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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Dow Falls 500 on more Gloom

NEW YORK ( -- Stocks slumped Tuesday, with the Dow falling as much as 504 points, as the Fed's plan to loosen credit markets failed to counter investor pessimism about the government's ability to rescue the markets.

Ben Bernanke's dour economic outlook in an early afternoon speech added to the day's weakness. And a report showed consumer borrowing in August fell for the first time since January 1998.

With 30 minutes left in the session, the Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) had lost 368 points or 3.7%. The blue-chip average ended below 10,000 Monday for the first time in almost 4 years.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (SPX) index fell 4.1% and the Nasdaq composite (COMP) lost 4.2%. Both ended at multi-year lows Monday.

"There is this feeling that no matter what is done, it won't be enough, " said Darin Pope, chief investment officer at United Advisors of Secaucus.

Credit markets remained tight Tuesday, but showed some improvement from the previous day. Treasury prices inched lower, with the yields modestly higher. The dollar slumped versus other major currencies. Oil and gold prices gained.

Stocks plunged nearly 370 points Monday, with the Dow losing as much as 800 points during the session, as the $700 billion bank bailout plan and European government attempts to prop up faltering banks failed to soothe investors.

Stocks initially rose Tuesday on the Fed's latest plan, but gave up those gains by midmorning, turning lower.

"Nearly every day there is another announcement where something is going to be done to prop up the markets," Pope said. "Stocks might see an initial pop, but then the skepticism kicks in."

Afternoon comments from Central bank Chairman Ben Bernanke exacerbated the stock selling. He said the economic outlook has worsened and the financial crisis will hurt the economy well into next year. He also implied that more interest-rate cuts are on the way. (Full story).

The minutes from the last Fed policy meeting were released shortly after Bernanke's speech. The minutes showed the bankers were equally worried about growth and inflation at the Sept. 16 meeting, in which they opted to hold interest rates steady. The meeting occurred one day after Lehman Brothers filed the biggest bankruptcy in history. (Full story)

Fed plan: The Federal Reserve said Tuesday it will buy commercial paper, short-term debt that companies use to finance daily operations, from individual companies. Panicky investors have been less willing to buy this kind of debt lately, making it hard for companies to get the money they need to operate.

The Fed move is aimed at creating a market for this kind of debt, ultimately loosening up the frozen credit markets. (Full story)

Businesses depend on the credit markets to function on a daily basis, and the absence of ready capital has stalled the broader financial system and hurts consumers.

"It's another step in the right direction, but it's hard to get too excited about this because nothing yet has worked," said Bill Stone, chief investment strategist at PNC Financial Services Group.

"Eventually, if they [the government] stack up enough things, something will work," he said.

The government has taken a number of dramatic steps of late to try to get the markets functioning properly again amid the housing collapse and subsequent credit crunch.

On Monday, the Fed made an additional $300 billion available to banks in return for a range of damaged assets, on top of another $300 billion already available. The Fed could expand that to $900 billion by the end of the year.

And on Friday, President Bush signed into law the $700 billion bank bailout, which involves the Treasury buying bad debt directly from banks in order to get them to start lending to each other again.

Stone said that it's positive that the Fed and the Treasury are taking aggressive and creative approaches to handling the current crisis. However, people are exhausted after all that's happened and they are less willing to cheer initiatives that won't take kick in for some time.

Company news: After the close Monday, Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500) reported a steep drop in profit that was short of estimates and cut its dividend. The bank also said it will raise $10 billion through a stock sale and that the company will need to set aside money for bad loans through the coming year. Shares fell 18% Tuesday. (Full story)

Also late Monday, Wells Fargo (WFC, Fortune 500) and Citigroup (C, Fortune 500) both agreed to a legal standstill in their battle for Wachovia (WB, Fortune 500). (Full story)

AIG (AIG, Fortune 500) was in the spotlight Tuesday, in the second of several House hearings into what led to the current crisis. The government had to bail out the insurance giant with an $85 billion credit line last month to keep it from imploding. (Full story)

On Monday, the House Oversight Committee questioned Richard Fuld, chief executive of Lehman Brothers, which went bankrupt last month.

A variety of bank stocks fell Tuesday, including Citigroup (C, Fortune 500), JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500), Goldman Sachs (GS, Fortune 500), Merrill Lynch (MER, Fortune 500) and Morgan Stanley (MS, Fortune 500).

Morgan Stanley shares had fallen as much as 40% during the session on rumors that Japanese bank Mitsubishi UFJ was going to back out of its deal to buy a stake in the company. However, Morgan denied the rumor. (Full story).

But the declines were broad, with 28 of 30 Dow components sliding. Besides the financials, other losers included Walt Disney (DIS, Fortune 500), GM (GM, Fortune 500), Pfizer (PFE, Fortune 500), Home Depot (HD, Fortune 500) and Wal-Mart Stores (WMT, Fortune 500), all of which lost between 4% and 5%.

A variety of transportation stocks slid, with airlines, truckers and railroads falling. The Dow Jones Transportation (DJTA) average lost 2.8%.

