Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Eye-popping bug photos

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
"The Quantum Factor" – Apr 10, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Galaxies, Universe, Intelligent design, Benevolent design, Aliens, Nikola Tesla (Quantum energy), Inter-Planetary Travel, DNA, Genes, Stem Cells, Cells, Rejuvenation, Shift of Human Consciousness, Spontaneous Remission, Religion, Dictators, Africa, China, Nuclear Power, Sustainable Development, Animals, Global Unity.. etc.) - (Text Version)

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

(Live Kryon Channelings was given 7 times within the United Nations building.)

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“… 4 - Energy (again)

The natural resources of the planet are finite and will not support the continuation of what you've been doing. We've been saying this for a decade. Watch for increased science and increased funding for alternate ways of creating electricity (finally). Watch for the very companies who have the most to lose being the ones who fund it. It is the beginning of a full realization that a change of thinking is at hand. You can take things from Gaia that are energy, instead of physical resources. We speak yet again about geothermal, about tidal, about wind. Again, we plead with you not to over-engineer this. For one of the things that Human Beings do in a technological age is to over-engineer simple things. Look at nuclear - the most over-engineered and expensive steam engine in existence!

Your current ideas of capturing energy from tidal and wave motion don't have to be technical marvels. Think paddle wheel on a pier with waves, which will create energy in both directions [waves coming and going] tied to a generator that can power dozens of neighborhoods, not full cities. Think simple and decentralize the idea of utilities. The same goes for wind and geothermal. Think of utilities for groups of homes in a cluster. You won't have a grid failure if there is no grid. This is the way of the future, and you'll be more inclined to have it sooner than later if you do this, and it won't cost as much….”

"Fast-Tracking" - Feb 8, 2014 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Reference to Fukushima / H-bomb nuclear pollution and a warning about nuclear > 20 Min)

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change
In a bid to combat climate change, US President Barack Obama announced the Clean Power Plan on Monday, marking the first time power plants have been targeted by mandatory regulations on carbon dioxide emissions in the US.
Google: Earthday 2013

Friday, June 29, 2012

The global boom in wind energy

Deutsche Welle, 29 June 2012

Wind energy provides 3 percent of the global demand for electricity and will soon be delivering more electricity than nuclear power plants. Investment last year amounted to 50 million euros.

Wind energy is booming around the world. In Spain and Denmark, wind energy provides 20 percent of the electricity supply and in Germany 10 percent. Experts predict that the figure will rise to between 20 and 25 percent in Germany by 2020.

According to statistics released by the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA), wind turbines with a total output capacity of around 40 gigawatts were newly deployed last year. By the end of 2011, global output was around 237 gigawatts. This equates to the energy output of around 280 nuclear power plants. To compare: there are currently some 380 nuclear power plants around the world - but that's a figure which will diminish as nuclear power plants are decommissioned over the next few years.

Output to quadruple by 2020

The increase in capacity is proceeding quickly: every year there are 20 percent more turbines and the WWEA forecasts that output will quadruple to over 1,000 gigawatts by 2020.
Chinais taking a leading role in this process: in 2011, almost half of the new capacity was created there and it's now ahead of both the US and Germany as the leading wind-energy nation in absolute terms. But EU countries like Denmark, Spain and Germany beat China on wind energy per head. Only 3 percent of China's power comes from wind.

Cheap and clean

Wind energy is good for the environment and climate-friendly, but the reason for the worldwide boom is mainly the price. Electricity from wind turbines is often the cheapest source of energy. According to Stefan Gsänger, director of the WWEA, the current price for a kilowatt hour of electricity from new wind turbines on land is between 0.05 to 0.09 euros ($0.06 - $0.11). "That's why wind energy is one of the most popular sources of energy," Gsänger told DW. 

Gsänger says wind energy
still requires political support
In comparison, electricity from modern coal-burning power plants costs around 0.07 euros ($0.09) in Europe. But calculations by the EU and the German Ministry of the Environment indicate that the true cost of coal electricity is twice that. The soot from power plants is responsible for respiratory diseases, putting a financial strain on the healthcare system. The cost of electricity from modern power plants powered by other fossil fuels or nuclear power is also higher than that from land-based wind turbines.

Guaranteed price

Even though wind energy is already among the cheapest of energy sources, Gsänger believes it still needs political support in the form of a guaranteed rather than a higher price. A legally binding purchase price is needed before banks are prepared to offer credit. Gsänger named the example of Turkey: "There, the guaranteed price is lower than the market price. Nevertheless, the guarantee is necessary in order for banks to finance wind farms. And I see that as a prospect in other countries."

Microcredit finance

The right financial tools are important if wind energy is to be successful. Unlike fossil-fuel power plants, the costs of wind energy are tied up above all in investment. In less developed regions, finance is a major problem - that's why there's scarcely any wind energy in many African nations.

