Breathe for Your Life

At the end of July, the London Hydrogen Partnership released a contract notice to solicit proposals for 60 hydrogen-fueled vehicles for the city's motor vehicle fleet.

London's mayor created the London Hydrogen Partnership to, in part, stimulate the development of hydrogen technology for vehicles to help fight air pollution. As part of this initiative, Transport for London is managing a project to procure, deliver and operate a hydrogen-fueled motor fleet in London by 2010.

The phased project will deploy as many as 60 hydrogen cars, vans, motorbikes and other vehicle types from a range of suppliers. Both hydrogen and fuel cell technology will be considered.

The vehicles will be operated by London's public-sector fleets, with a focus on Central London operation. Dedicated hydrogen refueling facilities will be constructed within the city to support this project. -- London Hydrogen Partnership


Researchers in France, Switzerland and Belgium hope to combat cockroaches with matchbox-sized robots that can mingle with the roaches and influence their collective behavior. The machines are programmed to behave like the insects and are even doused in pheromones that imitate roach scent, which roaches use to recognize each other.

The droid enters a roach habitat, interests the bugs via its motions and odor, and then lures them into a better-lit area.

The scientists hope the research will help them better understand collective intelligence. In the works are more complex droids that herd sheep and chickens. --

Vote for Me

A candidate for general treasurer in Rhode Island may have broken new ground in political campaigning earlier this year. Cable companies have cast an eye on "politics on demand," an advertising strategy that allows candidates to purchase political ads, which are then aired on cable companies' on-demand channels.

Frank Caprio's campaign for the Rhode Island treasurer is one of the first to use this media alternative to reach potential voters. Spots for the video "Frank Caprio: The Biography" are airing across 50 cable networks ranging from CNN to Lifetime. -- Caprio for Treasurer

Rain, Rain, Go Away

People may soon get more precise short-term forecasts of rainfall, thanks to tests by atmospheric scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.

The effort, nicknamed REFRACTT (refractivity experiment for H2O research and collaborative operational technology transfer), uses multiple Doppler weather radars to track water vapor in the lower atmosphere.

Measuring low-level moisture is expected to help forecasters pinpoint the location and timing of storms. Along with the four radars, the project uses computer models, satellites, special launches of weather balloons called radiosondes, and moisture sensors that intercept GPS signals.

Scientists are measuring how refraction -- the bending of light as it passes through different substances, in this case, air and water -- changes the speed of radar signals. That reveals the presence or absence of atmospheric moisture. If successful, the technique could be added to the national network of Doppler radars operated by the National Weather Service. -- National Science Foundation

Parental Advisory Warning

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the "Deleting Online Predators Act" on a 410 to 15 vote in late July. The bill would have serious implications for Web sites such as My Space.

The bill, H.R. 5319, requires schools that receive Federal Universal Service Funding to prevent the access of children to a chat room or social networking Web sites. Schools may disable protection measures in order to allow use by students with adult supervision for educational purposes, or by adults;

The bill would also require libraries that receive Federal Universal Service Funding to prevent the

Jessica Jones, Contributing Writer  |  Contributing Writer