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By Admin (from 10/08/2011 @ 11:00:16, in it - Osservatorio Globale, read 473 times)

Calano drasticamente le emissioni di anidride carbonica nei cieli italiani: oltre il nove per cento in meno nel biennio 2008-2009, secondo l’Annuario dei dati ambientali 2010 presentato dall’Ispra (Istituto per la Protezione Ambientale) lo scorso 25 maggio a Roma. Tuttavia c’è poco da rallegrarsi, avvertono i ricercatori:  la Co2 è diminuita più per colpa della crisi economica che per effetto di comportamenti virtuosi.

Detail-factory emissions1

Le concentrazioni in atmosfera dei gas che accentuano l’effetto serra (la naturale capacità del nostro pianeta di trattenere nell’atmosfera parte del calore proveniente dal sole), e conseguentemente fanno aumentare la temperatura terrestre, sono andate inesorabilmente crescendo a partire dal secondo dopoguerra, parallelamente all’aumento delle attività antropiche. Ma da qualche anno, mentre nei paesi emergenti le emissioni crescono esponenzialmente, nel mondo più industrializzato la tendenza si è invertita.  Nel biennio 2008-09 l'Italia con il suo 9,3 per cento in meno è il paese europeo in cui questa riduzione è stata maggiore, tuttavia, ci sono altre nazioni in tutto il mondo in cui il calo è stato altrettanto se non più accentuato. Primo tra tutti il Giappone, dove nello stesso periodo di riferimento la diminuzione delle emissioni è pari all'11,8%. A questo seguono regno Unito (-8,6%) e Germania (-7%) e Stati Uniti (-6,8%). Al contrario nei paesi emergenti - Cina, India e Corea del Sud - le emissioni di CO2 continuano ad aumentare.

In particolare, i dati relativi al nostro paese per quanto riguarda l’anidride carbonica, principale gas serra, mostrano che l’inversione di tendenza ha iniziato a verificarsi a partire dal 2005 (anno in cui si è osservata una riduzione annua di emissioni pari a 1,8%). Tra il 2005 e il 2008, poi, la riduzione è stata del 5%, ma il calo più importante si è registrato nel biennio 2008-2009. “In particolare, tra il 2007 e il 2008 - dice Domenico Gaudioso, responsabile del servizio Atmosfera e clima dell'Ispra -  una riduzione delle emissioni è stata riscontrata un po' in tutti i settori, ma è stata più significativa per le industrie energetiche, che invece avevano avuto un trend di crescita nel periodo precedente, per quelle manifatturiere e, per la prima volta, anche per i trasporti”.

Secondo gli esperti l’effetto sarebbe dovuto proprio alla recessione, che negli ultimi anni ha portato a una riduzione delle attività industriali. “Per valutare le emissioni – spiega Gaudioso – si utilizzano degli indicatori: uno dei più significativi in questo caso è proprio quello del consumo di energia elettrica”. Cambiamenti nel valore di questo indicatore possono dipendere da modifiche nelle tecnologie o nelle tipologie di combustibili usati, ma anche dalla riduzione delle attività. “Il fatto che nel negli ultimi anni abbiamo avuto una decrescita sistematica dell'economia (e quindi dell'attività, ndr.) in tutti i settori -  energia, riscaldamento, trasporti, eccetera - ci fa capire che alla base delle ridotte emissioni di gas serra non vi è una causa specifica, ma una causa generica, che li interessa tutti”.

Fonte: galileonet.it

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In a presentation during the 3rd Annual La Jolla Research & Innovation Summit this week, Norman said that the amount of digital data generated just by instruments such as DNA sequencers, cameras, telescopes, and MRIs is now doubling every 18 months.

“Digital data is advancing at least as fast, and probably faster, than Moore’s Law,” said Norman, referring to the computing hardware belief that the number of transistors which can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit doubles approximately every 18 months. “But I/O (input/output) transfer rates are not keeping pace – that is what SDSC’s supercomputers are designed to solve.”

Norman

SDSC, a key resource for UCSD researchers as well as the UC system and nationally, will later this year deploy a new data-intensive supercomputer system named Gordon, which will be the first high-performance supercomputer to use large amounts of flash-based SSD (solid state drive) memory. Flash memory is more common in smaller devices such as mobile phones and laptop computers, but unique for supercomputers, which generally use slower spinning disk technology.

The result of a five-year, $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation, Gordon will have 250 trillion bytes of flash memory and 64 I/O nodes, and be capable of handling massive data bases while providing up to 100 times faster speeds when compared to hard drive disk systems for some queries.

“We are re-engineering the entire data infrastructure in SDSC to support the capabilities offered by Gordon,” Norman said.

