Monday, March 28, 2011

'Artificial leaf' converts sunlight and water into electricity

An MIT chemist says he's formed an advanced solar cell — basically an artificial leaf that can mimic photosynthesis, the procedure by which plants breathe and produce power.

"A practical artificial leaf has been one of the holy grails of science for decades," Daniel Nocera, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor of chemistry and energy, said in a release.

"We consider we have done it. The artificial leaf shows exacting promise as an economical source of electricity for homes of the poor in developing countries. Our goal is to make each home its own power station," he said.

Nocera unveiled his leaf on Sunday at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in California.

About the mass of a very thin playing card, the silicon solar cell uses electronics and catalysts to go faster chemical reactions to change sunlight and water into electricity.

The cell is located in a gallon of water in full sun, where it cracks the water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen and oxygen gases are then stored in a fuel cell, which uses the two basics to produce electricity.

The artificial leaf is not a new idea. John Turner of the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado created the first one more than 10 years ago. But it used unusual, expensive metals and had a lifetime of barely one day.

Nocera said his leaf is made of cheap materials that are widely available, with catalysts made of nickel and cobalt. In a lab test, he showed that his leaf can operate endlessly for at least 45 hours without a drop in activity.

"One can imagine villages in India and Africa not long from now acquiring an affordable basic power system based on this technology," he said.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Not several of us love the push-up. Sure, it’s comparatively safe and effective, but let’s faces it, it's kind of dull. It's amazing we did in P.E. class. But what if you understand that the push-up would not only help you get a stronger upper body, but also a stronger midsection?

It's true. The push-up includes the stabilization muscles of your core, combining an upper-body pushing movement with a plank -- one of the best and most basic workouts for your midsection. In fact, according to Nick Tumminello, trainer and owner and operative of the Performance University gym in Baltimore, Md., the push-up can efficiently replace the sit-up.

“The push-up is basically a plank position," Tumminello says, "so it’s actually a great abdominal exercise and there’s no reason to do planks if you can do (a important number of) push-ups."

Push-ups are a higher value plank. You’re not only increase your abdominals by holding them still while gravity’s trying to push your hips towards the ground, but you’re also increase your upper-body roughly muscles: your chest, shoulders and triceps.”

Friday, March 18, 2011

Nuclear worries compound depression of Japan survivors

The nuclear disaster in Japan has struck fear and disbelief into quake and tsunami survivors who can barely take in the idea that a third life-threatening disaster strength come their way.

Frantic efforts to prevent a unsafe radiation leak at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant on the eastern coast have conquered global concerns in the wake of the massive earthquake and ensuing tsunami last week.

On Friday, Japan's nuclear agency hiked the accident level to five from four on the international 0-7 scale of gravity for atomic accidents; an entrance the crisis had at least equalled the US Three Mile Island accident in 1979.

Some 200 kilometres (125 miles) to the north, those who lived through the quake and consequent tsunami that left nearly 7,000 confirmed dead have struggled to make sense of the news coming out of the Fukushima plant.

Traumatised, homeless and facing the scary task of rebuilding their crushed lives, few have been reassured by the official line that the situation is under control and that any leak would be so small as to carry a insignificant health risk.

"That radiation thing is extremely scary," said Hiromitsu Miyakawa, a retailer in Kesennuma, one of the towns that bore the full force of the tsunami along the northeast coast.

"It is beyond a tsunami. A tsunami you can see. But this you cannot see," Miyakawa said.

Helicopters and fire trucks have been used to deposit tonnes of water in a desperate effort to bring overheating at the plant's reactors and fuel storage tanks, known as repression pools, under control.

Japan has said emission levels from the plant, located 250 kilometres (155 miles) northeast of Tokyo, pose no health threat outside a 20-kilometre barring zone.

In the small northeastern port of Miyako, Teeichi Sagama, the principal of a school converted into a tsunami evacuation centre, said he was upset with what he saw as the puzzling and contradictory statements coming from the authorities.

"I just want the government to tell the truth," he said. Taizo Tanisawa, who lost his home but volunteered to issue hot water and food to other survivors in Miyako, agreed that the government had been unclear in clearing up the dangers of the situation in Fukushina.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Disney's 'Mars Needs Moms' blasted

In the weeks top up to the release of "Mars Needs Moms," Disney knew attention in the film was tepid at best. But no one was ready for such a terrible box office wipeout.

From a financial standpoint, "Mars" could be one of the main write-offs in modern Hollywood records, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The motion-capture lively film cost $150 million to produce but earned only $6.9 million in its debut at the domestic box office, the 12th worst opening of all time for a movie out in more than 3,000 theaters and one of the lowest chance for a major 3D release.

