Scientists seek to harvest electricity from algae in green-energy effort
By Chris Arsenault TORONTO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Scientists are making progress in harnessing electricity from algae in what could be a breakthrough in green-energy technology to combat climate change, although mass-market applications are years away, new research suggests. The technology utilizes the process of photosynthesis by algae, one of the most common microorganisms on earth, according to a Concordia University engineering professor leading the research. Algae naturally creates electrons during photosynthesis, and metal probes stuck into the plant can capture that energy and transfer it into electricity for batteries, he said on Wednesday.
Infections with Mosquito-Borne Chikungunya Virus Can Cause Brain Inflammation, Death
Catching the mosquito-borne virus chikungunya usually leads to fever and severe pain, but a new study shows it may also lead to inflammation in the brain, and even death in some people. In the study, researchers looked at an epidemic of the virus on Reunion Island, in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar, that lasted from 2005 to 2006 and sickened 300,000 people. As a result of their infections, 24 people developed encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain, and four of these people died from their infection.
Liberia Suffers New Ebola Death, Despite Being 'Ebola-Free'
The death of a 15-year-old boy from Ebola in Liberia — a country that has been declared free of the disease twice — raises the question of why cases are still popping up in the country, experts say. Although infectious disease experts expect to see new cases crop up shortly after a country is declared Ebola-free — often because of cases that weren't accounted for — in this case, Liberia had gone several months without any new Ebola cases, Adalja said. Liberia was first declared Ebola-free in May, but then a new case was confirmed in July.
'The Good Dinosaur': Could Humans and Dinos Coexist?
What if the dinosaur-killing asteroid never slammed into Earth and the paleo-beasts weren't vanquished from our planet 66 million years ago? The movie maker's answer — that a young Apatosaurus would meet and befriend a cave boy — is cute, but totally off the mark, several paleontologists told Live Science. "It's completely impossible," said Thomas Williamson, curator of paleontology at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, referring to dinosaurs ever being alive alongside humans — something that could never happen if the dinosaurs were to survive.
The Thanksgiving Sky: The Moon Meets a Bright Star at Dawn
As the moon moves around the Earth in its monthly orbit, it often passes in front of background stars. Such events are called "lunar occultations" and one will happen Thursday at dawn in a Thanksgiving lunar treat.
Massive Rocks May Explain Moon's Mysterious Tilt
The mysterious tilt of the moon's orbit is due to gravitational tugs it received from giant, close-passing rocks that eventually slammed into the Earth, new research suggests. The leading explanation for the moon's origin is that a Mars-size rock called Theia struck the newborn Earth about 4.5 billion years ago, and the moon coalesced from the disk of debris that resulted from this crash. However, the moon's current orbit is tilted about 5 degrees with respect to Earth.
Drug driving suit mimics taking the wheel stoned
By Jim Drury A simulation suit that mimics the effects on wearer's reactions of taking illegal substances has been developed by scientists to show young drivers the dangers of getting behind the wheel while intoxicated by drugs. A kinetic device in the suit's gloves produces a tremor akin to that caused by some illicit drugs. Random flashing lights in the goggles' peripheral area, allied to hallucinogenic-type sounds in the headphones, combine to disorientate drivers.
U.S. Air Force official sees issues with space launch priorities
By Andrea Shalal WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States could struggle to promote competition in its space launch program while also maintaining two independent ways to launch satellites and ending U.S. reliance on Russian rocket engines, a top U.S. Air Force official said on Tuesday. “I think the space launch situation is serious for the country,” LaPlante said, underscoring the complexity of the challenges facing the industry. ULA, the monopoly provider of such launches since its creation in 2006, said it was unable to submit a bid in compliance with the competition's rules because of how the contest was structured, and because it lacked Russian-built RD-180 engines for its Atlas 5 rocket.
Better batteries to beat global warming: A race against time
WASHINGTON (AP) — One of the key technologies that could help wean the globe off fossil fuel is probably at your fingertips or in your pocket right now: the battery.
Amazon founder Bezos’ rocket company passes landing test
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said on Tuesday his space transportation company, Blue Origin, plans about two more years of test flights before it will offer rides to passengers. On Monday, Blue Origin successfully landed a suborbital rocket back at its launch site, a key step in its drive to make reusable rockets, the company said. “This flight retired a lot of risk and validated of lot of the elements of the design,” Bezos, who founded Amazon.com Inc and owns the Washington Post newspaper, said in an interview.