This makes Gordon ideal for data mining and data exploration, where researchers have to churn through tremendous amounts of data just to find a small amount of valuable information, not unlike a web search.

“Gordon is a supercomputer that will do for scientific data analysis what Google does for web search,” Norman told the summit, adding that SDSC likes to call the new system “the largest thumbdrive in the world.”

SDSC researchers are already doing preliminary tests on several potential applications using 16 I/O nodes of the Gordon system now in operation. Such data mining applications include ‘de novo,’ or ‘from the beginning’ genome assembly from sequencer reads, or classification of objects found in massive astronomical surveys.

“The future of personalized genomic medicine will require technologies like those prototyped in Gordon,” Norman said.

The new supercomputer also is expected to aid researchers in conducting interaction network analysis for new drug discovery. Other data-intensive computational science that will benefit from Gordon’s unique configuration include the solution of inverse problems – or converting observed measurements into information about a physical object or system – in oceanography, atmospheric science, and oil exploration, as well as using the system’s large shared memory system to research modestly scalable codes in quantum chemistry, structural engineering, and computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) applications.

Earlier this year, SDSC deployed a new high-performance computer called Trestles, the result of a $2.8 million award from the NSF. Trestles is appropriately named because it will serve as a bridge between SDSC’s unique, data-intensive resources available to a wide community of users both now and into the future.

“These new systems were designed with one goal in mind, and that is to enable as much productive science as possible as we enter a data-intensive era of computing,” said Norman.

The annual La Jolla Research & Innovation Summit is organized by CONNECT, a San Diego-based group that links inventors and entrepreneurs with resources needed for commercialization by promoting collaborations between industry, venture capital sources, and research organizations including academic institutions such as UCSD.

Source: UC San Diego

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By Admin (from 09/08/2011 @ 14:00:34, in ro - Observator Global, read 473 times)

 Un apel la prudenta, in ce priveste utilizarea extrem de raspanditelor telefoane mobile, a fost lansat recent de douazeci de oameni de stiinta, relansand astfel – pentru a cata oara? – dezbaterea asupra riscurilor legate de aceste aparate. Partea extrem de neplacuta a lucrurilor se refera la faptul ca impactul cu undele electromagnetice emise de celular ar putea avea efecte grave in special asupra copiilor, in primul rand din cauza structurii anatomice si functionale a organismului acestora si apoi, pentru ca un organism aflat in proces de dezvoltare poate fi perturbat de aparatura electronica.

In cursul acestui an, va ajunge la final cea mai vasta ancheta epidemiologica realizata vreodata in legatura cu riscul aparitiei tumorilor cerebrale in raport cu utilizarea mobilelor. Deocamdata, cercetatori reuniti in 16 echipe din 13 tari dezbat rezultate uneori contradictorii. Lucrarile releva in parte existenta unor riscuri, in timp ce altele convin ca totul este in regula. In acelasi timp, studiile comporta ocolisuri care – dupa caz – conduc la o supraestimare ori la o subestimare a riscurilor aparitiei tumorilor la nivelul creierului. De pilda, persoanele care utilizeaza mai frecvent mobilul accepta mai usor sa raspunda intrebarilor, ceea ce poate duce la supraestimarea riscurilor.

Ne putem intreba, de exemplu, si care este influenta maladiei atunci cand un pacient afectat de cancer in zona dreapta a creierului pretinde ca el folosea telefonul exclusiv pe partea dreapta. Inconstient, se poate stabili o legatura cauza-efect, fara corespondent in realitate. In ce priveste riscul crescut pentru copii, singura concluzie rezonabila, deocamdata, se concentreaza in comentariul unuia dintre cercetatori: „In general, sunt de acord cu restrangerea utilizarii in randul celor tineri, fara a merge totusi la interdictia totala. Telefonul portabil poate fi deosebit de important, nu numai in caz de urgenta, ci si pentru mentinerea contactului intre copii si parinti si deci pentru o relatie mai apropiata si mai linistitoare pentru toti.”

 Cercetatorii au semnat un apel continand zece recomandari, pe care vi le prezentam si noi mai jos.
 – Nu dati copiilor mai mici de 12 ani acordul de a utiliza un telefon mobil, decat in caz de urgenta.
 – In timpul comunicarii, mentineti aparatul la cel putin 1 metru departare de corp, utilizand sistemul hands free sau casti.
 – Ramaneti la peste 1 metru distanta de persoanele care vorbesc la telefonul mobil si evitati folosirea aparatului dumneavoastra in locurile publice (metrou, tren, autobuz etc.).
 – Evitati purtarea telefonului asupra dumneavoastra, chiar daca acesta este inchis si nu-l tineti in apropierea corpului in timpul noptii.

