Home Brewed Biofuel
Most of us have already heard about the environmental havoc being wreaked by the recent surge in the popularity of purportedly "green" biofuels, most notably corn-based ethanol. Between the increased carbon emissions caused by the deforestation that occurs to clear fields for fuel corn, and the hunger epidemic that is the result of corn being used for fuel instead of food, the touting of corn-based ethanol as a petroleum alternative seems to be more of an environmental travesty than a step in the right direction.
A new company hopes drivers will kick the oil habit by brewing ethanol at home that won't spike food prices or eat up acres of the Amazon. The "MicroFueler", unveiled Thursday by E-Fuel corporation, is a machine that allows homeowners to make their own ethanol, which they can then pump directly into their cars. The unit sells for $10,000 and resembles a gasoline station pump and nozzle. It ferments fuel from sugar, the price of which is historically cheap, and thus avoids the Achilles heel of today's U.S. ethanol system -- reliance on corn -- which has been blamed for helping to spike global food prices. E-Fuels says it will link customers to cheap surplus sugar supplies, including inedible sugar from Mexico that sells at a fraction of the price.
Despite the steep upfront cost of the machine, buyers would see a return on their investment quickly. It is estimated that, assuming average gasoline prices of $3.60 per gallon, the MicroFueler will pay for itself in less than two years for a two-car family that drives about 34,500 miles a year. The unit makes up to 35 gallons (132 liters) of 100 percent ethanol per week. For more thoughts on and predictions about the green energy market and sustainable living, visit http://monbiot.com/
Man, hiccupping for 15 months, hopes surgery will cure his condition
A 24 year-old musician, Chris Sands living in Lincoln, United Kingdom, has had a peculiar, enduring condition, which has unfortunately, imposed a halt upon his singing career. Sands has been hiccupping for 15 months; the hiccups sometimes occur as often as every two seconds and even while he is asleep. The hiccups apparently started in September of 2006, disappeared for a while, and then reappeared in February 2007 and have not stopped since then. Sands has only been able to perform as back-up singer for the band, Ebullient, four times since his hiccups reappeared. He has commented that the hiccups really put a strain on simply living daily life—sleeping, eating, and talking become difficult tasks to accomplish. Sands has tried all sorts of remedies, ranging from hypnosis to yoga, with no luck. He attributes the hiccups to his acid reflux condition, which has in part been caused by a damaged valve in his stomach. Doctors at Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre have done brain and chest scans, but all to no avail. They revealed nothing about what may cause Sands’ hiccups. The doctors plan to insert a tube into Sands’ stomach to determine whether or not his acid levels are high enough to perform keyhole surgery. This type of surgery would require a wrapping around of the valve in order to tighten it. A fellow hiccup sufferer has had the same surgery performed on him, yet has only had his heartburn clear up, but not his hiccups.
The Blow Up Dolls of the Flower World
A certain type of orchid has been luring wasp males away from their mates. The Cryptostylis orchid mimics female wasps in order to seduce the males and those allow for greater reproduction. Apparently, the males sometimes even go as far as to leave females they are copulating with in order to “mate” with the flowers and this sometimes leaves them wih no potential female wasp mates. Much like some humans with an obession with porn, no? Oddly enough though, this deviant behavior of the male wasps has some benefits. As the article states, sexual unions among wasps produce females but females can produce males asexually. Thus, since the females are left alone most times, they end up reproducing alone and creating more males to be tricked by the orchids. And so the cycle continues…