As a way of dealing with that problem, Gsänger would like to see the use of microfinancing schemes, such as the Nobel Prize winner Mohammad Yunus has set up in Bangladesh, financing small wind turbines: "That means that businesses who supply the wind turbines also provide the credit. The electricity consumers then pay it back monthly but only have to pay once the turbines are delivering electricity."

The logistics involved in offshore wind farms means the energy they
produce is more expensive

Turbine trends

There have been major developments in wind turbine technology over the past few years. There are now taller wind turbines for low-wind regions and extra large rotor blades for greater efficiency. More offshore wind parks are also being built. The installation and maintenance of wind turbines at sea is expensive, costing 0.18 to 0.20 euros ($0.19-$0.25) per kilowatt hour - twice as much as for electricity produced from wind turbines on land. 

Another very different trend is that of small wind turbines for use in houses, small villages and industrial purposes. Over half a million turbines have been installed to date, the majority in the USA and China. Wind turbines are particularly cost effective for many people in developing countries and regions which would otherwise be unable to have electricity. Even users in developed countries increasingly benefit from using wind energy which is cheaper than that provided by most energy suppliers. Experts predict that the market for small wind turbine technology will grow significantly in the long-term.

Community-owned wind farms 

Small turbines are being used in
households and on a local level
Over half of all wind turbines in Germany are owned by local residents, farmers and local authorities. Hermann Albers, president of the German Wind Energy Association, believes that this has massively improved the acceptance of wind turbines among local communities as they directly profit from the sale of electricity.

The enthusiasm for large wind farms owned by private investors is nowhere near as strong, Albers told DW. Albers is himself a farmer and has established a number of community wind farms together with other farmers and local communities over the past 20 years. "Nowadays, we experience a high level of acceptance for community wind farms. In many cases, over half of the local population wants to invest in wind energy. People have really understood the opportunity it provides."

The WWEA sees community-owned wind farms as the best way of speeding up the global introduction of environmentally friendly energy generation. Its upcoming World Wind Energy Conference, which is taking place in Bonn from July 3 to 5, has been given the motto: "Community Power - Citizen's Power."

Author: Gero Rueter / hw

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

How Norway can help Germany store green energy

Deutsche Welle, 26 June 2012

As Germany moves from nuclear to renewable energy, a subsea power cable between Norway and Germany may help keep the lights on whenever nature isn't generating power.

It's night in Germany. There is no wind; the giant wind turbine rotors stand still. There is no sun to operate solar panels. Yet television sets are running and refrigerators humming in brightly-lit households across the nation - powered by green electricity!

It's an environmentalist's dream and it is on the verge of coming true.

Under the name Nord.Link, Germany and Norway have planned a subsea power cable between the two countries that would transmit power from renewable sources in Germany to Norway, store it there and transmit it back when needed.

600 kilometers of cable

Norwayhas numerous reservoirs - excess German electricity could be used to fill them with water. And whenever Germany doesn't have enough solar and wind power for its needs, the water retained in Norway could produce energy which would flow back to Germany.

Beginning in 2018, a 600-kilometer long, direct current cable at the bottom of the North Sea is scheduled to connect the German and Norwegian electricity grids. According to the plans, the cable will run between southern Norway and the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein. It will have a capacity of 1,400 megawatts and will be able to balance fluctuations in the production of wind and solar energy.

First step

The project has been in the works for years but was shelved for a lack of funding. But now the parties have come up with a solution that is to the liking of both sides: Norway's state-run energy company Statnett is to shoulder half of the cost of between 1 and 2 billion euros, while Dutch power provider Tennet and Germany's state-owned Development Loan Corporation (KfW) split the remaining half.

Overhead powerlines are controversial in many areas

There's already a cable between Norway and the Netherlands, and now Germany is to follow suit. If everything goes according to plan, the contracts will be signed in September, and six years later, electricity should flow through the Nord.Link cable. Britain, Scotland and Iceland have also shown a keen interest in using Norway's hydro storage power plants for their own national electricity supply.

Should they, too, be hooked up to the Norwegian network an entire system of cables would line the bottom of the North Sea.

European power reservoir

The environmental organization Greenpeace endorses the project on the grounds that it would help increase the percentage of renewable energy in electricity production. "It makes a lot of sense, particularly with regard to offshore wind parks," Sven Teske, an energy expert with Greenpeace International, told DW.

But, said Teske, there will be even more green energy in future, so the capacity of the new cable is still not adequate: offshore wind generation alone is "being expanded to a likely minimum of 20,000 to 25,000 megawatts."