The price tag doesn't include a hefty advertising spend. All told, Disney has likely invest $200 million or more in the motion detain pic, made by Robert Zemeckis' now-shuttered ImageMovers Digital.

"The right audience came, but not in the numbers we needed," Disney president of worldwide sharing Chuck Viane said. "I'm disappointed for the filmmakers. They spent at least two years of their lives making a terrific movie that people won't see."
The chances of mending are slim.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Major tsunami spoiled in N Japan after 8.9 quake

A magnitude 8.9 earthquake slammed Japan's eastern coast Friday, unleashing a 13-foot (4-meter) tsunami that cleared boats, cars, buildings and tons of debris miles inland. Fires triggered by the quake burned out of control up and down the coast, including one at an oil refinery.

At least one person was killed and there were reports of numerous injuries in Tokyo, hundreds of miles (kilometers) away, where buildings shook cruelly through the main quake and the wave of massive aftershocks that followed. A tsunami warning was issued for dozens of Pacific countries, as far away as Chile.

Japan's meteorological agency said that within two hours, large tsunamis washed ashore into dozens of cities along a 1,300-mile (2,100-kilometer) widen of the country's eastern shore — from the northern island of Hokkaido to central Wakayama prefecture.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan said the quake caused "major harm in broad areas" but nuclear power plants in the area were not precious. The government arranged to send troops to the quake-hit areas.

"This is a rare major quake, and damages could quickly rise by the minute," said Junichi Sawada, an official with Japan's Fire and Disaster Management Agency.

TV footage showed influences of muddy waters sweeping over farmland near the city of Sendai, carrying buildings, some on fire, inland as cars shot to drive away. Sendai airport, north of Tokyo, was busy with cars, trucks, buses and thick mud deposited over its runways. Fires increase through a section of the city, public broadcaster NHK reported.

The tsunami also roared over embankments in Sendai city, washing cars, houses and farm equipment inland before reversing directions and carrying them out to sea. Flames shot from some of the houses, possibly because of burst gas pipes.

Elsewhere, large fishing boats lay upturned on land, some distance from the sea. Officials were difficult to assess damage, injuries and deaths but had no immediate details. Police said at least one person was killed in a house crumple in Ibaraki prefecture, just northeast of Tokyo.

A large fire erupted at the Cosmo oil refinery in Ichihara city in Chiba area near Tokyo and was burning out of control with 100-foot (30 meter) -high flames whipping into the sky.

NHK showed copying of a large ship being swept away by the tsunami and ramming honestly into a breakwater in Kesennuma city in Miyagi prefecture.

In various locations along the coast, footage showed huge damage from the tsunami, with cars, boats and even buildings being carried along by waters. Partially flooded vehicles were seen bobbing in the water.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was a magnitude 8.9, while Japan's meteorological agency exacts it at 8.4. It struck at 2:46 p.m. and was followed by 12 powerful aftershocks, seven of them at least 6.3, the size of the quake that struck New Zealand lately.

A tsunami advice was extended to a number of Pacific, Southeast Asian and Latin American nations, including Japan, Russia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Chile. In the Philippines, authorities said they expect a 3-foot (1-meter) high tsunami.

The quake struck at a depth of six miles (10 kilometers), about 80 miles (125 kilometers) off the eastern coast, the agency said. The area is 240 miles (380 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo.

In downtown Tokyo, large buildings shook violently and workers transferred into the street for safety. TV footage showed a large building on fire and bellowing smoke in the Odaiba region of Tokyo.

Several nuclear plants along the coast were partly shut down, but there were no reports of any radioactive escape.

In central Tokyo, trains were blocked and passengers walked along the tracks to platforms. NHK said more than 4 million buildings were without power in Tokyo and its suburbs.
The ceiling in Kudan Kaikan, a large hall in Tokyo, collapsed, injuring an unknown number of people, NHK said.
Osamu Akiya, 46, was working in Tokyo at his office in a trading company when the quake hit.
It sent bookshelves and computers booming to the floor, and cracks appeared in the walls.
"I've been through many earthquakes, but I've never felt anything like this," he said. "I don't know if we'll be able to get home tonight."

Footage on NHK from their Sendai office showed employees hesitant around and books and papers roaring from desks. It also showed a glass shelter at a bus stop in Tokyo wholly smashed by the quake and a weeping woman nearby being reassured by another woman.

Several quakes had hit the same region in recent days, including a 7.3 scale one on Wednesday.
Thirty minutes after the main quake, tall buildings were still swaying in Tokyo and mobile phone networks were not working. Japan's Coast Guard has set up a task force and officer is standing by for emergency contingencies, Coast Guard official Yosuke Oi said.