– Atunci cand il aveti asupra dumneavoastra, asigurati-va ca aparatul e orientat cu tastatura catre corp si cu fata antenei catre exterior.
 – Nu utilizati mobilul decat pentru a stabili contacte sau pentru convorbiri de numai cateva minute.
 – Cand faceti un apel, asteptati ca persoana sunata sa raspunda, inainte sa duceti aparatul la ureche, apoi schimbati periodic partea pe care il tineti.
 – Evitati utilizarea telefonului mobil cand forta semnalului este scazuta sau in timpul deplasarilor rapide (in masina, in tren etc.).
 – Comunicati mai degraba prin SMS, decat prin telefon.
 – Alegeti un aparat cu debitul de absorbtie specific cat mai scazut.

ADRIAN-NICOLAE POPESCU - magazin.ro

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By Admin (from 09/08/2011 @ 11:00:38, in it - Osservatorio Globale, read 651 times)

Cellulari e computer di ultima generazione, lampade led, celle solari. Tutti gli oggetti elettronici e le applicazioni tecnologiche più all’avanguardia contengono metalli, come piombo, cadmio, oro, cobalto. Risorse in parte rare, estratte e trasformate con un grande impatto sull’ambiente e dispendio di energia. Ma, soprattutto, risorse esauribili. Quando termineranno, molte delle attuali tecnologie potrebbero finire con esse. Cosa fare allora? Per prima cosa, tirare fuori dai cassetti i vecchi cellulari e i computer in disuso. In una parola, riciclare. È il motto dell’United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) e del rapporto Recycling rates of metals: a status report, lanciato durante la Green Week dell’Unione europa. Secondo cui la percentuale di recupero è ancora drammaticamente bassa.

Detail-riciclo metalli

Soltanto 18 dei 60 metalli presi in esame ha un tasso di riciclo superiore al 50 per cento, con percentuali più basse in alcune economie emergenti; 34 elementi sono addirittura sotto l’1 per cento. Questo nonostante le grandi potenzialità del riutilizzo. “A differenza di altri materiali, i metalli sono interamente riciclabili”, ha dichiarato il direttore esecutivo dell’Unep Achim Steiner durante la conferenza di Bruxelles. “Possono essere usati più e più volte, minimizzando la necessità di nuove estrazioni e i processi di trasformazioni dei materiali vergini, evitando sprechi di acqua e di energia, e salvaguardando quindi l’ambiente”. Come sottolinea anche il rapporto infatti, riciclare i metalli è dalle due alle dieci volte più efficiente, dal punto di vista energetico, che fonderli dopo l’estrazione. Proprio l’estrazione mineraria, inoltre, da sola incide per il 7 per cento sul consumo mondiale di energia, con emissioni che contribuiscono significativamente al cambiamento climatico.

Il piombo è il metallo più riutilizzato: quasi l’80 per cento dei prodotti che contengono componenti in piombo, soprattutto batterie, va al riciclo. Più della metà del ferro e altri componenti principali di acciaio e acciaio inox, come anche platino, oro, argento e altri metalli preziosi, viene recuperato. Con delle differenze, però. Per esempio, il 70-90 per cento dell’oro utilizzato nelle applicazioni industriali viene riciclato, contro solo il 10-15 per cento di quello derivante dai beni elettronici. Tra i metalli con un tasso di riciclo che va dal 25 al 50 per cento abbiamo il magnesio, il molibdeno e l’iridio.

Tugsteno, rutenio (usato nell’elettronica e nell’elettrochimica) e cadmio, invece, fanno registrare tassi di riciclo dal 10 al 25 per cento. È inferiore al 10 per cento il recupero del mercurio e dell’antimonio, mentre ultimi in classifica troviamo metalli fondamentali per l’industria elettronica e per la green economy: l’indio (usato nei semiconduttori , nelle lampade a risparmio energetico, nel fotovoltaico), il gallio (diodi, led, celle solari), il selenio (led, fotovoltaico, ottica a infrarossi), il tellurio (termo-elettronica e celle solari), il neodimio e il diprosio (magneti per turbine solari) e il lantanio (batterie dei veicoli ibridi).

Di questo passo, le economie mondiali perderanno la possibilità di fare scorta in vista dell’esaurimento delle risorse, e buona parte delle tecnologie del futuro potrebbe non vedere mai la luce. Secondo un altro rapporto, “Decoupling: natural resource use and environmental impacts from economic growth”, illustrato sempre ieri dall’International Resource Panel dell’Unep, entro il 2050 l’umanità potrebbe arrivare a consumare ogni anno qualcosa come 140 miliardi di tonnellate di minerali, metalli, combustibili fossili e biomasse: tre volte ciò che consumiamo oggi. L’era degli approvvigionamenti facili e a prezzi ragionevoli, quindi, sembra che stia per finire.

