Water

Hydrogel remembers its shape – just add water

Publication: NBC News   Date: December 5, 2012   View Article

Scientists have created a shape-remembering material out of synthetic DNA that is eerily reminiscent of T-1000, the liquid metal assassin in the hit sci-fi film Terminator 2.

“It is almost as soft as water and it is still gel. And water you cannot stretch, but this gel can stretch. That is why it is very, very unusual,” Dan Luo, a professor of biological and environmental engineering at Cornell University, told NBC News.

Drought Reaches New Orleans; Hurricane Isaac Could Add Insult to Injury

Publication:   Date: August 24, 2012   View Article

New Orleans may be the victim of a one-two punch as Hurricane Isaac threatens to strengthen over the Gulf of Mexico and the ongoing effects of this summer’s drought continue to trickle down to the Delta.

The record temperatures and lack of rain that have devastated crops in America’s heartland upstream also have weakened the once-mighty Mississippi River’s defenses against saltwater intrusion.

Freshwater flowing south from the Mississippi and salty water from the Gulf are constantly arm wrestling for territory in the Mississippi River Delta, where the river dumps into the sea. But as dry weather shrinks the Mississippi, the Gulf is gaining ground, pushing more saltwater inland. At risk is New Orleans’ freshwater supply.

High-school girls invent a life-preserver T-shirt for toddlers

Publication: NBC News   Date: October 17, 2012   View Article

An all-girl team of high school students has invented a comfy and cozy T-shirt equipped with a mechanism that automatically inflates it into a life preserver when it gets soaking wet.

Called the Watawescue, the T-shirt is intended for children age 2 to 4 to wear while they are playing near a swimming pool.

Navy aims to turn seawater into jet fuel

Publication: NBC News   Date: October 1, 2012   View Article

The U.S. Navy may need to look no further than the water around its ships to produce jet fuel, according to a program underway at its research laboratory.

The technology would free the Navy from the logistical and economic challenges of refueling ships underway.

Pond scum gets top billing as future fuel source

Publication: NBC News   Date: June 27, 2012   View Article

Algae, known to most of us as pond scum, is the most promising sustainable source of energy to meet the growing demand for juice to power everything from cars to factories, according to a major technical organization.

“There is not an infinite amount of oil in the Earth and we are using it quite rapidly,” William Kassebaum, a senior member with the institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the world’s largest technical professional organization, told me today.

Road paved with toilets gets green credential

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: March 14, 2012   View Article

If you take a stroll along a newly paved six-block stretch of downtown Bellingham, Wash., you’ll be excused if you think you put your foot in a toilet. The sidewalk contains 5 tons of crushed potty.

The project is the first to earn Greenroads certification, a rating system that aims to do for roadway construction what LEED did for the building industry – make projects more sustainable.

Electricity from wastewater gets a salty boost

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: March 2, 2012   View Article

Microbes that digest wastewater in a fuel cell to produce electricity are getting a boost from a technology that captures energy from the difference between salt and fresh water, scientists report in a new study.

“It is like putting another battery into a flashlight, you get more voltage and power out,” Bruce Logan, an environmental engineer at Pennsylvania State University, told me Thursday.

The technology could lead to wastewater treatment plants that generate electricity, instead of consuming it.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach