electric cars by the oil industry are on a par with misinformation campaigns promoted by big tobacco companies and vested interests undermining climate science, according to Elon Musk, the serial entrepreneur who founded PayPal and the brains behind both the space exploration company SpaceX and the electric sports carmaker Tesla Motors. The oil giants, he reckons, are attempting to sow the seeds of doubt.

Speaking before the opening of Tesla's new luxury store in the Westfield shopping mall in Shepherd's Bush, London, last night, Musk told the Guardian: "It's kinda like the battle against 'big tobacco' in the old days, and how they'd run all these ads about how tobacco's no problem.

"Ninety-nine per cent of scientists can agree on one thing, but in the public mind [lobbyists] try to convey that scientists disagree. Technically true, but absolutely misleading," he said.

Tesla has cornered the high end of the electric car market in the US, selling more than 14,000 of the base-priced $62,400 (£38,609) Model S in the past year. The car will be delivered to UK customers next spring, and is expected to cost between £55,000-£85,000, depending on the model's specifications.

That is substantially more than the £16,000-£30,000 price range at which most other electric cars have been pitched. But Musk still has his eye on the mass market. The next Tesla car, currently dubbed "Gen3", would cost less than £35,000 and will probably arrive within three years. The Model S, he said, would subsidise that car's development.

"When somebody buys a Model S they're helping pay for that in a way that buying an Aston Martin or Ferrari is not. Aston Martin is going to make more Aston Martins, Ferrari is going to make more Ferraris, but what we're trying to do is make a compelling mass-market electric car."

Musk, who is said to have inspired the character of the charismatic genius Tony Stark in the Iron Man films, does not think governments are doing enough to support the electrification of cars, despite a grant scheme that knocks £5,000 off the price of new plug-in vehicles.

"If we start seeing bazillions of electric cars on the road, then maybe we can reel back the incentives. The acid test is are there tons of electric cars on the road? Well, no, probably the incentives aren't strong enough."

Musk is standing by recent comments that hydrogen fuel-cell cars are not a plausible rival to battery-powered models like those made by Tesla. "They're like obviously bullshit, it's not even a question mark in my mind … In the case of hydrogen fuel cells, take the current state of the art, and compare how much space, weight and cost is associated with the powertrain of a fuel cell, and compare that with the Model S … it loses on every category."

Musk, 42, considers himself an environmentalist, but says he is not "ultra hardcore".

"That's not me," he says. "I sort of think we should figure out how to enjoy life and not have environmental catastrophe."

He rates himself as "greenish" in his personal life. He switches off lights when he leaves a room, and has installed solar panels on his home, but "it's not like I've got LED lights everywhere, and I'm not a vegetarian.

"Trying to convince the population to have some monk-like existence is simply unrealistic," he says.

Born in South Africa, Musk was a teenage computer nerd with degrees in physics and business when he moved to California to study for a PhD at Stanford. He then quit within days of embarking on his studies to become an entrepreneur.

His first venture was an internet city guide, which he sold aged 28, banking $20m. Paypal followed, which eventually brought him an even larger fortune, and then came SpaceX, which aims to send people to Mars within 20 years.

Tesla Motors, which takes its name from the 19th-century physicist, Nikola Tesla, was venture number four. Musk joined as an investor in its early days, and the firm made its first production vehicle – the two-seater Roadster – in 2006.

The company, based in Palo Alto in California's Silicon Valley, was listed on Nasdaq in 2010 and the Model S hit the road in 2012. Celebrity owners Ben Affleck, Morgan Freeman, Stephen Spielberg and Demi Moore have generated publicity, as have the firm's "stores" – in premium shopping districts rather than traditional dealerships. The shares have nearly quadrupled in value this year.

The new electric high performance Tesla car in the mini showroom at
Westfield London. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

A few weeks ago the company's image took a hit when footage emerged of a Model S on fire after a piece of metal had gone under the car and made contact with the battery.

The driver escaped unharmed, but the incident led Musk to take to his blog in defence of the car, which has been billed as one of the safest ever made. "Had a conventional gasoline car encountered the same object on the highway, the result could have been far worse," he wrote.

Musk told the Guardian that the company was committed to Europe, and he expected to be manufacturing electric cars in Europe "probably" within five years. They are currently made in Fremont, California, with some assembly carried out in the Netherlands. "It's a bit silly transporting cars across the Atlantic," said Musk, who also envisages a new European technical centre, focused on research and design.