Gli esperti propongono una serie di raccomandazioni: in primis ridurre il consumo di risorse per ciascuna attività economica, secondo, incoraggiare design che rendano più semplice la scomposizione dei prodotti, migliorare la gestione e il riciclo dei rifiuti nei paesi in via di sviluppo, e invogliare gli abitanti di quelli sviluppati a riciclare vecchi cellulari, cavi usb e computer. Solo questo permetterebbe di risparmiare miliardi di tonnellate di emissioni di gas serra e di creare nuovi posti di lavoro.

Fonte: galileonet.it

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The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is the Department of Energy's green tech incubation lab, so perhaps it's no surprise that the research agency is attempting to lead America to greener pastures by example. The NREL just put the finishing touches on its new Research Support Facility (RSF) in Golden, Colo., -- the largest zero-energy office building in the nation -- hoping other developers will follow its lead.

The 220,000 square-foot facility will be home to more than 800 employees when it opens its doors in August, and is expected to achieve platinum LEED certification, the highest distinction a building can get from the U.S. Green Building Council. To create a structure that consumes no more energy than it produces in a year, the engineers behind the office complex took into account both the technologies of the future and the building practices of the past.

For instance, before electric lighting and climate control became ubiquitous architects situated and designed buildings to take advantage of natural light, with lots of windows that also provided ventilation. A slender 60-foot width and an east-west orientation allow lots of natural daylight to illuminate interior spaces of the RSF. That centuries-old building practice is coupled with smart technology that constantly compares interior and exterior temperatures, and even sends messages to occupants' computer screens when its time to open or close the windows for optimum natural climate control.

The building is also built largely of recycled or reclaimed materials, and the exterior is designed to absorb heat from the sun that can then either contain the heat during the day during warmer months or release it into the building during cooler months. The interior climate is further controlled using an radiant system that uses water pipes embedded in the floor to circulate either hot or cold water.

Of course, the NREL's new green building pales in comparison to China's ambitious 800,000 square-foot "Sun Dial" office building or the scope of projects like Masdar City outside Abu Dhabi. But it's a good -- and good looking -- first step toward better building practices. To make sure the drive for net-zero architecture doesn't stall in Golden, the NREL will be offering its design for the building to developers for free starting this fall.

Source: PopSci

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Geoff Dembicki reports extensively on the growing political influence of Alberta's oil sands industry and other climate change-related issues for TheTyee.ca, an award-winning online newspaper based in Vancouver, Canada.

Driving south from Vancouver, Canada, towards Seattle, the scenery is perfectly pastoral with rolling hills and grazing cows. But suddenly, dominating the horizon, the view is interrupted by a phalanx of refinery towers shooting white-gray plumes into the sky. These industrial spires of BP's Cherry Point refinery loom high over Whatcom county, a lush border region a little more than 100 kilometers north of Seattle.

Washington State's largest refining complex provides jet fuel, gasoline and diesel to markets up and down the west coast of North America. I had driven there on a rainy morning last month, hoping to learn more about the economic alchemy that transforms crude oil from Alberta's oil sands and elsewhere into ever ubiquitous aluminum beverage cans.

Photo by Dustin Hicks

Cherry Point plays a little known but critical role in the manufacture of these cans - in fact one-sixth of the world's output would not be possible without an industrial substance produced here in massive volumes each day.

Every year 100 billion soda, beer, and juice cans are cracked open by North Americans each year, almost one can for every person every day. That vast market suggests that transitioning off fossil fuels to halt climate change will be more complicated than the oft-proclaimed solution of switching to a greener forms of transportation.

From Alaska to Alberta

Inside a low brick building at the front of the BP refinery, I shook hands with Bill Kidd, BP's local director of external affairs. “How're you doing?” he exclaimed with a broad smile that made lines appear at the corners of his eyes.

The 52-year-old Kidd, dressed smartly in sleeveless black sweater, slacks and white dress shirt, led me to what passes here as a spacious corner office. Here he explained how Cherry Point is a showcase of North America's oil-boom past and its more troubled future. With the dwindling of easy oil that has gushed from the ground for the last century, the energy industry is in a full-bore search for rich, new reserves, including the oil sands of western Canada.

