Friday, October 29, 2010

Sinchrotron X rays on your tabletop

According to a press release from the Imperial college of London, a new tabletop device generates bright, coherent X-rays similar to those produced in large facilities.
Such rays are useful to investigate the structure of materials at small length and time scales.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

NSF website offline.

As researchers know, the NSF National Science Foundation is a government agency that provides major support to research on non-medical fields. As of Oct 28 the NSF website is offline. There are reports of a power outage or fire in the building, possibly related to lightning strikes.

We hope everybody is OK and things gets fixed soon, so they can get back to their regular supporting science schedule.

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

350M Renova Biodiesel project in argentina

New biodiesel mandates in Argentina will require increasing the biodiesel content in commercial diesel blends from 5 to 7%. Blends of up to 20% are envisioned for larger engines such as those used in agricultural machinery.

According to this article Molinos Rio de la Plata and other partners in Renova will invest 350 M to build a soybean processing plant and port in TimbĂșes, Santa Fe, Argentina.

Renova's current biodiesel capacity is 480.000 ton. Perez-Companc's company Molinos Rio de la Plata already operates a biodiesel plant with 120.000 ton capacity in Santa Clara, near Rosario.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Molecule-resolution microscopy

Reasearchers from IBM Zurich obtained molecule-resolution images of pentacene. They clearly show the hexagon-like benzene rings. The technique is a modified AFM (atomic force microscopy), where the scanning tip is covered with a single molecule of carbon monoxide. This change causes a slight repulsion between the molecule and the probe, which avoids destroying the molecule being imaged.

Ref: Science 28 August 2009:
Vol. 325. no. 5944, pp. 1110 - 1114
DOI: 10.1126/science.1176210

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Your own satellite in orbit for usd 8000

We found out via Slashdot, that a company called interorbital systems is offering to launch a 1/2 Kg satellite in orbit for a mere 8000 US dollars. The system is called tubesat and each one is a cylindrical container which is filled with the customer's payload of about 200g.

The size and weight is vary small, but enough for the electronics needed for transmission of data to earth and and small experiments to generate such data.

According to the company this scheme would be very useful for many schools and companies that would be interested in launching small satellites but have difficulties finding a spot in current commercial launches.

A related project, with larger payloads are Cubesats. These have been developed since 1999, with some successful launches and some failures. The cubesats had a price tag of around 80000 us dollars, or ten times more than the tubesat.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Large scale cellulosic ethanol

According to a recent report, several companies are already producing large scale cellulosic ethanol. The news comes form a recent ethanol workshop attended by representatives of Coskata, Dupont/Danisco, Iogen, Lignol, Poet and PureVision.
the companies process around 1 ton of biomass per day, which is converted into 70-85 gallons of biofuels.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Cosmetic formulas

Eckart America has many formulations for personal care products. They include ingredient lists and directions to make:

Eye shadow
Hair gel
Skin lotion
Nail polish

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