But Nord.Link is a step in the right direction, Teske said: "With an entire network of cables in the North Sea, it wouldn't just be offshore wind energy which could be utilized more efficiently." It would also be possible "to distribute the great solar power potential Germany has, in particular during the summer months." The cable system in the North Sea could even form part of a pan-European network to "hook up with existing storage power plants which already exist in Austria and Switzerland."

That's likely to be much more difficult than the connection with Norway. Nord.Link is invisible, the cable lies at the bottom of the sea. But an overland network would require high-voltage power lines that often provoke massive opposition.

Cable concerns

Norway, too, sees protests against such power lines, but they are much more pronounced in densely-populated central Europe. It's not only individuals who are up in arms against these "power highways;" the German Farmers Association has also announced its opposition. "There are plans for 4,000 kilometers of power lines crossing our agricultural areas," the group's president, Gerd Sonnleitner, has said. "We will not put up with that."

Sven Teske says 4,000 kilometers of power cables is an exaggerated figure. It all depends, he says, on "how the mix of energy from different sources is set up."

Central, large-scale power stations will play less of a role in Germany's energy supply as the country switches from conventional to renewable energy. And the more decisively that change is made, the quicker the process will be. Greenpeace says that fewer new power lines would be needed in order to distribute power from many small power plants: they estimate that 1,000 to 1,500 kilometers would be enough.

Author: Dirk Kaufmann / db
Editor: Michael Lawton
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Monday, June 25, 2012

Carbon Buckyball Solar Panels Absorb More Light, MIT Says

Bloomberg, by Christopher Martin - Jun 21, 2012

Spherical fullerene molecules are referred to as buckyballs, after the
first such molecule to be discovered (C60, buckminsterfullerene).
Laguna Design/Science Photo Library)

Experimental solar cells made with two types of pure carbon absorb infrared sunlight that traditional silicon panels ignore and may eventually be used to improve efficiency, according to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

MIT scientists used nanotubes and spherical molecules known as buckyballs to make the first all-carbon photovoltaic cell, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based university said today in an e-mailed statement.

Infrared light makes up about 40 percent of the solar radiation that hits the earth. Solar cells that absorb that energy may produce more electricity than conventional panels that don’t, according to Michael Strano, a professor of chemical engineering at MIT.

“It’s a fundamentally new kind of photovoltaic cell,” Strano said. “If you could harness even a portion of the near- infrared spectrum, it adds value.” The findings were published this week in the journal Advanced Materials.

The most efficient cells in production today convert about 20 percent of the energy in sunlight into electricity. Boosting the efficiency of traditional solar power panels has helped lower costs to below that of diesel generators in many regions.

More work on the carbon cells is needed to improve their conversion rate to greater than than the 0.1 percent the team at MIT produced, said Rishabh Jain, a graduate student and lead author of the journal article.

“We are very much on the path to making very high- efficiency, near-infrared solar cells,” he said in the statement. “It’s pretty clear to us the kinds of things that need to happen to increase the efficiency,” including more precise control of the shape and thickness of the carbon layers.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Martin in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bee swarm attack lands Thailand monks in hospital

BBC News, 24 June 2012

Related Stories 

Dozens of novice monks have been taken to hospital after an attack by a swarm of bees in northern Thailand.

The monks were cleaning the Chedi Luang temple in Chiang Mai province on Saturday when the attack took place.

The Bangkok Post said more than 70 monks were admitted to hospital, quoting one doctor as saying he had seen 19 in serious condition.

Bee stings typically cause skin rashes and nausea but multiple attacks are more serious and occasionally deadly.

Temple abbot Phra Ratcha Jetiyajarn told the Post that 76 monks had been taken to three regional hospitals.

The paper quoted Naren Chotirosnimitr, the director of the Maharaj Nakorn hospital in Chiang Mai, as saying 53 had been treated there, with six arriving in a coma suffering with low blood pressure.

Most of the monks were later discharged.

The abbot said the bees were from hives kept at the temple. They had been no problem previously and it was unclear why they had attacked, he said.

Solar Plane Makes Successful Flight Over Moroccan Desert

Jakarta Globe, June 22, 2012

Swiss-made Solar-powered aircraft the Solar Impulse piloted by Bertrand
Piccard of Switzerland prepares for take-off from Rabat on June 21, 2012
for a voyage across the Moroccan desert to Ouarzazate. AFP Photo/
Abdelhak Senna)
Related articles

A solar-powered plane early Friday completed a flight over the Moroccan desert to showcase renewable energy, as a key summit in Rio discussed “greening” the world economy.

The Swiss-made Solar Impulse landed in Ouarzazate at 26 minutes after midnight (2326 GMT) after having taken off from Rabat at dawn on Thursday.

“Once again, the flight was magnificent,” Borschberg said shortly before landing.

Earlier, during the flight, pilot Andre Borschberg told AFP by satellite telephone from his cockpit said he was optimistic about the chances of success.