Built by the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) in 1971 specifically to process crude oil shipped from Alaska's North Slope, Cherry Point was acquired by British Petroleum after the two companies merged in 2000. Today BP (the company dropped the original name in 2001) has become North America's largest oil and gas producer. The company generated profits of US$16.6 billion in 2010 even after a deadly explosion at its offshore Gulf of Mexico Macondo rig created the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

For over a decade, the massive Prudhoe Bay reserves and other frigid deposits nearby helped supply refineries on the west coast. Indeed Cherry Point still memorializes those early glory days with a four-foot tall sculpture of a flower with sheet metal petals surrounding an old Prudhoe Bay drill bit.

But production, which peaked at 2.1 million barrels per day in 1989, “has fallen off a cliff,” Kidd told me. Today, daily yield has plummeted to just over 600,000 barrels.  

The refinery now sources only half its oil from Alaska, with places as varied as West Africa and Russia helping make up the difference, Kidd said. Most significantly, up to 14 percent of Cherry Point's current crude supply can be traced back to Alberta's vast oil sands reserves, according to trade research conducted by the Borealis Centre for Environment and Trade Research, based on data from the U.S. Department of Energy.

“How much we use specifically is sensitive information,” Kidd told me when I asked him about the figure. “But that is not an outlandish number.”

From Crude to Can

About 90 percent of the crude oil that gets pumped into Cherry Point comes out as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel - the bread and butter of North America's refining industry. But the Washington state complex is unique in that it is one of the world's leading providers of a substance essential to the aluminum industry.

When transportation fuels are separated from crude oil, they leave behind a tarry residue. Break down that substance with high temperatures and pressure, and it becomes petroleum coke, a valuable industrial solid. Petcoke, as it is known, gives off intense heat when it burns, making it ideal for the production of cement, steel and certain specialty chemicals. It is also extremely carbon-intensive, releasing almost double the greenhouse emissions of natural gas.

At Cherry Point, some of this petcoke is sent via conveyor belt to the calciner, a collection of large hearths that Kidd compared to a “2,300F degree coffee roaster.”

The finished product, “calcined coke,” is then loaded onto tankers and shipped to aluminum smelters in Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Canada, and South Africa, according to Borealis. Those smelters in turn outsource their metal to beverage can producers around the world.

When you follow the supply chain all the way back, “one in six aluminum cans is made using BP Cherry Point's calcinated coke,” the company's website brags.

It used to be that most of the refinery's output stayed onshore, Kidd said. Only a generation ago, the U.S. aluminum industry was thriving, shipping 7.3 million tons of metal in 1973, up 21 percent from the year before.

But a booming trend towards global trade hit domestic smelters fast and hard. “Nearly all our aluminum in the next century is probably going to come from offshore countries,” a spokesperson from Ferndale's smelter, only a few kilometers south of Cherry Point, lamented in 1986. The industry could not escape the same economic factors that killed off domestic steel production: relatively high labor and energy costs.

Energy Security

Tune into any discussion on the future of U.S. oil supply and you're going to hear the phrase “energy security” an awful lot. . The debate's gained even more urgency since the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) announced late last year that world conventional oil production likely peaked in 2006.

Critics of continued reliance on fossil fuels argue that these dwindling conventional oil reserves mandate a switch to renewable or even nuclear power. The oil industry however is banking on a different strategy. Notably Republican legislators in the U.S., oil industry lobbyists and Canada's own prime minister, Stephen Harper, have seized onto this fear as a way to promote the oil sands business.

Cherry Point, by relying on the oil sands for up to 14 percent of its crude supply, is helping push the shift from crude oil to unconventional sources. And though the refinery isn't currently considering the pricey upgrades that would let it process even more, BP's Kidd said the prospect isn't too hard to imagine.

“This refinery was built when you had a huge pool of crude in Alaska, the biggest gasoline markets in the world in California and we were right in between. Now you're just moving the supply a little bit east,” he said. “I think it's reasonable to think that more [oil sands] will come this way.”

The refinery's supply-chain narrative - once mighty oil fields in decline, greater reliance on higher-carbon unconventional sources - is being replayed globally. Other North American refineries - such as BP's Whiting complex in Indiana - have invested billions of dollars to handle fast-growing shipments of oil sands crude.

The plan to bring the oil industry into line with changing conditions also includes Keystone XL, a proposed 3,200 kilometer mega-pipeline that travels south from the Canadian province of Alberta to refineries lining the Gulf coast of Texas.

Supporters such as TransCanada, the company proposing to build it, say Keystone XL would “reduce dependence on foreign oil from the Middle East and Venezuela,” and thereby “improve U.S. energy security.”

Toxic “Mordor”

One of the main reasons why environmental activists oppose this strategy is the impact that the extraction of oil sands have on the province of Alberta, a thousand kilometers to the north west of Cherry Point.

