Electronics, disposables could be inventoried, sold for cash or credits

Envision a distasteful trip to the curb to take out the trash as a pleasant—and profitable—stroll.

Some juiceless batteries - those are good for a few cents. An old keyboard might fetch a couple of bucks. Even that empty box of Pop-Tarts might be worth something.

No need to sort these discards: the trashcan has already done it, inventorying all contents and calculating the worth of this waste. Next month’s garbage bill could be accompanied by a check.

While the cost of fuel has put a damper on the travel plans of many Americans, one father-son engineering duo with a passion for RV travel has decided to combat the problem by creating a concept for an electric-hybrid passenger vehicle with the ability to improve fuel economy and increase the acceleration of the motor home towing it.

Dr. Steve Shepard Jr., UA associate professor of mechanical engineering, and his father, Dr. Steve Shepard Sr., a former faculty member and researcher at Mississippi State University, developed the idea for a hybrid dinghy pusher after the cost of fuel curtailed both families’ traveling plans.

Michael B. McElroyA team of environmental scientists from Harvard and Tsinghua University demonstrated the enormous potential for wind-generated electricity in China. Using extensive metrological data and incorporating the Chinese government's energy bidding and financial restrictions for delivering wind power, the researchers estimate that wind alone has the potential to meet the country's electricity demands projected for 2030.

The switch from coal and other fossil fuels to greener wind-based energy could also mitigate CO2 emissions, thereby reducing pollution. The report appeared as a cover story in the September 11th issue of Science.

by David Chandler, News Office

New analysis could lead to better lunar, Mars spacesuits

Anyone who has watched videos of the Apollo astronauts moving across the surface of the moon has noticed the unusual loping gait they sometimes adopted and their slow, almost graceful, movements. Now a new analysis by MIT researchers shows why astronauts moved around this way in their heavy Apollo-era space suits - and provides a mathematical method for evaluating new spacesuit designs for the moon and Mars and their effects on the efficiency of locomotion.

Annette Von Jouanneby Elizabeth Rusch

She was in the water when the epiphany struck. Of course, Annette von Jouanne was always in the water, swimming in lakes and pools as she was growing up around Seattle, and swimming distance freestyle competitively in high-school and college meets. There's even an exercise pool in her basement, where she and her husband (a former Olympic swimmer for Portugal) and their three kids have spent a great deal of time...swimming.

Borrowing from Mother Nature, a team of MIT researchers has built a school of swimming robo-fish that slip through the water just as gracefully as the real thing, if not quite as fast.

Mechanical engineers Kamal Youcef-Toumi and Pablo Valdivia Y Alvarado have designed the sleek robotic fish to more easily maneuver into areas where traditional underwater autonomous vehicles can't go. Fleets of the new robots could be used to inspect submerged structures such as boats and oil and gas pipes; patrol ports, lakes and rivers; and help detect environmental pollutants.

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This news service is provided by Good Samaritan Institute, located in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.

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