Ccs to the Rescue: Innovation By and For the Dreamers

Dreamers imagine this: a form of electricity which emits to the atmosphere ZERO carbon dioxide emissions, while being affordable.
Dreamers imagining, you are engaging the vision proposed by MIT researcher Dr. Thomas Adams and Lammot du Pont professor of Chemical Engineering, Paul I. Barton.

Their system uses solid-oxide fuel cells to produce power from fuel without burning it. The electricity generating system runs on natural gas, plentiful to the point of lasting approximately 60 years at current consumption rates.

Such innovations like these are what we are in such dire need of. As it stands today, natural-gas power plants produce an average of 1,135 pounds of carbon dioxide for every megawatt-hour of electricity that is produced; while natural gas accounts for only 22% of electricity production.

The system of solid-oxide fuel cells would eliminate harmful gas emissions, and only release pure carbon dioxide into the air. The process of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) would store the carbon dioxide underground. The same cell system would also produce clean water, useable for a plethora of purposes.

Carbon Capture Sequestration involves separating out the carbon dioxide from other gases and injecting the potentially harmful gases into deep geological formations, keeping them from heading out into the atmosphere.

While the cheapest fuel will always be pulverized coal, the system designed by Adams and Barton comes fantastically close.

A very low level of carbon tax, about $5 to $10 per ton, would make the technology cheaper than coal plants. Combined-cycle natural gas plants, the most efficient type of fossil-fuel power plants, could be set up with a carbon capture system, thereby reducing the output of greenhouse gases by more than 90% at a comparable cost and even with a substantially higher efficiency. Once there is a form of carbon pricing, the true price exacted on the environment by greenhouse gas emissions will be known and seen by all.

Prototype megawatt-scale plants are planned for 2012. Once the system has been proved at any size, it may be increased to fill the need.
Ultimately an instance of innovation by and for the dreamers.

Avoiding Soft Drink Monsters

The old saying “you are what you eat (and drink)” is certainly true in today’s modern society when diet drinks and junk food have become a large part of many people’s diets. Have you ever wondered why many carbonated beverages are simply not available in most “real” whole foods stores? And this also goes for all those “junk” snack foods like most potato and corn chips, candies, and “ding-dong” type cupcakes as well.

The reason is very simple: these foods not only put on plenty of excess weight, but also load up the body with excess sodium and sugars, plus a number of chemicals (including aspartame) that can cause cancer and other diseases. And drinking large amounts of cola, either regular of diet, can eventually result in kidney stones and other problems as well.

Scientific tests have proven that most soft drinks (except natural fruit drinks) not only clause obesity and kidney problems, but can cause a dangerous mineral imbalance in the body that can result in loss of bone mass and be miss-diagnosed as osteoporosis.

Diet drinks often contain aspartame, also used extensively in non-sugar sweetener in many homes and restaurants, the chemical causes a number of disorders, including a severe reaction to people suffering from a condition known as phenylketonuria or PKU. About one in every 20,000 people are inflicted with PKU in which their bodies are unable to metabolize an amino acid known as phenylalanine, one of two amino acids present in aspartame. If sufficient amounts of phenylalanine are ingested by PKU affected people, it can result in severe reactions, including mental retardation. Even in normal people, too much aspartame can result in physical symptoms similar to multiple sclerosis, dizziness, severe headaches, and menstrual problems. And excessive ingestion of aspartame is also said to be linked to early onset of Parkinson’s disease. And of course, many soft drinks contain large amounts of caffeine.

Soft DrinksThere are many natural flavored drinks, some of them carbonated; that do not contain ingredients such as caffeine and aspartame, and do not cause the body to lose calcium or are damaging to the kidneys. Best places to find these drinks are in quality organic and whole foods stores, which also offer healthier snack foods, including those made from bananas, beets, apples and other fruits and vegetables, and that are not fried in harmful oils.

All and all, you can still satisfy your desire for a cold beverage or snack without abusing you body. As the saying goes, you truly are what you eat.

Mars is breathable

I already reported this week that the NASA Phoenix vehicle discovered water on Mars. But now it appears that the robotic lander has also confirmed the presence of a chemical known as Perchlorates.

Mars Phoenix LanderFrom Wikipedia:

Perchlorates are the salts derived from perchloric acid (HClO4). They occur both naturally and through manufacturing. […] They are also used as an oxidizer in rocket fuel and explosives and can be found in airbags, fireworks, and Chilean fertilizers. […] Lithium perchlorate, which decomposes exothermically to give oxygen, is used in oxygen “candles” on spacecraft, submarines and in other esoteric situations where a reliable backup or supplementary oxygen supply is needed. Most perchlorate salts are soluble in water.

In other words, the perchlorates in the Martian ground can be transformed into oxygen! And it’s a good — although toxic — fertilizer for green vegetables.

Abdominal Brain – Introduction

Get acquainted:

The digestive system is endowed with its own, local nervous system referred to as the enteric or intrinsic nervous system. The magnitude and complexity of the enteric nervous system is immense – it contains as many neurons as the spinal cord.