Market breadth was negative. On the New York Stock Exchange, losers beat winners five to one on volume of 1.23 billion shares. On the Nasdaq, decliners topped advancers by three to one as 2.38 billion shares changed hands.

The Most Advanced Hybrid Scooter Ever Designed! [PICS]

Peugeot HYmotion3 Compressor Concept combines C1, MP3 and Prius tech to create most advanced scooter ever

Peugeot_Hymotion3_3.jpgThe BMW C1's safety cage brought it an unprecedented level of crash safety. The Piaggio MP3's two front wheels bring it unprecedented levels of stability. The Toyota Prius's hybrid powertrain brings it unprecedented levels of fuel economy and low emissions. The new Peugeot Hymotion3 Compressor Concept -- presented today at the Paris Motor Show -- improves on the technology of all three to create the most stupefyingly high-tech scooter of all time. Of course, it does more than just adapt other people's innovations. Did we mention it has three-wheel drive?

Peugeot_hymotion3_5.jpgOn the C1, riders were kept safe and dry inside a steel safety cage, but the passenger was left out in the cold -- literally, the rider had heat vents -- forced to ride behind the cage on a little jump seat. The HYmotion3 makes room for a passenger inside its safety cell; even incorporating natty grab handles into the integrated roll bars.

Peugeot_hymotion3_4.jpgThe Toyota Prius (and the Honda Insight before it) uses an electric/gasoline hybrid powertrain. The HYmotion3 does the same. Although here it's only regenerative braking and not the engine, that recharges the batteries. It can still run in electric only mode at low speeds, just like the Prius, but unlike the Toyota, the Peugeot locates its electric motors inside the front wheels, meaning there are no packaging compromises.

Peugeot_Hymotion3_2.jpgThose in-wheel electric motors, each capable of producing 4bhp, power the front wheels independently of each other and the gasoline driven rear wheel. Everything is kept in check by the ride-by-wire system. Where the MP3's front wheels merely serve to eliminate the possibility of front-end washout and to improve braking distances, the HYmotion3 uses its to increase performance, allowing more power to be delivered to the road earlier in corners through all three wheels being driven simultaneously.

The main source of motivation is a supercharged 125cc engine with 20bhp (that's a lot for a four-stroke 125). Combined with the electric motors, that means there's a maximum of 29bhp on tap. This means the HYmotion3 has equivalent performance to 400cc rivals. Combine that with a stop/start engine that turns itself off when stationary and fires up instantaneously when it's time to pull away and you have a machine that's not only capable of out-cornering a traditional two-wheeled scooter in any weather while carrying two occupants in car-like safety, but one that's able to do all of the above while delivering 118mpg.

Peugeot_HYmotion3_1.jpgRight now the HYmotion3 is just a concept, but Peugeot is one of the biggest scooter makers in the world. Selling most of its machines in the European market, where there's high demand for large, practical scooters and other fuel-efficient vehicles, the company is uniquely placed to bring a machine with the HYmotion3's capability to production. Let's hope it does so.


Infiniti M35- Perfect StopGap

Provided Great Depression Jr. doesn't relegate us all to bicycles or rickshaws pulled by out-of-work stock brokers, you'll probably be sitting in your office chair at this same time next year, procrastinating just as you are now by reading about the Infiniti M. Except it'll be a new M with more style, more power, and more of the swoopiness spreading across the Infiniti line. Except there's a problem, because your lease is up now and you want an Infiniti. Now. Are you going to regret not holding out that extra year for the all-new goodness? Probably not, because while the current M35 has always been a great car, a few last-minute substitutions have made it even better.


You won't notice anything new about the 2009 M35 from the outside — a minor bumper massaging happened last year — but good things have happened below the surface of the M. The 275-hp VQ35 V-6 that's lived under the hood has been replaced by a 303-hp version of the more refined VQ35HR. That engine made its debut in 2006, when the G35 sedan saw a full revision, and is composed of about 80 percent new parts versus its predecessor. A revised block is 8.4 millimeters taller to reduce piston side force, while the engine's center of mass is 15 millimeters lower for better overall dynamics. It revs higher (7600 rpm versus 6600) has a higher compression ratio (10.6:1 versus 10.3:1) and includes variable exhaust cam timing. In addition to being more powerful and more refined, the engine is more efficient: 2009 fuel economy numbers are 17/25 mpg, up one and two respectively. But that's not due to the engine changes alone — the M35 gets a new transmission, as well.


Infiniti's new seven-speed automatic debuted with the introduction of the 2009 FX35/50 and is now standard in the G sedan and G coupe. However, only the volume-leading M model — the rear-drive, V-6 M35 — gets the slick seven-cog with rev-matching on downshifts. Infiniti's PR guys say the wide gearing of the five-speed is better suited to the all-wheel drive and V-8 models, but we suspect the cost of retooling didn't mesh with profit margins in the final year of production for the lower-volume M35x, M45, and M45x.

