• Wastewater treatment lowers pathogen levels

    New analysis shows that pathogens levels in municipal water have dropped since the implementation of federal regulations on treating sewage in 1993; these treatment guidelines have proven to be extremely effective with 94 percent to 99 percent of all pathogens in biosolids eliminated after wastewater treatment

  • Plastic homes for quick rebuilding after disaster

    Canadian company thinks it has an answer for Haitian relief; the company uses a rubber seal to attach the plastic structure to the concrete slab used as the foundation; the result is the structure “floats” atop the foundation in such a way it that can compensate for movements in the earth directly below, while the production process allows it to hold up against winds in excess of 240 kilometers per hour

  • Former Guyana politician sentenced in JFK terror plot

    Abdul Kadir, a former member of Guyana’s parliament, was sentenced to life in prison for participating in a plot to blow up the jet fuel supply tank system at JFK airport; the two other plotters are also of Guyanese origin: one, a former baggage handler at JFK, will be sentenced in late January; the other, Adnam Shukrijumah, has now been promoted to chief of al Qaeda’s global operations

  • N.Y.-N.J. PATH tunnels bomb-proofed

    If a small explosive — with enough power to blast a 50-foot hole in a tunnel — were detonated, more than a million gallons of Hudson River water per minute would surge into the PATH tubes; the Port Authority is hardening the tubes against terrorist attacks — placing water-absorbing pads around the tunnels, ringing the inside of the tunnels with blast-resistant steel, and building huge floodgates to seal off a tunnel in case water comes gushing in after a blast

  • Half of India's critical infrastructure providers cyber attack victims

    Symantec’s 2010 Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Survey findings reveal that nearly 50 percent of India’s critical infrastructure providers are victims of cyber attacks; the attacks are said to have become more frequent and increasingly effective

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  • China, U.K. pursue major rail projects; U.S. does not

    Unlike almost every other developed nation, the United States has no national transportation strategy; the nation fails to raise taxes that are supposed to pay for roads and rails. Gasoline taxes, for example, cover only about 50 percent of road projects, much lower than in the past, according to recent Federal Highway Administration figures; once the U.S. recognizes that it needs diversified and integrated air, rail and road transportation, it could well end up importing the technologies, products and expertise it has failed to develop

  • The best place for a wind turbine: 30,000 feet above ground

    At altitude of 2,000 feet (610 meters), wind velocity is two to three times greater than at ground level; since power production goes up with the cube of that wind velocity, this means that at 2,000 feet above ground, wind produces 8 to 27 times the power produced by wind at ground level; if we send turbines farther aloft, into the 150 mph (240 kph) jet stream at 30,000 feet (9,150 meters), than power production grows from 500 watts per meter for ground-based wind turbines to about 20,000, 40,000 watts per square meter; this is very high energy density — and NASA is examining the project’s feasibility

  • Giving crowds a lift with spiral escalator

    A monorail-inspired design could help create the world’s first continuous spiral escalator; the spiral escalator could transport larger numbers of people than a lift in a vertical space too narrow for a traditional escalator; this could reduce the floor space needed in buildings for personal transporters and cut the cost of putting escalators into underground railway stations

  • China's dominance in rare Earth elements to weaken

    China currently has a lock on the rare Earth elements market: in 2009 it provided 95 percent of the world’s supply, or 120,000 tons; other countries used to produce rare Earth elements, but environmental and economic considerations led to the near death of the industry outside of China; the growing unease with China’s dominance — and its willingness to exploit this dominance for political gain — have led to a renewed interest in reopening abandoned mines; U.S. company Molycorp has just secured the permits and funding to restart production at a mine in Mountain Pass, California, which would become the first U.S. source of rare Earth elements in more than a decade; full operations will start by the end of next year; by 2012, the revamped U.S. mine is expected to produce around 20,000 tons of rare Earth materials per year

  • Biting winters driven by global warming: scientists

    A string of freezing European winters scattered over the last decade has been driven in large part by global warming; the culprit, according to a new study, is the Arctic’s receding surface ice, which at current rates of decline could to disappear entirely during summer months by century’s end; the mechanism uncovered triples the chances that future winters in Europe and north Asia will be similarly inclement, the study reports

  • WikiLeaks: Yemen radioactive stocks "easy al-Qaeda target"

    Yemeni official told U.S. diplomats that the lone sentry standing watch at Yemen’s national atomic energy commission (NAEC) storage facility had been removed from his post, and that the facility’s only closed circuit TV security camera had broken down six months previously and was never fixed; “Very little now stands between the bad guys and Yemen’s nuclear material,” the official warned, in a cable dated 9 January this year sent from the Sana’a embassy to the CIA, the FBI, and the department of homeland security; when told of the Yemeni nuclear storage problem, Matthew Bunn, a Harvard University nuclear terrorism expert, said: “Holy cow. That’s a big source. If dispersed by terrorists it could make a very nasty dirty bomb capable of contaminating a wide area”

  • China to step up efforts to control Mother Nature

    China is facing increasingly sever water shortages; the Chinese government is expanding it activities to combat extreme weather such as droughts, exploring airborne water resources, bringing water from he sea inland, and other measures to secure stable water supplies for cities, industry and agriculture

  • Engineers enhance building designs better to withstand earthquakes

    Earthquakes come in all sizes with varying degrees of damage depending on the geographic locations where they occur; even a small one on the Richter scale that strikes in an impoverished nation can be more damaging than a larger one that occurs in a city where all buildings have been designed to a stricter building code; the current building codes are insufficient because buildings designed according to these codes have evolved only to avoid collapse under very large earthquakes

  • Rep. John Mica urges airports to privatize security screening

    Representative John Mica (R-Florida), the incoming chairman of House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is urging U.S. commercial airports to consider private screening companies/contractors as an alternative to the TSA; he has labeled TSA a “bloated bureaucracy” in need of revamping and has emphasized that airports, according to federal law, still have other security options available to them