News

Can a global ban on producing nuclear weapons material be enforced?

This week’s question concerns nuclear weapons. Diplomats from 65 countries are meeting at the United Nations Conference on Disarmament in Geneva this week to discuss beginning talks on a possible treaty that would stop nations from producing plutonium and highly enriched uranium – key materials used in nuclear weapons. Proponents believe such a treaty would limit the ability of countries to manufacture and stockpile future nuclear weapons. Critics point to a number of issues, such as who should pay for inspections to ensure compliance, how to detect if countries are cheating or secretly producing material, and what should be done about existing stockpiles of nuclear fissure materials. What do you think? Can a global ban on producing nuclear weapons material be enforced? Yes or no?

Posted in: Question of the Week

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Can tablet computers make greater inroads in the PC market?

This week’s question concerns tablet computers. Apple Computer is strongly rumored to soon unveil a tablet computer able to play music and video, read E-books, and provide Internet access. Several PC makers, including Motorola and Hewlett-Packard, also demonstrated tablet computers at the recent Consumer Electronics Show. While tablet computer proponents believe these devices can carve out a market niche, skeptics say tablet computers will have difficulty competing in a market crowded with netbooks and smartphones as well as laptops and PCs. What do you think? Can tablet computers make greater inroads in the PC market? Yes or no?

Posted in: Question of the Week

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Desalinating Water Using Solar Pond and Membrane Distillation System

Ecosystems of terminus lakes around the world could benefit from a system being developed at the University of Nevada, Reno that desalinates water using a specialized low-cost solar pond and patented membrane distillation system powered by renewable energy.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Green Design & Manufacturing, Remediation Technologies

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Enhanced Lithium Ion Battery Abuse Testing Laboratory

Sandia National Laboratories will use $4.2 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to modify and enhance its existing Battery Abuse Testing Laboratory (BATLab), with the goal of developing low-cost batteries for electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Posted in: GDM, News, Batteries, Electronics & Computers, Energy, Energy Storage, Government, Government Initiatives, Alternative Fuels, Green Design & Manufacturing, Transportation

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Oil Refineries Could Improve Energy Efficiency With New Method

Chemical plants spend from 50 to 70 percent of their energy in "separations," which are usually distillation steps required to separate a raw material into various products. An energy-efficient Purdue University method rearranges the distillation sequence needed to separate crude petroleum into products.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Transportation

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Engineered Tobacco Plants Up Biofuel Potential

Researchers from the Biotechnology Foundation Laboratories at Thomas Jefferson University have found a way to increase the oil in tobacco plant leaves, which may be the next step in using the plants for biofuel.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Biomass, Energy, Renewable Energy, Alternative Fuels, Green Design & Manufacturing

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Should whole body imaging be used for airport security?

The first Question of the Week for 2010 concerns airline security. The recent foiled attempt by a Nigerian terrorist to set off a bomb aboard a Northwest Airlines flight landing in Detroit has renewed concerns that current X-ray technology is insufficient in detecting concealed weapons and substances. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) already has a pilot program in place at six airports deploying millimeter-wave machines, which produce a 3-D image of the body, in place of X-ray machines. But some government officials worry these machines violate the privacy of individuals such as women and children. What do you think? Should whole body imaging be used for airport security? Yes or no?

Posted in: Question of the Week

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