Friday, February 1, 2008


Posted by Landon

Manufacturing and Electrical Design students at Western Colorado Community College designed and built solar cars out of foam and balsa wood. They raced these Thursday, January 31, 2008, on a magnetized track. Boone Olearain said that he's never been so exited about something so slow. Students at the high school and college levels in this class were divided into three different groups. They spent four days on these cars and plan to refine their designs in the coming weeks. This project was paid for by a grant from the National Science foundation. The purpose of the grant, Assistant Technical Professor John Sluder said, "is to teach students about team building."

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Rolling in Radiation


In a recent study, scientists have found a fungus that actually eats the harmful radiation. This sounds crazy but fungi have been known to eat jet fuel, plastic, and asbestos. The radiation gobbling fungi, Cryptococcus neoformans, uses melanin (which is also found in the human's skin) to turn radiation into energy or food for the fungi to grow. At the remains of the melted down power plant, Chernobyl, masses of this fungi have been found there feeding on all of the radiation. This very interesting fungus could be the world’s savior for getting rid of nuclear waste, which takes millions of years to decay. Or it could maybe used in space for a food for astronauts as it feeds on the radiation in outer space. This remarkable fungus could help the United States step up to nuclear power and make it a large contributor to America's power.

Energy Bill Passed


A new bill has been passed by the House of Representatives that requires ultilty companies to produce at least 15% of their energy from renewable rescources by 2020. The bill also makes for more efficient lighting sources. It states that all 100 watt incandescent light bulbs are banned by 2012. By 2020 all lighting scources must be 300% more efficient than today's. The matter of pushing for more E85 fuel is still being negotiated. This is a good step to making America a little more eco friendly and energy independent.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Cargo Ship Saves Fuel with Kite!

by Vinny

Just recently, a cargo ship was tested in Europe to see if Beluga SkySails' new giant kite would work with reducing fuel use. It is 191 square yards and is in the shape of a paraglider. This also comes with a automated system to check the weather to see if the kite would do any good on helping to pull the boat. It was said that it cut down on fuel consumption by 10-15%.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Helium Shortage is Ballooning!

By Brandon :D

There is a serious helium shortage. Some people (like I used to) think that helium is produced in a lab where everyone has really squeaky voices. No, it has to be mined and extracted from natural gas. There are only 16 plants that extract helium from natural gas. How do we get so much? Some plants don't even work to full capacity. It's truly amazing isn't it?
What would we do without the squeaky voices? The Macy's floats? How would car dealers advertise without the mini-blimps? I frankly don't know. Do we attach fans to the bottom of balloons? Do we suspend the blimps to strings that are attached to buildings?
The Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade this year tried to repack the helium into the containers. That's a valiant effort, but it's far too late. In 2006, a tank of helium was $18. In 2007, it was $38. That's over double! One scientist predicts that all helium will be gone in 10 years at most, if nothing is done to mine and extract more.
The gas is used for more serious things, also. They are used to power high-power lasers. It is also used for a variety other things like to cool MRI machines, make flat screen TVs, and to send rockets into space. But it's the small business toy stores that are really breaking the bank for it.
Helium is running low, costing people hundreds. It's sad, but true. Helium is definitely not light matter.(Pun intended.)