Amid the blast of news about soaring gas prices, came this whiff of good news on New England Cable News: A group in Maine hopes to make plastic from potatoes. Wow, we can get away from high oil prices and at the same time packaging made from potatoes would be biodegradable, right? That was the tone of the gee-whizz newscast. It sure would be nice to get a little context in these news reports. As reported here recently, the economics of using crops as a feedstock are way out of whack, even with high-priced oil. And also as reported here, there is no composting infrastructure in place to handle biodegradable packaging. I like Mane potatoes. Let’s just eat them.
Plastic bags can become useful as either raw materials for plastics or feedstock for fuel. It's when they're not recycled that they become a major problem. That's what California's bag ban will prevent.
NASA's JPL and Caltech have achieved the mind-boggling feat of 3D printing multiple metals in a single end-part, grading from one alloy to another. They've also developed a method for combining metals with carbon fiber composites in end-production parts.
More and more robots are becoming more autonomous all the time. Now Lockheed Martin has completed a demo mission with two completely autonomous robotic vehicles performing resupply, reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition.
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