Cruelety to Robots??

According to the BBC, scientists are working on a number of novel ways to get animals out of the laboratory, replacing our cuddly little friends with high speed automated robots or live cells grown in the laboratory. As long as the robots aren’t artificially intelligent this could be a substantial step forwards, allowing everything from cosmetics to pesticides to be tested for toxicity. Sounds preferable to the traditional system. It’s even faster and cheaper. The overall goal is to model a live human being digitally so more complex drugs and potential carcinogens could be tested.

Heat Transfer Science for your Clothes Dryer

Although the allures of heat transfer science might be remote for some, and frankly boring for others, would you want to know more if they could dry your clothes with less energy? Michael Brown, not of GE or any drying machine manufacturer, has come up with a way to make clothes drying less energy intensive. Instead of using a traditional air-in-contact-with-heating-coils heater, Michael’s uses an oil as the heat-transfer medium. The oil needs less energy to heat, and, once heated, holds onto the heat better. That oil is then used to heat the air that gets blown into the drying drum.

The device is so much more efficient that it can be plugged into a regular 110 V plug (instead of 220s now required by dryers.) Additionally, the heating unit only ever reaches about 150 F, since the heat-transfer is so much more efficient. Traditional dryers have to heat their elements up to 1000 F in order to reach optimal efficiency, resulting in about 15,000 household fires each year.

The device can be installed by a technician in 30 minutes at a total cost of around $300, which would be recouped in less then four years. It might also be the first dryer to ever receive an Energy Star rating.

Coskata process

Remember that name because it may become a household name soon. The Coskata process is a relatively cheap method to create ethanol using a variety of feedstocks. Materials like agricultural waste, purposefully grown crops, switchgrass and waste materials like old tires and municipal waste call all be used.

The Coskata process is fundamentally a biological reaction that takes place inside a specialized reactor (which is simply a vessel to contain the microbes and keep them in an environment where they are happy to live and produce ethanol). Anaerobic bacteria are fed carbon monoxide and hydrogen (known as syngas), which are produced by gasification, which can be done a number of different ways, depending on the feedstock material. Scientists can even produce carbon monixide from CO2 and sunlight.

The reactor for this process is a sealed plastic tube filled with millions of filaments on which the bacteria live. Having bacteria living on the filaments provides an enormous amount of surface area for them to live on in a very concentrated volume. The syngas is passed through the reactor, and bacteria feed on the carbon monoxide and hydrogen and produce ethanol.

A Future Never Seen

Carectomy.com, who tries to remove people from their cars, has posted a great video from 1958 Disney animation studio. As you can imagine, Disney’s futuristic vision for the car is quite dreamy, far fetched and would just be inconceivable considering todays energy situation. Heated highways, tubes and vast sprawl are all promoted in this movie and I for one would like to take a moment and celebrate that not all things turned out the way Disney predicted.

Bible printed on FSC-Certified paper.

The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Daily Bible is printed on paper that includes recycled content and comes from forestlands certified by the Rainforest Alliance’s SmartWood program, the leading certifier of forestlands to FSC standards.

Kudos to Thomas Nelson, Domtar and Green Press Initiative for working together to achieve this important first in the publishing industry,” said Tensie Whelan, executive director of the Rainforest Alliance. “This is further evidence of the growing trend among publishers to improve their sourcing strategies and lessen their environmental impact by seeking out environmentally preferable papers.