Control Group (105494)
writes "A team of researchers at Purdue University, led by Jerry Woodall, have have developed a method to extract hydrogen from water by using an aluminum/gallium alloy.
Hydrogen is generated spontaneously when water is added to pellets of the alloy, which is made of aluminum and a metal called gallium. The researchers have shown how hydrogen is produced when water is added to a small tank containing the pellets. Hydrogen produced in such a system could be fed directly to an engine, such as those on lawn mowers.
The key, they say, is the addition of the gallium, "because it hinders the formation of a skin normally created on aluminum's surface after oxidation." The gallium is not consumed by the process, meaning it can be reused. The aluminum, of course, oxidizes and must be recycled. While the current price of aluminum means this won't be cost-competitive with gasoline in the near term, in combination with fuel cell technology, immediate gains could be realized."
Control Group (105494)
writes "We just got notified of Microsoft's policy on the new daylight savings time schedule by one of our consultants. Looks like Microsoft is sticking to its 'no support' guns, even for this. If you're not running Windows XP SP2 or later, you'll only get your clock patched under a Custom Support Agreement or Extended Hotfix Agreement. Will this be the push that finally moves all the 98/ME/2000 users to upgrade, or will it just be one more annoyance that they put up with?"
Control Group writes "According to physorg.com, the law of unintended consequences has struck the Ozone-layer preserving Montreal Protocol. While the treaty has been successful in reducing the use of Ozone-depleting CFCs, it turns out that their hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) and hydrochlorofluorocarban (HCFC) replacements are massive greenhouse gases. "Use of HCFCs and HFCs is projected to add the equivalent of 2 billion to 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere by 2015, U.N. climate experts said in a recent report." For comparison's sake, even were the Kyoto treaty to be embraced worldwide, its target is to reduce CO2 emissions by roughly 1 billion tons by 2012. The same report recommends the use of greenhouse-friendlier replacements such as ammonia, hydrocarbons, or CO2, but industry cites concerns about these substances: the safety of hydrocarbon cooling (mainly using propane), along with reduced energy efficiency.
"If there's a leak in a residential line, it can ignite — you have a potential bomb," said Stephen Yurek, general counsel for the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute. It represents North American makers of equipment for homes, businesses and transportation.
Manufacturers also say they could not meet U.S. energy efficiency requirements that took effect this year if they used those chemicals. "The technology just isn't there," Yurek said. ""