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Scientists Turn Air Into Petrol 580

rippeltippel writes "The Independent reports on a scientific breakthrough which would allow us to synthesize petrol from thin air. Quoting from the article: 'Air Fuel Synthesis in Stockton-on-Tees has produced five liters of petrol since August when it switched on a small refinery that manufactures gasoline from carbon dioxide and water vapor. The company hopes that within two years it will build a larger, commercial-scale plant capable of producing a ton of petrol a day. It also plans to produce green aviation fuel to make airline travel more carbon-neutral. ... Tim Fox, head of energy and the environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in London, said: "It sounds too good to be true, but it is true. They are doing it and I've been up there myself and seen it. The innovation is that they have made it happen as a process. It's a small pilot plant capturing air and extracting CO2 from it based on well known principles. It uses well-known and well-established components but what is exciting is that they have put the whole thing together and shown that it can work." Although the process is still in the early developmental stages and needs to take electricity from the national grid to work, the company believes it will eventually be possible to use power from renewable sources such as wind farms or tidal barrages. "We've taken carbon dioxide from air and hydrogen from water and turned these elements into petrol," said Peter Harrison, the company's chief executive, who revealed the breakthrough at a conference at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in London."

Canadian Library to Loan Out People Screenshot-sm 98

Wouldn't it be easier to learn Chinese from a native speaker than from a book, or explore a religion from an actual practitioner rather than words on a page? A library in Surrey, B.C. thinks so and has introduced a "human library" program. Visitors will be able to "check-out" real people to learn about their experiences and specific knowledge. From the article: "...The goal is to break down stereotypes and start discussions, said deputy chief librarian Melanie Houlden. 'What we're aiming to do is bring the library to life for people. There are huge repositories of experience and knowledge in their own brains,' she said." As long as you stay out of the horror section, this sounds like a great idea.

"All the people are so happy now, their heads are caving in. I'm glad they are a snowman with protective rubber skin" -- They Might Be Giants