reillymj writes: There are three known "exploding lakes" in the world, where volcanic gases build up near the lake bottom until they suddenly fizz over, suffocating people with huge amounts of carbon dioxide. But the lakes also hold methane and one of them, Rwanda's Lake Kivu, is being actively tapped as a source of natural gas to fuel a power plant on the lake's shores. The government hopes that within two years, the plant will be covering a third of the country's needs. By siphoning off the gas, engineers simultaneously defuse a ticking time bomb in the lake and provide power to local communities.
astroengine writes: "164 years ago, Neptune was discovered after a lot of detective work. Astronomers knew the gas giant was out there by analyzing its orbital perturbations, but it took decades before a German astronomer spotted it through his telescope in 1846. As the 164th anniversary of Neptune's discovery approaches, there's another reason to celebrate: Neptune will have completed just one orbit around the sun. The next (ex-)planet to do this will be Pluto, but you'll have to wait until the year 2178 before that happens."
adeelarshad82 writes: Yamaha has filed a series of patent applications for a production version of its 2005 Gen-Ryu hybrid concept bike. The new electric bike will employ the company's YZF-R6 600cc engine to power a generator, which in turn will drive the bike's rear wheel. Every Yamaha styling patent published over the last 20 years has resulted in a full production model, so there's no reason to believe this one won't make it either.
Czmyt writes: "Five individuals pleaded guilty today in federal court in Detroit for their roles in a wide-ranging international stock fraud scheme involving the illegal use of bulk commercial e-mails, or "spamming." Alan M. Ralsky, 64, of West Bloomfield, Mich., and Scott K. Bradley, 38, also of West Bloomfield, both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and to violate the CAN-SPAM Act. Ralsky and Bradley also pleaded guilty to wire fraud, money laundering, and violating the CAN-SPAM Act. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Ralsky acknowledges he is facing up to 87 months in prison...."
cyclomedia writes: "Fifty years ago today Christopher Cockerell created the first prototype of a practical hovercraft on a sunday afternoon in his kitchen using two tins, some kitchen scales and an air blower. The hovercraft went on to be the trendy new mode of transport through the sixties but remains in little use today except in military and coastguard applications, where being able to cross marshes, ice and boggy terrain is needed. Indeed the US military still maintains a fleet of some 80 tank carrying hovercraft for just this purpopse."
from the good-for-something dept.
schrodingers_rabbit writes "Despite formidable odds, condensed matter physicists have made a breakthrough most thought impossible — finding a practical use for string theory. The initial breakthrough was made by physicist and cosmologist Juan Maldacena. His theory states that the known universe is only a 2D construct in anti-de-Sitter space, projected into 3 dimensions. This theory manages to model black holes and quantum theory congruently, a feat that has eluded scientists for decades; but it fails to correspond to the shape of space-time in the known universe. However, it does predict thermodynamic properties of black holes, including higher-dimensional viscosity — the equations for which elegantly and almost exactly calculate the behavior of quark-gluon plasma and other superfluids. According to Jan Zaanen at the University of Leiden, 'The theory is calculating precisely what we are seeing in experiments.' Unfortunately, the correspondence cannot prove or disprove string theory, although it is a positive step." Not an easy path to follow: one condensed matter theorist said, "It took two years and two 1000-page books of dense mathematics, but I learned string theory and got kind of enchanted by it. [When the string-theory related] thing began to... make predictions about high-temperature superconductors, my traditional mainstay, I was one of the few condensed matter physicists with the preparation to take it up."
An anonymous reader writes: The US Department of Homeland Security is set to kickstart a controversial new pilot to scan the fingerprints of travellers departing the United States. From June, US Customs and Border Patrol will take a fingerprint scan of travellers exiting the United States from Detroit, while the US Transport Security Administration will take fingerprint scans of international travellers exiting the United States from Atlanta. The controversial plan to scan outgoing passengers — including US citizens — was allegedly hatched under the Bush Administration. An official has said it will be used in part to crack down on the US population of illegal immigrants.