Inventor Michael Laberge is building a machine that aims to generate electricity through nuclear fusion — the same process that powers the sun. His goal is "insanely ambitious": He thinks he can do it using a much cheaper approach than that used by existing multibillion-dollar fusion labs.
Regulators in Florida recently gave two utilities permission to begin charging customers for nuclear plants that won't be completed for at least a decade. To encourage development of nuclear power, Florida allows utilities to charge customers upfront for the costs. Now there's a movement to rethink that policy.
This week, a Continental flight from Houston to Chicago used a biofuel blend made in part from algae, and Alaska Airlines will fly passengers using a fuel made in part from cooking oil. The fledgling environmental effort has many hurdles, as biofuel costs nearly six times as much as regular jet fuel.
NASA has relied on a special kind of fuel, called plutonium-238, to power robotic space missions for five decades. that it sometimes seems easier to chart a course across the solar system than to navigate the budget process inside Washington, D.C.
TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline would cut through the Ogallala aquifer, a major water source that supplies about 80 percent of Nebraska's water for drinking and irrigation. Legislators have introduced bills preventing pipelines in environmentally sensitive areas.
What if the laws of physics aren't the same all over the universe, but vary from place to place? Michael Murphy of the Swinburne University of Technology discusses research published in the journal Physical Review Letters indicating that the value of one basic physical property, the fine structure constant, may vary with location in interstellar space.
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