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« Toward a greener econ… | Home | Defatted soy flour ey… »

Arctic ice melt accelerating, scientists say

28 12 08 - 18:01 Reno - Scientists say the Arctic ice is melting at a faster pace than previously thought and now believe the Arctic Ocean could be completely ice-free by 2015. Reno - Scientists say the Arctic ice is melting at a faster pace than previously thought and now believe the Arctic Ocean could be completely ice-free by 2015.

Benoit Beauchamp, executive director of the Arctic Institute of North America at the University of Calgary was quoted in an interview as saying "2007 and 2008 have been record years in terms of ice melting in the Arctic."

Beauchamp says the rate of ice melt is forcing scientists to revise earlier estimates.

Global warming and shifting wind patterns are adding to the rate at which the ice in the Arctic is melting.

Temperatures are increasing, which is causing the ice to melt much faster, but shifting winds are also affecting the ice between Greenland and Iceland, which are adding to the declining polar ice cap.

While ice could disappear throughout the entire Arctic Ocean during the summer, winter months would create new ice.

Beauchamp says the downward trend is based on computer models, though it could show some recovery in 2009. Used tags: , ,

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Liposuction doctor uses human fat to fuel car - loses license as a result

Sunday 28 December 2008 at 6:27 pm Los Angeles - A California liposuction doctor has lost his license to practice after being busted for using human fat he sucked out of patients bodies to fuel his car. As it turns out, using human medical waste in California is illegal.

Doctor Craig Bittner, who operated a fat clinic in Beverly Hills, California up until November when he was shut down for his morbid use of human body fat, was creating what he called "lipodiesel" out of the human waste collected from his clinic's liposuction practice. more

Defatted soy flour eyed as filler for rubber tires

Sunday 28 December 2008 at 6:08 pm Washington - In 1941, Henry Ford unveiled a plastic-bodied car whose panels included soybean meal as component. The feat made headlines--and history--but the idea never took off commercially. However, researchers continue to toy with the idea, including (ARS) scientists Lei Jong and Jeffrey Byars, who are testing soy flour as a "green" filler for tires and other natural rubber products.

Today's fillers are typically petroleum-based particles called "carbon black." Tire manufacturers use them in rubber to improve tensile strength and wear resistance. But petroleum's many competing uses, rising costs and ties to pollution have rekindled interest in biobased alternatives, especially those derived from homegrown crops like soybeans.

Soy flour is primarily used in cooking and baking. But Jong and Byars' studies at the ARS Cereal Products and Food Science Research Unit in Peoria, Ill., indicate the flour also could serve as an inexpensive alternative to today's carbon-black tire fillers.

The researchers use defatted soy flour that's been dispersed in water to form aggregates 10 microns in diameter (about 1/1000th of an inch). Then they add the aggregates to rubber latex and freeze-dry the mixture. This causes the aggregates to form a tight interconnecting network through the rubber.

For lab tests, the researchers mold the soy-based rubber into samples and subject them to shearing and other forces. Of particular interest is the "storage modulus," which measures the elasticity of a material. On average, the storage modulus scores of composites containing 30 percent soy flour are 20 times higher than filler-free rubber, but somewhat lower than those reinforced with carbon black.

In addition to testing other biobased filler materials, the researchers are collaborating with rubber manufacturers to further explore the technology.

A report on the research was recently published online in the Journal of Applied Polymer Science. more

Arctic ice melt accelerating, scientists say

Sunday 28 December 2008 at 6:01 pm Reno - Scientists say the Arctic ice is melting at a faster pace than previously thought and now believe the Arctic Ocean could be completely ice-free by 2015. more