Norwegians Mine Sewer For Alternative Energy

Biogas, which often means methane derived from the manure of cattle or other livestock, has already begun to be used as a power source to make biofuels so that the process is less carbon-intensive. But guess what's now powering busses in Norway?

The use of biogas itself as a way to move vehicles rather than just a greener way to make ethanol has been picking up steam. And the idea just got a boost in Oslo where city officials announced their intentions to introduce 80 poop-powered buses, and to do it not with livestock manure, but rather with human waste.


 

In case you haven't re-watched The Matrix lately, recall that your own body produces plenty of energy, and apparently much of that gets passed on. One of the Oslo project heads told AFP that a person, just by using the restroom, produces the energy equivalent of more than two gallons of diesel in a year. The Norwegians plan to use waste from a treatment plant that handles a quarter-million city dwellers; that adds up to enough energy for a fleet of 80 buses to each drive more than 60,000 miles.

 

The buses should roll out in 2010, and environmentalists are hoping for biogas to be a double whammy. If methane itself enters the atmosphere, it can be a far more dangerous greenhouse gas  than the carbon dioxide we fret about more. Burned as a fuel, however, methane supposedly emits far less particulate matter and nitrous oxide than the default bus fuel, diesel.

 

Oslo's total bus fleet comes in between 350 and 400, so if this experiment works, the city could tap into another sewage treatment plant and outfit even more buses for biogas. Something to think about the next time you're sitting on the john.

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing threat to good health and well-being

Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.

Image courtesy of Pfizer.
  • Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
  • As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
  • If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
  • Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
  • By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
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How to bring more confidence to your conversations

Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.

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  • To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
  • Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
  • There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
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Bespoke suicide pods now available for death in style

Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.

The Sarco assisted suicide pod
Technology & Innovation

Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco! 

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Scientists find a horrible new way cocaine can damage your brain

Swiss researchers identify new dangers of modern cocaine.

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Mind & Brain
  • Cocaine cut with anti-worming adulterant levamisole may cause brain damage.
  • Levamisole can thin out the prefrontal cortex and affect cognitive skills.
  • Government health programs should encourage testing of cocaine for purity.
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