"I'm afraid we'll soon find out about damages, since the quake was so strong," he said.
In Tokyo, hundreds of people were evacuated from Shinjuku train station; the world's busiest, to a nearby park. Trains were halted.

Tokyo's main airport was closed. A large part of the ceiling at the 1-year-old airport at Ibaraki, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo, fell to the floor with a powerful crash.

Dozens of fires were reported in northern prefectures of Fukushima, Sendai, Iwate and Ibaraki. Bent homes and landslides were also reported in Miyagi.

Japan's worst previous quake was in 1923 in Canto, which killed 143,000 people, according to USGS. An earthquake in Kobe city in 1996 killed 5,502 people.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Main Five healthy points to not stop coffee

I really like coffee. The morning habit of brewing a cup, the smell that perks me up before I take a sip and, of path, the taste all make it my favorite beverage aside from water (water’s delicious!).

1. It protects your heart: Modest coffee drinkers (1 to 3 cups/day) have lower rates of rub than non-coffee drinkers, an effect connected to coffee’s antioxidants. Coffee has more antioxidants per serving than blueberries, making it the main source of antioxidants in American diets. All those antioxidants may help suppress the damaging effect of swelling on arteries. Instantly after drinking it, coffee raises your blood pressure and heart rate, but over the long term, it really may lower blood pressure as coffee’s antioxidants activate nitric oxide, widening blood vessels.

2. It diverts diabetes: Those antioxidants (chlorogenic acid and quinides, particularly) play another role: boosting your cells’ sensitivity to insulin, which helps control blood sugar. In fact, people who drink 4 or more cups of coffee each day may have a lower risk of increasing type 2 diabetes, according to some studies. Other studies have shown that caffeine can blunt the insulin-sensitivity boost, so if you do drink several cups a day, try mixing in decaf rarely.

3. Your liver loves it: OK, so the investigate here is limited, but it looks like the more coffee people drink, the lower their occurrence of cirrhosis and other liver diseases. One investigation of nine studies found that every 2-cup increase in daily coffee intake condensed liver cancer risk by 43 percent. Again, it’s those antioxidants—chlorogenic and caffeic acids—and caffeine that might prevent liver irritation and inhibit cancer cells.

4. It boosts your brain power: Drinking between 1 and 5 cups a day (admittedly a big range) may help reduce risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as Parkinson’s disease, studies advise. Those antioxidants may ward off brain cell damage and help the neurotransmitters involved in cognitive function to work better.

5. It helps your headaches: And not just the withdrawal headaches caused by skipping your daily dose of caffeine! Studies show that 200 milligrams of caffeine—about the quantity in 16 ounces of brewed coffee—provides relief from headaches, including migraines. Accurately how caffeine relieves headaches isn’t clear. But scientists do know that caffeine boosts the action of brain cells, causing surrounding blood vessels to constrict. One theory is that this restriction helps to relieve the pressure that causes the pain, says Robert Shapiro, M.D., Ph.D., connect professor of neurology and director of the Headache Clinic at the University of Vermont Medical School.

Now, that’s not to say that coffee doesn’t have any pitfalls—it does. Some people are super-sensitive to caffeine and get jittery or anxious after drinking coffee; usual coffee drinkers usually expand a tolerance to caffeine that eliminates this problem (but they then need the caffeine to be alert and ward off withdrawal headaches). Coffee can also disturb sleep, mainly as people age. Cutting some of the caffeine and drinking it previous in the day can curb this effect. Lastly, unfiltered coffee (like that made with a French press) can raise LDL cholesterol, so use a filter for heart health.

But if you like coffee and you can accept it well, enjoy it...lacking the guilt.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Gold sparkles in futures deal on global sign, spot demand

Gold prices rose by 0.50 per cent to Rs 21,204 per ten grams in futures deal today, supported by a firm trend overseas, as violence in the Middle East intensified, and increasing domestic demand.

At the Multi Commodity Exchange, gold for delivery in April added Rs 206, or 0.50 per cent, to Rs 21,204 per 10 grams, with a business revenue of four lots.

Likewise, the valuable metal for delivery in June moved up by Rs 96, or 0.45 per cent, to Rs 21,494 per 10 grams, with a business quantity of two lots.

Analysts said demand for valuable metals as a safe haven asset due to the violence in the Middle East, partial the trading sentiments at futures trade here.

Also, a firm trend in the domestic market on the back of improved demand, on account of the ongoing marriage season, supported the uptrend in the prices, they added.

Meanwhile, gold rose by 0.5 per cent to $1,437.85 an ounce in Asia. The metal climbed to an all-time high of $1,440.32 an ounce on March 2.