“The sky is magnificently beautiful and I am pretty confident of arriving at the destination,” pilot Andre Borschberg said.

“I can see far away the Moroccan coast in a superb blue... Today everything seems possible. In Ouarzazate, the weather forecast is good,” he added.

“Mother Nature seems to be more favorable than the last time.”

An earlier attempt to reach Ouarzazate last week was foiled by rough conditions but the giant sun-powered plane.

When Borschberg made his first attempt to cross the desert on June 13, he had to turn round because of strong winds and turbulence near the Atlas mountains.

This was the final stage of a trip that has taken him from his native Switzerland to Spain and then to Morocco.

Earlier this month, fellow inventor and adventurer Bertrand Piccard — who made the first non-stop around-the-world balloon flight 13 years ago — flew Solar Impulse from Madrid to Rabat.

It was the first-ever flight between two continents by an aircraft that does not require a single drop of fuel.

“Our journey shows that there are other ways of saving energy and of saving the environment and the planet,” Borschberg told AFP from the cockpit of his plane, which looks like a giant glider.

At one point, about half-way into the final and toughest leg of the solar plane’s trip, the craft was flying over the Atlantic towards the port city of Casablanca at a speed of about 62 kilometers per hour (38.6 mph).

Friday’s landing point, Ouarzazate, is where the Moroccan authorities plan to build the largest solar power station in the world.

Speaking of his foiled bid the previous week, Borschberg said people “should not talk of failure, but of experience. It’s training, you learn a lot of things.”

The flight was described as the most challenging Solar Impulse has yet faced because of the arid, baking hot nature of the terrain and the proximity of the mountains, which are more than 3,000 meters (9,800 feet) high.

The giant high-tech aircraft, which has the wingspan of a jumbo jet but weighs no more than a medium-sized car, is fitted with 12,000 solar cells feeding four electric motors driving propellers.

Ouarzazate is 550 kilometers (340 miles) from the Moroccan capital. The flight took more than 17 and a half hours, slightly more than the 16 hours they had estimated.

But the prototype aircraft has a slow speed and was to some extent at the mercy of the unpredictable climate.

The flight has been jointly organized by the Swiss Solar Impulse company and the Moroccan agency for solar energy (Masen0.

Masen is responsible for building a power station with an initial capacity of 160 megawatts and plans to raise this capacity to about 500 MW to 2015.

Last month, the solar-powered plane made the 2,500-kilometer (1,550-mile) journey from Madrid to Rabat, its longest to date and its first between continents, after an inaugural flight to Paris and Brussels last year.

The flights are intended as a rehearsal for the goal of a round-the-world trip in 2014 by an updated version of the plane.

Agence France-Presse
Related Article:

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Fake meat: is science fiction on the verge of becoming fact?

The race to make fake meat just got interesting. Two scientists on opposite sides of the world both claim to be on the verge of serving up the first lab-grown hamburger – and saving the planet in the process. The new reality is so close, you can almost taste it, Michael Hanlon, Friday 22 June 2012

This is a disruptive technology. ‘I think the meat industry will be an adversary,
 and maybe a dangerous one,’ Mark Post says. Photograph: Liz McBurney for
the Guardian

As mission statements go, it takes some beating. Scrawled on a whiteboard are the words: "We will change how the Earth looks from space!" It surpasses "Don't be evil" (the motto of Google, just down the road), and in terms of hubris it trumps even that of Facebook (also just round the corner): "Move fast and break things!"

In this anonymous laboratory on a low-rise industrial estate in Menlo Park, 40km south of San Francisco, there is a whiff of revolution in the air. There is a whiff of madness, too, but after a few hours in the company of the man leading this intriguing Silicon Valley startup, one begins to wonder if it is the rest of the world that is insane.

Professor Patrick Brown could easily be taken for a deranged visionary. He is intense, driven and unfazed by critics and rivals. This 57-year-old ultra-lean, sandal-wearing, marathon-running vegan wants to stop the world eating meat. Not through persuasion or coercion, but by offering us carnivores something better for the same price or less.

The fake meat business has been around for decades, of course, but it has never really taken off. That is because the products out there, usually based on some sort of reconstituted soy or fungal gloop, taste as disgusting as they look. They are usually expensive as well.

But the meat-fakers say they are on the verge of a breakthrough, that there is a real possibility that a new era of fake meat – nutritious, cheap and indistinguishable from the real thing, made either of synthesised animal tissue or derived from plant material – may be upon us.

'I have zero interest in making a new food for vegans,’ says molecular biologist
 Patrick Brown. ‘I’m making a food for people who want meat.' Photograph:
Winni Wintermeyer

Brown, a specialist in the genetics of cancer, is a tenured Stanford University molecular biologist, a member of the National Academy and the founder of a non-profit academic publisher. For two years, he has been working on creating synthesised meat and dairy products. "I have zero interest in making a new food just for vegans," Brown says. "I am making a food for people who are comfortable eating meat and who want to continue eating meat. I want to reduce the human footprint on this planet by 50%."