There are up to an estimated 2.5 trillion barrels of crude waiting to be extracted in Alberta. This makes the oil sands North America's largest single source of petroleum, far surpassing Saudi Arabia. But developing those reserves is not an easy - or pretty -- task. Each barrel of oil sands crude must either be clawed from frigid muskeg bogs with industrial-scale shovels, or melted out of underground formations with high-pressure steam and toxic chemicals.

A United Nations water advisor in 2008 compared the region's strip-mined panoramas and sprawling toxic lakes to Mordor, the fictional dark realm of Middle Earth created by J. R. R. Tolkien.

“The air is foul, the water is being drained and poisoned and giant tailing ponds line the Athabasca River,” Canadian environmentalist and author Maude Barlow said at the time.

Alberta's oil sands industry also produces 23 percent more greenhouse gas emissions per barrel than more conventional operations such as those in Prudhoe Bay, a recent European Union report estimated.

The provincial government has argued that report is “unfair” because it uses out-of-date figures. And in 2009 outgoing premier Ed Stelmach told an economic forum in Geneva, Switzerland, that “no matter which extraction method is used, Alberta has some of the most stringent environmental regulations in the world.”

Climate Change Threat

The other reason that critics cite in opposing the oil sand industry is global warming. Only days after I drove to Cherry Point, delegates from more than 180 countries were gathering in Bonn, Germany, for two weeks of climate talks. The mood on day one was sombre as they were confronted by an IEA report showing that greenhouse gases were at record highs, despite 20 years of attempts to control them.

“A serious setback,” is how the IEA's chief economist, Fatih Birol, described the figures.

Part of the reason is that global oil consumption is not going down even though supplies of easy-to-access conventional oil, the very commodity that made a global trade in aluminum cans possible, likely peaked five years ago, as the IEA pointed out last November.

Instead the IEA expects that oil sands, oil shale and extra heavy crude - among the most greenhouse gas-intensive fuel sources on the planet - are filling the gap and are projected to make up roughly 11 percent of global supply by 2030.

This trend “risks tipping the world over the brink in terms of climate damage,” according to a 2010 report by Friends of the Earth Europe.

Yet a radical shift in global efforts to fight climate change -one of the most pressing crises in human history -- seems less and less likely each year. If the world's nations can't limit the Earth's average temperature rise to two degrees above pre-industrial levels, scientists predict that everything from global agriculture to the world's coastal cities will be in peril.

Many environmentalists believe the Obama administration can make a difference by canceling TransCanada's Keystone XL proposal, a pipeline that would pump 800,000 barrels of high-carbon Alberta oil sands crude into the U.S. every day.

“The best way to build energy security in America is through clean, home-grown sources of energy that won't run out -- such as wind and solar for electric vehicles and fuel efficiency and smart growth to reduce our dependence on oil,” Natural Resources Defense Council's Susan Casey-Lefkowitz wrote earlier this year.

Yet switching power and transportation sources are only part of the answer. Closing up my interview at the Cherry Point refinery, I asked Kidd how North America can possibly square its global warming goals with a fossil fuel industry so ubiquitous it's difficult to imagine life without it.

“Obviously,” he replied, the smile now gone from his face, “we're going to have to do something radically different.”

I asked Kidd one final question: “Could we have a global pop, beer and juice can industry without crude oil?”

“Nope,” he replied. “Hydrocarbons in general are incredibly ubiquitous in our economic engine. It isn't just transportation fuel that will be the issue.”

On my drive back to Vancouver I saw crude oil wherever I looked - like an invisible coating on every concrete overpass, eighteen-wheeler semi-truck and pop can discarded on the side of the road.

The question of “energy security” had never seemed so complex.

Source: CorpWatch.org

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By Admin (from 08/08/2011 @ 14:00:16, in ro - Observator Global, read 535 times)

 Fara indoiala, cea mai faimoasa spioana a tuturor timpurilor, devenita celebra, este adevarat, nu atat prin abilitatile sale de culegere a informatiilor cat mai ales prin calitatile fizice si modul in care a stiut sa le puna in valoare, Mata Hari ramane si astazi o figura controversata. Unii o considera o martira, altii o tradatoare dar cert este ca trupul ei de serpoaica nu lasa pe nimeni indiferent. Venita pe lume in casa unui palarier sarac din orasul olandez Leenwarden, pe numele ei adevarat Margaretha Geertruida Zeele a fost inca de mica tentata de aventura si o mitomana inraita.

