What is jatropha? It's a weed whose seed produces and oil that can be refined into biodiesel. It's like corn to ethanol south of the border. Companies and farmers south of the equator are buying up millions of acres to cultivate this weed, which can grows most anywhere. It is also used to make soap, candles and animal feed. With more than million acres worldwide earmarked for cultivation, a Christian Science Monitor article chronicles the perils of jatropha ventures. A hectare or 10,000 square meters produces about only 6.5 barrels of fuel, according to Wikipedia and some claim the economics don't work. But jatropha, which is popular in India, has plenty of boosters including the Center for Jatropha Promotion.
During a teardown of the iPad Air and Microsoft Surface Pro 3 at the Medical Design & Manufacturing Show in Schaumburg, Ill., an engineer showed this "inflammatory" video about the dangers of maliciously mishandling lithium-ion batteries.
Science fiction author Isaac Asimov may have the best rules for effective brainstorming and creativity. His never-before-published essay, "On Creativity," recently made it to the Web pages of MIT Technology Review.
Much has been made over the potentially dangerous flammability of lithium-ion batteries after major companies like Boeing, Sony, and Tesla have grappled with well-publicized battery fires. Researchers at Stanford University may have come up with a solution to this problem with a smart sensor for lithium-ion batteries that provides a warning if the battery is about to overheat or catch fire.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.