What Brown is talking about is a revolution that will remake our relationship with our planet, and with our fellow animals.

Eating meat is bad for the environment, of that there is no doubt. And the moral arguments against killing animals are compelling. Humans currently slaughter about 1,600 mammals and birds every second for food – that is half a trillion lives a year, plus trillions more fish, crustaceans and molluscs. The total biomass of all the world's livestock is almost exactly twice that of humanity itself. And while crops that feed people cover just 4% of the Earth's usable surface (land that is not covered by ice or water, or is bare rock), animal pastureland accounts for a full 30%. Our meat, in other words, weighs twice as much as we do and takes seven times as much land to grow.

And we are going to have to feed a lot more people in the coming decades. The world's population stands at a little over 7bn; by 2060 this will have risen to perhaps 9.5bn, and that is a fairly optimistic scenario. Not only are there more and more of us, but we are eating more and more meat. Demand for it is expected to double by 2050. The market in chicken, pig, cattle and sheep flesh is worth about $1trn ayear. By mid-century this will more than double, perhaps triple at today's prices, as the cost of land rises.

But it is animal suffering that usually turns people vegetarian. Meat farming is, say its critics, an obsolete technology that produces a nutrient-dense food in just about the most inefficient (and cruel) way imaginable. The problem – the big problem – is that, when given a choice, most of us like to eat meat regardless. It may be inefficient, dirty and cruel, but there is no denying that cooked animal flesh tastes good.

The idea of synthetic meat has been around for a long time. In 1932, Winston Churchill stated, "Fifty years hence, we shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium." But fake meat, aka schmeat or in-vitro meat, is one of those ideas that, like lunar colonies, fusion power and flying cars, has yet to cross the threshold between fantasy and reality.

That is because flesh is hard to fake. Meat, essentially muscle tissue (unless you're talking about offal), is a complex material. A steak, for instance, consists of tens of thousands of muscle fibres, blood vessels, nerves, layers of fat and connective tissue, gristle and perhaps bone. A slab of sirloin is a chunk of incredibly complex machinery, and it is this complexity that is giving the fakers a headache.

The hundreds of chemicals in meat give it its flavour, and its flavour and texture changes depending on how it is cooked. The globular muscle protein myoglobin, for instance, gives raw meat its characteristic pink colour and oxidises when cooked to become a brownish grey.

Fresh raw meat is almost tasteless. But when heated, the myoglobin changes colour and a series of changes, called Maillard reactions, combine amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) with sugars to give cooked meat its distinctive, tangy flavour. Biting into a chicken thigh involves not merely the ingestion of protein (easy to synthesise), but a complex interplay of aromas, textures and tastes. Synthesising all this in a lab is no easy task.

One approach is to manipulate plant material to create a meat-facsimile; this is what Brown is doing. The trouble is, I am not allowed to tell you very much about it. Before being shown around his lab, I have to sign non-disclosure agreements.

"Look, I don't want to come across as a jerk," says Brown, a serious man who seems genuinely terrified that his project may yet be undone, "but I don't want things appearing in the media that will stop this happening."

When Brown appeared at a major science conference in Vancouver earlier this year, he gave away few details, save to say that the meat industry is "a sitting duck". And he's right. There is seriously big money hovering around Sand Hill Foods, the provisional name of Brown's startup.

The other approach is to grow actual meat in a factory, animal muscle tissue sans the animal itself, and this is being pioneered in Europe.

"What are we going to call it? Well, we thought long and hard, and came to the conclusion we should simply call it meat," says Dr Mark Post, an affable 54-year-old Dutchman. When we meet at the University of Maastricht, there is no NDA to sign, no secrecy and a lot of self-doubt. Like Brown, Post is motivated by concern for the environment, but the two scientists could not be more different. For a start, the Dutchman is a meat-loving amateur chef. Then there is his admission: "This may not succeed… My family think I am crazy."

At that Canadian conference, Brown was critical of Post's methodology, dismissing it as too expensive and complex to work. The two scientists gave a joint presentation, but there was clearly no love lost between them. The Dutchman concedes his American rival may win the race to produce the world's first viable synthesised meat – but suggests he might have trouble selling his idea.

"He is a genius," Post tells me, "but he has a personality issue. He is very defensive. He is much smarter than I am, but he is not going to get this across to the public. He needs a PR adviser."

