Daily TIPs: Mobile Fish Farms, Cars of the Candidates, Eureka Grants, & More

9/4/08

Carriers Upgrading Long-Distance Networks

Telecommunications carriers are upgrading their networks by replacing equipment designed to carry 10 gigabits of data per second with 40 gigabit equipment. GigaOm reports that 23 companies have purchased 40-Gb equipment since Nortel started selling it in April. The need to upgrade the core is being driven by the increase in high-bandwidth fiber closer to homes and more demand for high-bandwidth services such as high-definition video.

Floating Farms Could Replenish Fish Supplies

Conventional fishing is predicted to wipe out commercial stocks of fish by 2050, leading researchers to consider fish farms to replenish the stock. As New Scientist reports, researchers worry that placing a giant fish cage in one spot would cause a build-up of fish feces, and leave the cages vulnerable to strong storms. So an MIT scientist is developing self-propelled mobile fish farms that wouldn’t stay in one place long enough to cause environmental damage and could drift with storm waves.

Measles Vaccine Does Not Cause Autism, Study Finds

Public health officials are hoping that a new study will encourage parents to get their children vaccinated against measles, which has seen a resurgence this year. The Columbia University study found that there is no link between the measles vaccine and autism; a fear of such a link has led parents to refuse to vaccinate their children, says Scientific American. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 131 cases of measles in the first seven months of 2008, more than double the annual number of cases in 2001 through 2007.

Candidates Have Big Differences on Energy

Republican presidential candidate John McCain opposes subsidies, earmarks, and heavy regulation regarding energy, while Democrat Barack Obama wants a stronger federal role in developing renewable energy, according to a report from the research firm New Energy Finance. CNET News reports that the firm dug through voting records and public statements to determine each candidate’s positions on energy policy. It found, for instance, that McCain wants to scale back the government’s role in promoting ethanol, while Obama would continue it.

Which Cars Will be Hot in the Next Four Years?

Depending on whether John McCain or Barack Obama is the next president, different cars could turn out to be more popular, says TheCarConnection.com, which takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the candidates car preferences. If Obama is president, the site predicts, a Honda Accord biodiesel or a subcompact like the Ford Fiesta would be in line with his energy policies. If it’s McCain, think about buying a Toyota Prius hybrid, a Honda Civic GX that burns natural gas, or Chevrolet’s plug-in hybrid, the Volt.

New Grants Hope to Stimulate Bio Research

The National Institutes of Health plan to dole out $42.2 million in “Eureka” grants to fund “exceptionally innovative research.” The Chronicle of Higher Education says the grants are a response to critics who say the NIH tends to fund only safe research with predictable results.

Small Turbines May Not Pay Back Their Costs

Plenty of people, from Jay Leno to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, are interested in generating local electricity with small wind turbines perched on rooftops. At about $5000 per turbine, the machines may produce so little energy that they’ll never recoup the cost, reports the New York Times. At the same time, big turbines are getting larger and more powerful, and may soon compete with natural gas for cost efficiency.

Algae Fuel Company Wins $3 Million in Funding

Researchers at Arizona State University, who have developed a method of producing jet fuel from algae, have received $3 million to start a company to commercialize the technology. The startup is a collaboration between Heliae Development and Science Foundation Arizona, the Cleantech Group reports. Separately, University of Virginia researchers are developing ways to commercially produce algae more efficiently.

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