NASA May Use Nuclear Rockets to Reach Deep Space

Earlier this month, the NASA announced that its budget proposal includes $125.5 million to explore the use of low-power reactors as part of the propulsion systems in new spacecraft. One prototype reactor already has been built by researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. The proposed nuclear program also aims to develop a new series of generators that converts decay heat from small amounts of plutonium into electricity.
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Scientists Create ‘Starlight in a Jar’

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee claim that, for an instant, they created a star in a jar. Unlike today’s nuclear reactors, which take heavy, rare elements such as uranium and split them in a process called fission, the fusion at work in stars “fuses” hydrogen together under immense pressure – releasing far more energy than fission.

Researchers in Tennessee filled a small tube with a specially prepared fluid then shot neutrons through the liquid to generate bubbles. The final ingredient added to the mix were high frequency sound waves. They moved through the fluid, oscillating its pressure between high and low some 20,000 times a second. This, in turn, put pressure on the bubbles.

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New Timex Watch Can Buy Gas, Burgers

Timex Corp. is developing a new wristwatch that incorporates Speedpass technology, allowing the wearer to purchase everything from gas at the pump to fries at McDonald’s simply by waving an arm.
Speedpass uses a small, portable transponder that facilitates payment at fuel pumps and cash registers.

Payment is made automatically and charged to the credit card or check card of your choice. What’s more, Speedpass is free to get and free to use!

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CIA Electronic Reading Room

The Web site known as the “CIA Electronic Reading Room,” was established to provide the public with an overview of access to CIA information, including electronic access to previously released information. But don’t expect to stumble across any top secret documents – even taxpayers can’t access all documents produced by their government’s intelligence services. And keep a virtual look-out, you might be being watched.
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America’s Best Restroom Award

After almost a year of nominations and online voting, the American people have spoken and declared their choice for the 2001 America’s Best Restroom Award. The contest and the awards are sponsored by the sanis brand of hygiene and well-being services.

So where is America’s best public restroom? In the heart of the country, on a college campus, amid the storied halls of a famous institution. Call it the luck of the Irish, but a facility at the University of Notre Dame was the voters’ choice in 2001.

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‘Simputer’ – Simple, Inexpensive, Multilingual Computer

A low-cost handheld computer developed by seven Indian engineers to take the Internet to rural masses will start rolling out in May, the head of a firm pioneering the project said.

The “Simputer,” short for Simple, Inexpensive, Multilingual, is championed by its followers as a friend of the poor, but some of its supporters add that its features match cool and trendy handhelds like those built by Palm Inc. Cost $250

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Fuel Cells For Your Car

As the U.S. Congress debates future energy policy, fuel cells, which convert hydrogen and oxygen into electricity, are at the center of a new initiative from the U.S. secretary of energy, Spencer Abraham.

Dubbed the “Freedom Car” initiative, the plan will fund research and development of fuel cell-powered cars in collaboration with U.S. automakers and is designed to reduce America’s dependency on foreign oil.

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An Inventors’ Boot Camp

Denver Business Journal reports, “Inventors face a tough road trying to turn a profit, and the DaVinci Institute is trying to help them by using military-style tactics. With the goal of breaking down inventors’ false hopes in the morning and building up realistic ones in the afternoon, the institute will host its first “Inventors’ Boot Camp” on March 9.

“We’re dumping a lot into one seminar in one day,” said Thomas Frey, DaVinci executive director. “I think of the ruggedness of boot camp — it will be emotionally draining, but it will be emotionally stimulating.”

Frey said the workshop will be a very realistic portrayal of the inventing process.
“We’re trying to give people the straight scoop,” Frey said. “This is not a get-rich-quick theme.”

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Rubber Concrete

RubCon is an advanced polymer concrete that uses polybutadiene — a polymer from the liquid rubber family — as the binding material for the various aggregates to form what is essentially rubber concrete. RubCon contains no cement as a binder so that RubCon has elastic properties and it is extremely resistant to aggressive chemicals, highly repellant to water and has a remarkable compression strength.
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New Explosives Detection Technology

Eurotech Ltd announced its Acoustic Core(TM) technology for explosives detection in the Homeland Security effort.

The technology is capable of computerized automatic screening of containers,vehicles and humans for a broad range of illicit materials at high rates of speed, with low false alarm rates utilizing safe for human exposure low frequency acoustic energy. This makes the technology ideal for situations where large volumes of containers or humans need to be screened quickly and accurately.
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Cloned Mice Likely to Get Really Fat

Researchers have reported cases of abnormally large cloned animals, but new work has produced the first systematic examination of a large number of animals to encounter the problem. One group of cloned mice, described in last week’s issue of the journal Nature Medicine, had insulin abnormalities, higher levels of body fat, and weighed an average 72 percent more than normal.
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