‘What are we going to call it?’ says scientist Mark Post.‘We thought long
and hard, and came up with "meat".' Photograph: Judith Jockel

Post is following up on about a decade's worth of work to try to culture living muscle tissue in the lab. Back in the early noughties, Nasa sponsored a scientist called Morris Benjaminson to see if it was possible to grow real meat in a test tube. The idea was to find a way to feed astronauts on long space flights. Benjaminson got as far as growing a small fish fillet. "Did you taste it?" I asked him. "No way," was his not entirely reassuring response. The project ground to a halt.

Since then, the baton has been taken up by a series of Dutch teams, thanks to a €2m grant from the government. The animal rights group Peta has offered $1m to the first group that produces a convincing animal-free burger.

Post's small team has secured private venture capital funding as well. He won't tell me who the funder is, save to say "he" isn't British, that I've certainly heard of him and that "he does not like to be associated with failure". At the Vancouver conference, Post made headlines with his claim that Heston Blumenthal would be asked to cook the world's first synthetic hamburger this autumn, at a London hotel.

So how do you grow meat in a vat?

As a recipe, it is unusual, hard to follow and at first glance somewhat unappetising. But if its creator is right, in a few decades our descendants will be puzzled – indeed horrified – that we ever did it any other way.

First, you take a cow, pig or indeed just about any animal. Up to now, this animal will have led a charmed life, with several acres of grazing at its disposal, the finest winter feed and no abuse.

Then you kill it. The creation of in-vitro meat does require the slaughter of animals, but the point is that, in theory, a single specimen could provide the seed material for hundreds of tonnes of meat. Only a tiny fraction of the farm animals alive today would be needed to supply the entire human race.

The next stage is to extract a sliver of muscle tissue and transfer this blob of red matter to a petri dish. Then you use a mixture of chemistry and manual manipulation to tease apart the cells on the dish. What you are looking for are skeletal muscle satellite cells – stem cells – all-purpose repair modules that are there to create new tissue in case of damage. It is satellite cells in your muscles that swing into action should you injure yourself in the gym or have a nasty fall – dividing, then dividing again in rapid succession to create new muscle.

When you have a few thousand of these satellite cells, you place them in a warm broth, consisting of a mixture of 100 or so synthetic nutrients together with serum extracted from cow foetuses. "That will have to change in the final product," Post says (an admission that, in yuck terms, "foetal serum" is up there with quivering blobs of flesh). Then you wait for nature to take its course.

After a few days, your microscopic ball of cells has divided into a thin sheet of muscle tissue big enough to cover the bottom of a flask. At this stage the dividing cells need to be checked for genetic stability. It may be possible to tweak the growing tissue to produce, say, a surfeit of healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids. Fake meat could be a health food, Post says.

After a week there are enough cells to cover 10 flasks. Then, with extreme care, you wrap these little slivers of unformed muscle around Velcro "anchors" and, in a touch of pure Mary Shelley, you give them a jolt of electricity. "This is very good," Post says. "They actually start to contract spontaneously."

The creation of in-vitro meat does require the slaughter of animals, but in
theory a single specimen could provide the seed material for hundreds
of tonnes of meat. Photograph: Liz McBurney for the Guardian

Currently, this technology can produce small strips of muscle, a couple of centimetres long and a few millimetres thick. The process is time-consuming and labour intensive – and harvesting enough of these beef mini-fillets to squash into a hamburger patty (several hundred will be needed) will cost in the region of £200,000.

It is at this stage that Blumenthal and his griddle pan will come in. "Yes, it's a publicity stunt – of course it is," Post admits. "It's proof of concept, nothing more." If all goes well, a Famous Veggie – the identity of whom is unclear, but Post perks up when I suggest Gwyneth Paltrow – will stand in front of the cameras and take a big bite out of the £200,000 beefburger. The idea is that, once Post has demonstrated to the world that his stem-cell technique works, the money will come pouring in.

To make bigger chunks of meat, Post will need to make synthetic fat ("actually quite easy") and grow the fillets on some sort of biodegradable scaffold, "fed" with nutrients pumped through artificial polysaccharide "veins". Otherwise the centre of the fillet will become gangrenous and die.

The technique is viable for any species.

"Could you make fake panda?"


"What about human?"

"Don't go there."

Eventually, Post envisages a future where huge quantities of high-quality meat are gown in vats, incorporating not only muscle fibres but layers of real fat and even synthetic bone. "In 25 years," he says, "real meat will come in a packet labelled, 'An animal has suffered in the production of this product' and it will carry a big eco tax. I think in 50-60 years it may be forbidden to grow meat from livestock."

This will happen only if consumers can be weaned off the real thing. The yuck factor will play a part, but all the evidence is that, as far as consumers are concerned, price, taste and safety – in roughly that order – determine their bulk-food purchases. Few people enquire too carefully how their regular meat was produced, after all. The market for ethically-reared free-range meat is, in global terms, tiny. In terms of yuckiness, real meat is at the top of the scale.