Dupa divortul parintilor si moartea mamei, Margaretha este trimisa de nasul sau la Scoala Normala de Educatoare din Leyden, unde il seduce pe director; ajunsa in grija unui unchi din Haga, citeste in ziar, la rubrica Matrimoniale, anuntul unui ofiter din Indiile Olandeze, scris de fapt in gluma, de un prieten al acestuia. Dar ofiterul, un scotian pe nume MacLeod, care are aproape 40 de ani, este cucerit de farmecul adolescentei si o ia de sotie. Pe 30 ianuarie 1897, Margaretha da nastere unui baietel si pleaca impreuna cu acesta si cu sotul ei in Indiile Olandeze, unde se va naste si fiica lor, Jeanne Louise. Din nefericire, cei doi copii sunt otraviti si doar fata scapa; acuzata pe nedrept de aceasta tragedie, Margaretha divorteaza si pleaca la Paris, pentru a poza pictorilor vremii.

Nereusind, incepe sa-si expuna trupul aproape gol, dansand, si multi o considera precursoare a striptease-ului modern. Devenita celebra datorita comportamentului ei extravagant, adopta numele de Mata Hari, care in limba malaeza inseamna „Ochiul zilei”. Cand izbucneste primul razboi mondial, ea se indragosteste de un ofiter rus si patrunde in lumea spionajului si a contraspionajului. Avand amanti cu functii inalte, obtine usor informatiile  necesare, pe care le transmite germanilor, desi oficial lucra pentru francezi. Nici pana astazi nu se stie daca demascarea sa a fost pusa la cale de germani insisi, care nu aveau incredere in aceasta femeie versatila. Pe 15 octombrie 1917, Mata Hati a fost impuscata de catre un pluton de executie francez, crezand totusi pana in ultima clipa ca totul este o farsa.

GABRIEL TUDOR - magazin.ro

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A rivelare l'evento è stata l'individuazione dei raggi gamma (Grb) relativi all'esplosione da parte del satellite Swift della Nasa. Si tratta del più antico fenomeno cosmico mai osservato e, forse, dell'oggetto più lontano nel tempo e nello Spazio conosciuto finora. Il team internazionale di astronomi che sta studiando i Grb, di cui fanno parte due italiani dell’Istituto Nazionale di Astofisica (Inaf), ha presentato al congresso nazionale dell’American Astronomical Society (conclusosi ieri a Boston) i primi dati; lo studio sarà poi pubblicato su The Astrophysisical Journal.

Dopo la segnalazione da parte del satellite Swift, avvenuta il 29 aprile del 2009, le prime osservazioni terrestri sono state effettuate grazie ai telescopi Grond e Vlt, installati sulle Ande cilene. Subito dopo è entrato in azione anche il telescopio Gemini, sul vulcano Mauna Kea, nelle Hawaii, coordinato da Antonino Cucchiara, ricercatore italiano trasferitosi da poco a Berkeley. Per dissipare ogni dubbio sulla distanza dell'esplosione è stato chiamato in causa anche il telescopio spaziale Hubble, che ha fornito un'immagine a colori del cielo nelle vicinanze della sorgente dei Grb. Tutti i dati raccolti da questi strumenti sono stati esaminati da un gruppo di ricercatori guidato da Lorenzo Amati dell’Inaf-Iasf di Bologna; Ora i risultati sono stati resi pubblici.

L'esplosione sarebbe avvenuta esattamente 13 miliardi e 104 milioni di anni fa, quando l'Universo era ancora molto giovane. I due lampi di raggi gamma che ne sono scaturiti – ognuno della durata di una decina di secondi – hanno attraversato lo Spazio raggiungendo solo qualche settimana fa la Terra, a distanza di sei giorni l'uno dall'altro. Unificati sotto il nome di GRB 090429B, si contendono il titolo di "oggetto più lontano nell'Universo" con un altro lampo di raggi gamma chiamato GRB 090423 e con due galassie: Lehnert e Bouwens (la più quotata).

“La scoperta di un’esplosione cosmica così distante, avvenuta in un’epoca in cui l’Universo aveva meno del 4 per cento dell’età attuale, è di grande interesse per lo studio della sua storia”, ha commentato Paolo D'Avanzo dell’Osservatorio Astronomico Inaf di Brera, coatuore dello studio.

Fonte: galileonet.it - Riferimenti: Inaf

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Next-generation soap!

Waterborne disease kills three children every minute. This handheld device, called Kopper – which costs only $A2.50 to make – could prevent some of these deaths.

Designed by Balin Lee, a graduate of the University of Western Sydney, it removes 99.99 per cent of all parasites, viruses and bacteria found in contaminated water.

The device works by squeezing water through a microfilter, removing anything larger than 0.1 micrometre, which includes Escherichia coli and Giardia. It then fries anything left with electrolysis, which splits the oxygen and hydrogen molecules, removing tinier pathogens in the water.