The firm also plans to build a network of "superchargers" in the UK – charging points that can replenish the battery within 30 minutes – ready for when its right-hand drive Model S cars are delivered to customers in spring next year. The cars will eventually be powered by solar panels, he said, which should generate more power than is used by the cars recharging.

"What we're trying to convey is that, if you have Tesla Model S, you'll be able to drive for free, for ever, on sunlight."

Tesla's Model S

When you drive the Model S, it quickly – very, very quickly – becomes clear that it's the opposite of the electric car stereotype of a Noddy car that doesn't go very fast or very far. It's packed to the gills with state-of-the-art technology, from the enormous string of batteries that make up the entire floor and enable its 300 mile-plus range, to the in-car entertainment and navigation system whose touchscreen makes an iPad look positively puny.

The exterior is classy and understated, rather than screaming, "No combustion engine!" as, say, the G-Wiz and BMW's new i3 do. Tesla's other car, the Roadster, is the sort to turn heads and attract Instagramming hordes, but the Model S barely raised eyebrows during a few hours in central London.

More than anything, the car is memorable for its astonishing acceleration. Unlike conventional cars, electric cars give instant torque and that, combined with the powerful motor here, means that putting your foot down results in a truly exhilarating rush.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Geothermal Bill Step Closer to Law

Jakarta Globe, Tito Summa Siahaan, October 22, 2013

Trucks at Patuha Geothermal plant in Bandung, West Java. Indonesia holds
40 percent of world’s geothermal potential. (JG Photo/Reza Estily)

A special committee at the House of Representatives approved on Monday the geothermal bill proposed by the government, which would make it a step closer to becoming law, as the nation seeks to wean itself from reliance on fossil fuel to produce electricity.

All of the nine factions in the committee supported the bill, and all of the speakers highlighted the country’s enormous geothermal potential, the need to attract investment, and the inadequacy of the current geothermal law.

Should the bill become law, it will replace the existing law on geothermal issued in 2003.

Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik said the aim of the bill is to optimize the country’s geothermal potential.

“Indonesia holds 40 percent of the world’s geothermal potential, or 28,617 megawatts, but only 1,341 megawatts, or 4.6 percent of that amount had been harnessed,” he said.

Jero said that one of the key points in the proposed bill is the removal of the words “mining activities” in the definition of geothermal activities. Inclusion of such wording could create unnecessary complication in the exploitation of geothermal energy.

Another law bans any form of “mining activities” to be performed in areas of conservation, according to the minister.

“Most of our geothermal potential is located within conservation areas,” Jero said.

Such overlapping policies in Indonesia have, in many cases, created disadvantages for investors — especially among international investors that want to invest in the country’s energy business.

Aside from that, regulation on conservation areas had been widely blamed as the main reason as to why development of many geothermal projects has stalled.

Ali Kasela, a lawmaker for People’s Conscience Party (Hanura), said that his party supported the bill as it would bring more benefits from geothermal energy to regional development.

Jero said that the problem is rooted in the misunderstanding of the impact of geothermal projects.

“Unlike mining operations, a geothermal power plant takes only little space within a protected forested area,” Jero said.

State utility firm Perusahaan Listrik Negara estimated that Indonesia would need at least $77.3 billion in new investment to produce 13,000 megawatts of renewable energy, including geothermal, to the country’s electricity grid until 2021.

Tisnaldi, the director for geothermal at the Energy Ministry, said that another highlight in the proposed bill is the obligation for geothermal concession holders to sell a 10 percent interest to regionally owned enterprises or state-owned enterprises after it enters the exploitation stage.

“It aims to share the benefits of the geothermal project to local governments,” Trisnaldi said.

Jero said that the government is also looking to use geothermal to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuel and help the objective in carbon emission reduction.

Milton Pakpahan, the chairman of the special committee, said that the bill is scheduled to be approved by the House plenary meeting in April 2014.

The National Energy Council (DEN) forecast early this year that the country may not achieve its target to have a more balanced energy mix by 2025, which is designed to reduce the country’s oil consumption and carbon emissions.

Based on the council’s projections, Indonesia’s energy consumption in 2025 would be made up of 23.9 percent oil, 19.7 percent natural gas, 30.7 percent coal and 25.7 percent renewables.

In 2010, the country’s energy mix was 49.8 percent oil, 24.5 percent coal, 20 percent gas and 5.7 percent renewables.

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