Few outsiders have tasted fake animal products. Back in Menlo Park, Brown lets me try one. He is collaborating with a number of well-known, non-vegetarian chefs to get the taste, texture and mouth feel just right. After all, Brown has not eaten anything made from an animal for decades.

I am not allowed to say what I tried, nor which chef helped create it, and certainly not what it tasted like. But I can say this: I would have had no idea it wasn't "real". Quorn this is not.

In the US, half of the total market for meat is in processed products – minced and ground beef, reconstituted chicken, sausages and so on – and the proportion in Europe is only slightly lower. Both Post and Brown say that they will start with processed "meat" and, as the technology matures, work up from there to fillets of steak, chicken breasts and so on.

What about religious concerns? Could Jews and Muslims eat fake pork and Hindus fake beef? Surprisingly, the answer seems to be a qualified yes. Post has had discussions with imams and rabbis, and they have said that, as long as there are sufficient steps between source and product, the "meat" will be kosher or halal. "I never expected that," he says.

This is a disruptive technology – one that threatens to overturn a powerful and established order. The global meat industry, which is populated by some very ruthless people, is going to fight this hard. "I think the meat industry will be an adversary, and maybe a dangerous one," Post says.

What the meat-fakers have going for them is a growing unease surrounding intensive livestock farming and the bludgeoning reality, which is only just beginning to sink in, that what Britain's chief scientist John Beddington has called the perfect storm of population growth, climate change and resource shortages is about to strike.

In his recent book, The Better Angels Of Our Nature (Allen Lane, £30), the Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker predicts that meat-eating may be the final frontier in what he calls the "rights revolution": the extraordinary decline in human violence and cruelty seen in the past 300 years.

Pinker argues that the brutal reality of "meat hunger" (it is the eating of cooked meat that gave humans our huge brains, as cooking unleashes a torrent of nutrients otherwise indigestible in the raw form) will mean that the "vegetarian revolution" may never arrive.

But if that meat hunger can be sated at a reasonable cost, with something indistinguishable from the real deal, then one of the greatest revolutions in human history may be upon us.

If Brown and Post are successful, the global meat industry may find itself in the same position as the makers of fax machines and typewriters were a generation ago, rendered obsolete by a new and better technology. In which case the world really will look different from space. And whoever wins the race to produce the first viable alternative for a foodstuff that has been part of human life for 200,000 years had better watch their backs.

"Recalibration of Knowledge" – Jan 14, 2012 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: Channelling, God-Creator, Benevolent Design, New Energy, Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) SoulsReincarnation, Gaia, Old Energies (Africa,Terrorists, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela ... ), Weather, Rejuvenation, Akash, Nicolas Tesla / Einstein, Cold Fusion, Magnetics, Lemuria, Atomic Structure (Electrons, Particles, Polarity, Self Balancing, Magnetism), Entanglement, "Life is necessary for a Universe to exist and not the other way around", DNA, Humans (Baby getting ready, First Breath, Stem Cells, Embryonic Stem Cells, Rejuvenation), Global Unity, ... etc.) - (Text Version)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Cold Fusion – The First Domino

ExoNews, June 21, 2012
Those individuals who have attempted to suppress cold fusion have done so for many different reasons. One reason is that the successful commercialization of the technology could be the first domino in a paradigm shift that could change the course of human civilization.

by Hank Mills

Cold fusion is not just another every day discovery. It holds the potential to totally revolutionize our civilization. The “powers that be” and the other individuals who have attempted to suppress cold fusion recognize this fact. It is one of the reasons they have worked to suppress the technology. A breakthrough that could provide cheap and almost limitless power is too much of a threat to their control of humanity. However, the benefits cold fusion could offer humanity is not the greatest fear of some of these individuals. What threatens them even more is what could be inspired by the reality of cold fusion’s existence becoming well known. The possibility of the technology becoming the first domino that sets off a chain reaction of scientific discovery is their greatest fear.

If cold fusion is successfully commercialized, our world could change in fundamental ways. One of the first benefits would be that the energy crisis could come to an end over a period of years rather than decades. Nickel hydrogen cold fusion could power the world utilizing only a tiny fraction of today’s production of nickel. Literally speaking, grams of nickel can replace barrels of oil. Also, the amount of hydrogen needed would be miniscule.

In a world powered by cold fusion technology, a watt of energy could cost one tenth or less than what it does today. Another obvious benefit is that the amount of pollution and CO2 emitted into the atmosphere would be reduced, which could mean draconian plans for “carbon taxes” could be scrapped. The jobs cold fusion technology could create (because there would be a demand for millions upon millions of cold fusion devices to be manufactured) would stimulate the economy.

