Archive for November, 2009

7 ways to generate and save energy at home

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: November 17, 2009   View Article

Prepare for battle if you’re ready to pull away from the electricity grid and generate at least some of your energy at home.

“The first thing you do is make war on consumption,” said Richard Perez, the publisher of Home Power Magazine, which guides people through the transition to a life built around renewable energy. “In other words, analyze where you are using electricity and see where you can make it more efficient.”

The reality of flying cars

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: November 13, 2009   View Article

From Santa Claus’ sleigh to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, flying contraptions with the convenience of the personal automobile have long filled our fantasies, according John Brown, editor of RoadableTimes.com, a Web database of flying cars. That fantasy, he predicted, will become a reality in the form of an “everyday practical flying car” within the next five years.

‘Extinct’ species found alive and kicking

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: November 12, 2009   View Article

The Rabb’s fringe-limbed tree frog, shown here, is one of 17,291 species threatened with extinction, according to an assessment of 47,677 animals and plants by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The frog is found only in the mountains surrounding the town of El Valle de Anton in central Panama. Deforestation and a fungal disease are blamed for its decline. Only one male has been heard calling in the wild since 2006, and captive breeding efforts have so far proven unsuccessful, according to the IUCN’s “Red List of Threatened Species.”

Many conservationists say an extinction crisis is under way, driven by factors that range from overfishing and forest clear-cutting to global climate change. Amid all this doom and gloom, however, a bit of fleeting good news appears every now and again, when a species thought gone for good surprisingly reappears.

Learn eight of these stories. The endings may not be happy, but at least their stories are not yet over.

To Find New Planets, Look for the Lithium?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 11, 2009   View Article

Sunlike stars that harbor planets are low on lithium, according to a recent study that may offer a new tool in the hunt for planets beyond our solar system.

Stars are made almost entirely of hydrogen and helium. A small percentage of a star’s mass comes from heavier elements, which astronomers refer to as metals.

7 award-winning innovations

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: November 10, 2009   View Article

Swimmer Michael Phelps earns gold medals and piles of cash for his physical prowess in the pool. But that’s not the only way to get awards. Every year, for example, scientists and engineers get medals and cash for their mental prowess in the lab.

7 colossal construction projects

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: November 3, 2009   View Article

In 2011, the last rivet should be in place on the International Space Station, a $100 billion project under construction in outer space since 1998. Once completed, the 16-nation orbiting lab will contain more than 33,000 cubic feet of livable space, weigh 925,000 pounds and stretch 361 feet from end to end, which is the length of a football field including the end zones. Check out this and six more colossal engineering projects.

Kilimanjaro’s Snows Gone by 2022?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 2, 2009   View Article

Ernest Hemingway must be reaching for a bottle of grappa in his grave. The snows of Kilimanjaro—inspirations for a Hemingway story of the same name—could be gone by 2022, a new study confirms.

The ice atop Kilimanjaro “continues to diminish right on schedule for disappearing, unfortunately, in the next couple of decades,” said glaciologist Lonnie Thompson at Ohio State University in Columbus.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach