Tag: oceans

Weekly News Roundup: Giant Sea Blobs Attack!

By Melissa Lafsky | October 9, 2009 3:38 pm

roundup-pic_webGiant blobs of mucus are invading the oceans. Yes, you read that right—giant blobs of mucus. Movie version coming soon.

• Hey, Obama won the Nobal Peace Prize! And it’s taken over Twitter!

• Forget polygraphs: Art projects are the new lie detector tests.

• New spectrometer-laden scalpel can actually sniff out tumors as it cuts.

• And now, for something completely different: Miami has the hottest and least intelligent people in the nation, according to a completely opinion-based unscientific survey done by Travel & Leisure.


Can Scientists Really Turn Seawater Into Jet Fuel?

By Boonsri Dickinson | August 20, 2009 10:45 am

matza74.jpgNavy chemists are claiming they can take seawater and turn it into hydrocarbon fuel—which, if it ever happens, would be great, since the ocean contains 140 times the amount of carbon dioxide held in the air. But right now, the notion of an endless supply of jet fuel from the Atlantic seems too good to be true.

Granted, the idea is gaining ground: Researchers are working on the process of taking carbon dioxide from ocean water and mixing it with hydrogen that has been split from water molecules. And Naval Research Laboratory chemist Robert Dorner has even been able to create fuel from refined seawater by tweaking a process that normally uses coal to produce hydrocarbon fuel.

But before seawater can become a gasoline resource, the researchers will have to figure out the right catalyst to use. In general, too much methane is produced when the wrong catalysts are used in fuel-making, causing fewer hydrocarbons to form—which means less fuel is produced.

So assuming it all gets ironed out, what are the chances this would ever work? Well, scientists have been able to take just about anything and turn it into oil, including turkey, poop, and human corpses—but these alternative sources still haven’t become anything close to major sources of fuel.

Related Content:
Discoblog: Robot Fuels Itself on Grass, Wood, and Human Corpses
Discoblog: Sewage-Powered Buses
Discoblog: Styrofoam Ups Biodiesel Performance
80beats: Jet Fuel Made From Poisonous Jatropha Seeds

Image: flickr/ Matza74

MORE ABOUT: fuel, oceans, water

Experts Baffled by Unidentified Black Goo Floating in Arctic Ocean

By Allison Bond | July 16, 2009 1:43 pm

gooThere’s a mysterious black goo floating off the Alaskan coast, and no one is quite sure what it is. A helicopter flying over the area spotted a strand of the dark stuff, which is easily visible on the bright white ice floating in the Arctic Ocean, and followed it for 15 miles.

Juneau Empire reports:

“[The goo is] certainly biological,” [Terry] Hasenauer [of the Coast Guard] said. “It’s definitely not an oil product of any kind. It has no characteristics of an oil, or a hazardous substance, for that matter…. It’s definitely, by the smell and the makeup of it, some sort of naturally occurring organic or otherwise marine organism.”

“It’s pitch black when it hits ice and it kind of discolors the ice and hangs off of it,” [an official with the North Slope Borough’s Planning and Community Services Department] said. He saw some jellyfish tangled up in the stuff, and someone turned in what was left of a dead goose – just bones and feathers – to the borough’s wildlife department.”

Anyone wanna go for a swim?

Related Content:
Discoblog: Beware the Deranged Sea Lions
Discoblog: The Incredible Shrinking Baby Keeps Shrinking, Baffles Doctors
Discoblog: Today’s Animal Mystery: Indian Mouse Problem Solved by…Rats

Image: Courtesy of the North Slope Borough Planning Department


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