Once the energy crisis has come to an end, humanity could begin using this new source of almost unlimited energy to accomplish many wonders that are energy intensive. Humanity could turn deserts into farmland by building huge desalinization plants, we could build automated recycling plants powered by cold fusion reactors, and we could even use the vast overabundance of energy to build indoor gardens that could provide enough food for every person on the planet. With transportation costs drastically lowered, the food, desalinized water, and recycled materials could be shipped anywhere on the planet.

While this transformation of our civilization is taking place — from a planet of poverty to a planet of wealth — scientists and engineers around the world could be inspired to come up with additional inventions that previously would have been considered impossible or impractical. Perhaps companies that would never consider building an overunity magnet motor would start performing research on the topic, and self-sustaining electric motors could be created. Of course, with an unlimited source of energy we could power colonies anywhere in the solar system. It is possible that the existence of cold fusion might inspire a scientist somewhere to come up with an anti-gravity drive that could allow for fast space travel.

Of course, if cold fusion, anti-gravity, and overunity motors are accepted as reality, the accepted “laws of physics” will have to be revisited. Many of the old, closed-minded set of laws physicists deal with today will have to be discarded. Many establishment scientists do not want this to happen, because they are happy with the status quo. They have been teaching and performing mundane research on “conventional” technologies all their lives, using today’s incomplete laws of physics. For a whole new set of laws to be written (because suddenly everything that had been previously impossible is being sold at Wal-Mart) would mean they had wasted countless years of their life. If they had only been more open-minded, less cynical, and a little more willing to accept new possibilities, they might have been part of the solution that rescued humanity from a dark future.

Where will these new laws of physics lead us? I think they will lead us to the stars. In my opinion, this is inevitable, if we are able to roll out cold fusion technology and use it appropriately. The evidence is overwhelming that the universe is filled with life. The Kepler Space Telescope has discovered that almost every star in our galaxy has at least one planet, and this may be a low figure due to the difficulty in detecting Earth mass planets. In a galaxy with over 100 billion stars, and even more planets, there are probably countless hospitable places for humanity to colonize. Where there is not a suitable biosphere to colonize, we could build our own space habitats out of materials obtained from asteroids. With the many technologies that will be developed due to the introduction of cold fusion technology, it may be possible that planets will become like nature preserves — places to visit but not to live in. Perhaps that is what the ETs are doing right now by visiting our planet.

Perhaps, due to our war-like ways, we are currently being featured on an extraterrestrial television program describing the most savage nature reserves in the galaxy. Wouldn’t it be great if we could go from being considered violent animals by extraterrestrial species — that have probably been around for millions of years — to a species worthy of direct communication with them? Of course, that would not be in the best interest of the powers that be on this planet, because it would be too easy for the ordinary person to escape from their clutches. Perhaps the perpetrators of victimless crimes — such as those people ‘guilty’ of the use or cultivation of marijuana — could too easily flee to another world where consumption of plant matter is not a crime. Or perhaps those who are fed up with a big government that wants to control every aspect of our lives could find a more reasonable civilization to live in.

Basically, the emergence of cold fusion technology is the first domino in a series of technological and scientific discoveries that hold the potential to alter the course of human civilization. Whatever humanity can dream of will become a reality due to the existence of cold fusion proving that NOTHING is impossible. Every technological wonder we watch on Star Trek, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica, or other science fiction programs, will actually become plausible. It is a future in which the powers that be lose their power over humanity, and the ordinary person gains the ability to do whatever they want with their own life.

If they want to start a community on Earth where they can practice their own values without interference from outside groups or the government, so be it.

If they want to start a colony elsewhere in the solar system or beyond, so be it.

If they want to roam the galaxy in a spaceship, so be it.

If they want to gain citizenship in an extraterrestrial civilization, so be it.

In conclusion, from my vantage point, it seems that a future of unlimited possibilities, wealth for everyone, interstellar trade and commerce, and FREEDOM, are part of the reason why the powers that be are attempting to suppress cold fusion. We must fight for this future by peacefully resisting those who are still continuing to try and suppress this technology, and support the individuals and companies that are pushing to put cold fusion technologies on the market. By doing so, we can kick the first domino down.

"Recalibration of Knowledge" – Jan 14, 2012 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: Channelling, God-Creator, Benevolent Design, New Energy, Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) SoulsReincarnation, Gaia, Old Energies (Africa,Terrorists, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela ... ), Weather, Rejuvenation, Akash, Nicolas Tesla / Einstein, Cold Fusion, Magnetics, Lemuria, Atomic Structure (Electrons, Particles, Polarity, Self Balancing, Magnetism), Entanglement, "Life is necessary for a Universe to exist and not the other way around", DNA, Humans (Baby getting ready, First Breath, Stem Cells, Embryonic Stem Cells, Rejuvenation), Global Unity, ... etc.) - (Text Version)