A Scientific Overview:

Brain in the Belly

Conventional medical treatment for neurological disorders such as epilepsy, migraine, and autism focuses on the brain. Although standard medical treatment is often helpful, the underlying causes of these disorders are not well understood. Furthermore, some individuals respond poorly, or not all to regular medicine. Evidence is accumulating in the medical literature that the enteric nervous system (ENS) – that part of the nervous system associated with the alimentary canal – also plays a role in these disorders. Historically, the concept of an autonomous abdominal nervous system was advocated by Byron Robinson, Johannis Langley, and Edgar Cayce. The work of these three prominent historical figures is considered along with modern viewpoints on the abdominal nervous system. Complementary therapies that address the nervous system of the abdomen hold potential as useful adjuncts to conventional treatment for certain neurological disorders.

Now let’s see why this is important:

As light is shed on the circuitry between the two brains, researchers are beginning to understand why people act and feel the way they do. When the central brain encounters a frightening situation, it releases stress hormones that prepare the body to fight or flee. The stomach contains many sensory nerves that are stimulated by this chemical surge – hence the “butterflies”. On the battlefield, the higher brain tells the gut brain to shut down. A frightened running animal does not stop to defecate, according to Dr. Gershon.

Fear also causes the vagus nerve to “turn up the volume” on serotonin circuits in the gut. Thus over stimulated, the gut goes into higher gear and diarrhea results. Similarly, people sometimes “choke” with emotion. When nerves in the esophagus are highly stimulated, people have trouble swallowing.

Hemp Narratives: Good for breasts, Bad for the timber industry

From Natural News:

(NaturalNews) A non-psychoactive chemical that occurs naturally in the marijuana plant may prevent breast cancer from spreading, according to a study published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.

Researchers found that a chemical called cannabidiol (CBD) affects the activity of a gene known as Id-1 in patients with hormone-independent breast cancer.

Because CBD occurs in only very small quantities in the cannabis plant, the researchers do not recommend smoking marijuana as a cancer treatment. To be effective, CBD will either have to be artificially synthesized or extracted and concentrated.

The chemical’s major advantage, according to the researchers, is its apparent non-toxicity.

From the Ethics in Action community:

80% of all textiles, fabrics, clothes, linen, drapes, bed sheets, etc. were made from hemp until the 1820s with the introduction of the cotton gin.

The first Bibles, maps, charts, Betsy Ross’s flag, the first drafts of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were made from hemp; U.S. Government Archives.

In 1916, the U.S. Government predicted that by the 1940s all paper would come from hemp and that no more trees need to be cut down. Government studies report that 1 acre of hemp equals 4.1 acres of trees. Plans were in the works to implement such programs.

Hemp, or cannabis, or marijuana was outlawed in 1937 because it threatened the nation-less corporate interests of – William Randolph Hearst ­ and – DuPont. They had to get rid of the competition. – Hearst’s yellow journalism newspaper chain wrote scathing stories about “marijuana” – a word he made up – because he knew no one would believe them about hemp, which George Washington himself grew hemp.

Hemp Shampoo

Organic Hemp ShampooFor many years we’ve been accustomed to use soaps and shampoos that contain chemicals that damage our skin and damage the environment. These chemicals can be so dangerous sometimes, that most manufactures have to test their products on living animals before they release these products to the market. Countless bunnies have been blinded by soap manufacturers.

However, there are alternatives. Recent years have seen a surge in organic cosmetics. Usually, these soaps, toothpastes, and make-up, are made of herbs, vegetables, and fruits, without being mixed with additional chemicals or color additives.

I want to present a natural shampoo made in Canada from organic hemp. There’s no animal fat in the ingredients — in facts, it’s even suitable for vegans. The delicate smell of the shampoo bar comes from sweet oranges, and it’s both gentle and antiseptic.

This item, along with other hemp products, and even hemp clothes, can be found at Rawganique.

Have a good scrubbing!

Ambrosia Essence and other Organic Skin Care Options

Aloe veraSome days I wonder if I am all alone in my quest for a cleaner planet. Then I find a kindred spirit or read an article and know that the collective consciousness is moving in the right direction. There are many folks like myself who are becoming more aware of the dangers of chemicals in the food we eat as well as in many other household products.

I have not only been purchasing organic foods and reading all food labels but more recently I have started looking at the ingredients in household cleansers, cosmetics and skin care products. My search for healthier products led me to become a representative for One Group, a company that produces certified organic personal care products.

My personal favorite in terms of skincare is a product called Ambrosia Essence. Its expensive, but it is by far the best product I have found to help me with my rosacia. I still have some redness, but in comparison to what I have been living with for years this is heaven. I don’t know if this product would give the same results for other folks but it is working well for me.

If you are on the search for a more natural, or organic option for your personal care products the skin deep website it a great place to start. They have all kinds of products listed and each one has a safety rating. Take a look and see if you can’t find a cleaner, greener alternative to what you are currently using.

