Grapes Help Your Heart

The very thing that can ferment to make delicious fluids can help your heart fresh from the vine! That’s right, grapes are good for your heart.

The researchers studied the effect of regular table grapes (a blend of green, red, and black grapes) that were mixed into the rat diet in a powdered form, as part of either a high- or low-salt diet. They performed many comparisons between the rats consuming the test diet and the control rats receiving no grape powder — including some that received a mild dose of a common blood-pressure drug. All the rats were from a research breed that develops high blood pressure when fed a salty diet.

In all, after 18 weeks, the rats that received the grape-enriched diet powder had lower blood pressure, better heart function, reduced inflammation throughout their bodies, and fewer signs of heart muscle damage than the rats that ate the same salty diet but didn’t receive grapes. The rats that received the blood-pressure medicine, hydrazine, along with a salty diet also had lower blood pressure, but their hearts were not protected from damage as they were in the grape-fed group.

Zoo Poo for Energy

The Toronto Zoo is looking into using all that dung that they have and turning into electricity to help make the zoo carbon neutral.

Zoo board members heard that a digester big enough to produce 4 megawatts could power the zoo plus 15,000 homes in Scarborough.

The technology isn’t new. It’s used extensively in Germany, for instance. Staff told the board the process doesn’t involve incineration, and there’s no combustion.

It could be running soon and would reduce the zoo’s carbon footprint by 40 per cent, staff said.

The zoo keeps a large pile of animal waste on site, some of which is used as fertilizer. One by-product of a biogas facility could be a higher-grade fertilizer, which De Baeremaeker suggested could be sold.

More Wave Power

A new way to catch wave power is really neat: it’s wave power through vortexes.

A bane of Big Oil’s offshore rigs could become a boon for renewable energy.
By tapping the natural motion of slow-moving water, a new hydrokinetic generator could open vast new swaths of the ocean for energy production.
When ocean currents flow over any kind of cylinder, like the long cables that hold drilling platforms in place, small vortices are created. They eventually spin away, or shed, causing vibrations that over time can destroy an oil rig’s moorings.
Now, a University of Michigan engineer who long worked on suppressing this phenomenon, has developed a prototype energy-harvester that can capture the mechanical energy it creates.

Power Floors for the Future

Floors can generate electricity if we want them to:

Redmond’s unique floor tiles generate electricity using a phenomenon known as piezoelectricity – electricity generated by applying mechanical stress to certain materials like the lead zirconate plates in the POWERleap. When these 2-inch by 1-inch piezoceramic plates are bent, a charge is produced that can be harnessed. Multiply one tile by the surface area of a subway station or even your standard grocery store floor, and you can imagine the amount of energy these tiles have the potential to generate.

In a few years Elizabeth hopes people will be able to pull the POWERleap off the shelves of Home Depot and install it to power their homes. More importantly if we generate our own electricity it should change the way we consume, appreciate and utilize electric power. During our cell phone conversation, Elizabeth pointed out another beneficial feature of the technology. “Imagine a business powered by the people who move around inside it. When the people leave for the day the lights and power would automatically shut down.”

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