Kopper is powered by piezoelectric generators that convert kinetic energy into an electrical current: powering the device requires only a few shakes.

(Image: Balin Lee/SRD Change)

Slum reshaping, breathing buildings and next-generation soap are just some of the ideas on display at the annual SRD Change Exhibition in Sydney, Australia. The show flaunts the best in sustainable and environmental design aiming "to create products and services that focus on tangible and positive benefits for society in every possible aspect", says Greg Campbell, the SRD Change curator.

Source: NewScientist.com

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Spintronics — also known as magnetoelectronics — may replace electronics as the medium of choice for computer memory. The discovery of a mechanism that produces permanent magnets at room temperature, without any external influence, may soon improve the design of spintronic devices. Takumi Ohtsuki from the RIKEN SPring-8 Center, Harima and his colleagues in Japan, made the discovery in a class of material called a dilute ferromagnetic oxide.

Mediating magnetism

A representation of a thin film of Co:TiO2 in which ferromagnetism arises because titanium 3d electrons (green) travel around the material aligning the spin of cobalt atoms (pink) so that they all point in the same direction. The blue and brown spheres correspond to titanium and oxygen atoms, respectively. Credit: 2011 Takumi Ohtsuki

Ferromagnetism is the mechanism responsible for making some materials magnetic without any external influence. In a ferromagnet, the axes about which a majority of the electrons spin are all parallel, but the underlying cause for this alignment is not always clear. A dilute ferromagnetic oxide is an oxide material doped with a small amount of a transition metal, which represents a marriage between magnetic materials and those used in electronics. Crucially, and unlike the ferromagnetic-semiconductors, dilute ferromagnetic oxides remain in a ferromagnetic state at room temperature.

Some materials have ferromagnetic constituents but exhibit no magnetism. However, some ferromagnets consist of substances that, on their own, are nonmagnetic. A full understanding of this enigma is vital for designing efficient spintronic devices and requires determining which electrons, or other type of charge carrier in a material, mediate the ferromagnetism. To resolve this question in dilute ferromagnetic oxides, Ohtsuki and his co-workers examined one commonly used example: cobalt-doped titanium dioxide (Co:TiO2). “Several mechanisms have been suggested for the origin of ferromagnetism in Co:TiO2, but no firm conclusion has been established,” says Ohtsuki.

The researchers used a powerful material characterization technique known as x-ray photoemission spectroscopy. A beam of x-rays, in this case from the SPring-8 synchrotron radiation facility, excited electrons from the sample of Co:TiO2. “The number of excited electrons versus their kinetic energies provided detailed information about the atomic composition and electronic state of the material,” explains Ohtsuki.

Ohtsuki and his team established that ferromagnetism is mediated by the electrons in the third shell—so-called 3d electrons—of the titanium ions (Fig. 1), a mechanism that has never been considered as a possibility by scientists before. The titanium 3d electrons align the spin of the cobalt atoms as they travel through the material.

The team’s discovery enhances the likelihood that dilute ferromagnetic oxides will be used as spintronic devices. “Our results have proven that magnetism and conductivity are correlated in Co:TiO2 thin films,” explains Ohtsuki. “This could make them applicable to magnetic random access memory (MRAM) or spin transistors.”

Source: PhysOrg

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Asta e marihoana nu?ei cine te poate opri so faci ,eu nu prefer astfel de fistractie deoarece am vazut ca dupa nu mai faci altceva fecit ca dormi bine,nu am incercat nu incerc dar nu opresc pe nimeni ...
30/09/2014 @ 09:34:56
By Miulesvu Corina Lucia
tovaraseilor .. nu confundati un sifonar sau turnator cuun ofiter sub acoperire.. e o mare diferenta ...
29/09/2014 @ 13:07:51
By Alex Andu
... deci şi Toma e securist, logic!
27/09/2014 @ 15:49:04
By Bogdan Sith Huşanu
Mai voinicilor,voi nu stiati ca inainte de 89,securistii erau omul si copacul,,ei acum sint si mai multi,cred ca au dat si lastari,ce naiba..!..
27/09/2014 @ 15:45:01
By Toma Pasculea
E greu de crezut că mişcă ceva de calibru în massmedia din orice ţară care să nu aibă vre-o treabă cu 'serviciile'. Cred că massmedia, instituţiile me...
27/09/2014 @ 15:41:52
By Alterul EgoulMeu
Manipulare, marca Basescu.
27/09/2014 @ 15:38:18
By Stela Andreica
DId not know such thing existed ....Interesting, It might be another source to extract properties useful for us. But I would definitely do more research...
12/09/2014 @ 22:32:48
By Lamano Conpelos


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