Written by Anita Kaiser

Miraculin – The Secret Natural Sweetener

Synsepalum Dolcificum, Miracle Fruit, Magic Berry, Flavor Berry — all these names refer to the same olive-sized fruit, indigenous to West Africa. This tiny fruit contains a unique chemical substance, known as Miraculin, which interacts with the taste buds on our tongue, and temporarily deactivates our sour and bitter tastebuds! In other words, after chewing this fruit, one could drink beer and experience a taste that resembles ice coffee much more than it resembles… well, beer.

Natural SweetenerIt was already known in the 70’s, but rumors have it that the FDA refused to approve it back then due to the Sugar Industry exerting considerable pressure to prevent the fruit from entering the market and damaging their profits.

Nevertheless, the fruit has gained growing popularity in Europe recently, and is used by some to avoid the harsh taste of many kinds of medicines.

In San Fransisco and New York some folks even arrange “flavor tripping” parties, in which the participants lick magic berries and go around tasting all kinds of everyday food in order to attain a mind-boggling experience.

When science finally succeeds at mass-producing Miraculin, it should radically change our culinary lifestyle.

Picture by The Banana Tree

Mercury linked to increase in Autism

Mercury inside a test tubeMercury – that silvery liquid metal that is still found in many thermometers and heating thermostats, is now being linked to increases of autism in infants and children. Autism is a condition that is found in more boys than girls and now strikes an average of one in every 150 live births in America. Although other factors are also instrumental to causing this unfortunate condition, the increased presence of mercury in our environment is now being linked to causing autism, especially in areas where the presence of mercury is higher.

A study made by researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center found that rates of autism in infants and young children increases in areas close to higher than normal quantities of mercury being found in either the atmosphere — as a result of industrial air pollution, in the water supply — due largely to dumping of industrial wastes into streams and reservoirs, and in the soil — due to leakage of metallic and chemical pollutants into the soil.

The research was conducted on a group of more than 1,000 Texas school children and found that higher rates of autism occurred in areas where mercury and other industrial pollutants were more prevalent. Some of the causes of this pollution include coal-dependant power plants, medical and chemical waste disposal sites, and the manufacture of concrete. All of these sources involve the used the mercury at one stage or another. The researchers found that for every 1,000 pounds of mercury released by either industrial causes or electrical power facilities, the rate of autism is increased by between 2.5% to 3.5%, depending on the distance from the facility and the source of the pollution. The percentages decrease at distances further away from the source of the pollution.

Of course other sources are also linked to mercury pollution and the resulting autism, including eating fish contaminated with mercury (such as mackerel, tuna, and sea bass) as well as the presence of mercury in smoke which may come from hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Countries such China and India are heavy users of mercury as they are rising industrial countries and have less stringent anti-industrial pollution laws.

Solutions to reduce this growing danger include enacting stricter laws against industrial pollution, increasing testing of fish and sea food for mercury content, and reducing the presence of mercury in all medical equipment and products. While these steps may not eliminate the tragedy of autism, they will at least somewhat reduce the numbers.

Picture by Wikipedia

Microwave ovens are a major health hazard

Microwave ovens are an important cooking and food heating tool in many modern homes. Many people may not be aware, however, just how dangerous these gadgets are to human health. For those who are not aware, microwave produce similar electronic frequencies as those who are found in cellular phone relay towers which are now being found to be very dangerous to human health and the cause of a number of types of cancer. It’s not only the type of utensil that holds the food (such as those made from polymer plastics) but the actual appliance itself that is so dangerous that some countries, including Russia, have banned its sale for health reasons.

An example of how dangerous microwaves really are can be seen in a very simple test of placing water in a glass bowl inside a microwave and heating it to boiling (like many people do when heating soup or warming their favorite hot beverage in the morning. When the water cools, place some seeds in two pots and water one pot with the micro-waved water along with similar amount of water straight from the kitchen sink in the second pot. What is really startling is that the seeds in the pot with the “micro-waved” water will not sprout!

Radiation Warning SignThere is apparently some chemical reaction occurring in the micro-waved water that will not allow the seeds to grow. This kind of example is also evident when warming up food in a microwave oven as well as heating milk (including human milk) to feed to infants and babies The heating of the milk in a microwave actually destroys much of the milk’ s nutritional value; and in human milk in particular, the milk’s natural immunity and disease fighting attributes. Heating food items, especially on high heat, also severely alters the bio-chemistry composition of the food, which can have a negative affect on humans, including changes in the body’s blood chemistry.

Other negative effects from microwave ovens include brain damage by causing electrical impulses in the brain to simply “short out”, reducing or altering the nutritional content of ingested food. Eating micro-waved foods also have been found to cause heart attacks and cancers, and can result in memory loss, lack of concentration, and even lower intelligence.

The connection to microwaving foods in plastic containers has been known for some time, and even though many plastic containers are noted to cause cancers, using a microwave has now been found to cause cancer cells to increase in the human blood.

So, taking all of the above into account, there are many reasons for “retiring” your microwave oven before it is too late!

Source: Natural News