You might also be wondering why Infiniti's new 330-hp, 3.7-liter six is standard in the cheaper G, yet the bigger M is being updated with that car's old engine. The answer there is simple — the 3.7-liter actually out-powers the M45's V-8, and although the latter has 67 lb-ft more torque, it would be silly to offer two engines that similar in power output. When a new M comes, we expect the FX50's 390-hp monster will find its way over, clearing room for an M37. For the time being, the new M35 manages to hit the sweet spot of being a large improvement without crossing into M45 territory.


The 2009 M35 is quicker and more refined, but the engine still needs to be worked hard to be entertaining. Horsepower peaks at 6800 rpm, while the engine's torque peak of 262 lb-ft comes at 4800 rpm, about 800 higher than the M45's maximum. The V-8 is always satisfying and does more with fewer gearshifts. And that's the primary difference between the two models. The M35 will appeal to buyers who want to stretch the engine to the top of its rev range, flip between gears, and actively get involved in the action, whereas the M45 buyer wants to waft down the highway with seamless confidence and minimal effort. In that respect, leaving the five-speed transmission in the M45 makes some sense — it doesn't need the extra two gears.

With a lot of recent new car debuts, Motive has come to appreciate the lighter weight and sharper handling of V-6 versions of cars, but after driving an M35S and an M45S back-to-back, we can't say we'd be happier with even this new V-6. Part of this may be because the M35's weight savings are pretty minimal, tipping the scales at just 100 pounds under the M45's 3958-pound curb weight. The handling differences between the two sport package-equipped vehicles we tested were almost imperceptible, though the M45's steering has slightly more weight and feels more focused to the mission of going fast. Both cars have identical steering ratios and 245/40R19 tires, so credit for the difference has to go to the car's slightly heavier nose.


More than just the minor difference in steering feel, the M45 always feels ready to pounce on the unsuspecting road, while the M35 needs a bit of a running start. Still, the V-6 has its advantages, like not requiring premium fuel (though it is recommended.) The M35 isn't as thirsty, either, bettering the V-8 by one mpg city and four mpg highway.

In either form, the Infiniti M remains one of the best (and quite possibly the most overlooked) vehicles in its class, even on the eve of its retirement. The cabin is spacious, comfortable, and attractive, and the optional Bose Studio Surround audio system is among our top three or four favorite stereos out there. The M may not carry the rich history and tradition of the Mercedes E-class or the BMW 5-series, but it is hard to find any area where this relative newcomer lags behind those two stalwarts of mid-size luxury. As it nears the end of its product cycle, the updated M certainly goes out on a high note. If recent efforts from Infiniti predict anything, it'll come back more competitive than ever. Hopefully, we won't all be riding donkeys by then.

Bernanke Gloomy, Hints at Future Rate Cuts

NEW YORK ( -- Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke predicted that the global financial markets crisis is likely to restrain the economy well into next year and signaled that the Fed may be getting ready to cut interest rates.

But he said he believes the unprecedented steps taken to have the Treasury Department and the Fed intervene in financial markets were done in time to prevent more expensive and permanent damage to the nation's leading financial institutions.

In a speech before the National Association of Business Economics in Washington on Tuesday, Bernanke said the threat of inflation has receded recently, while the economy has continued to weaken. This could be interpreted as a sign that the central bank might be preparing to lower its key fed funds rate soon.

"Overall, the combination of the incoming data and recent financial developments suggests that the outlook for economic growth has worsened and that the downside risks to growth have increased," he said.

"In light of these developments, the Federal Reserve will need to consider whether the current stance of policy remains appropriate," he added.

The fed funds rate is the primary lever the central bank uses to influence the economy. Lower rates can help reduce the borrowing costs for businesses and consumers on a wide range of loans, including business lines of credit, credit card rates and home equity loans. These cheaper loans can increase economic activity.

But lower rates can also add to inflation pressures since they tend to reduce the value of the dollar and make imported goods, most notably oil, more expensive.

The Fed cut rates seven times between September 2007 and this April, but held them steady at 2% at its past three meetings due to inflation concerns.

The Fed's next scheduled meeting is Oct. 28-29. Some investors and economists have suggested the current financial crisis could lead the Fed to announce an emergency rate cut ahead of that meeting.

Bernanke again pointed to falling housing prices as a primary cause of the problems in the nation's financial sector. But he warned "the slowdown in economic activity has spread outside the housing sector."

And he added that tighter credit conditions mean that the economic weakness is likely to continue into 2009.

"The heightened financial turmoil that we have experienced of late may well lengthen the period of weak economic performance," he said.

Bernanke defended the $700 billion bailout package passed by Congress and signed into law last week. The rescue plan will allow Treasury to buy damaged mortgage-backed securities from financial firms.

Bernanke said the bailout, as well as moves by the Fed this week to inject hundreds of billions more into the banking system and buy commercial paper used by many businesses to finance their day-to-day operations, were necessary actions to take at this time of economic stress.

"These are momentous steps, but they are being taken to address a problem of historic dimensions," he said.

And he predicted that the efforts would be successful in returning the economy into a growth path.

"The steps being taken now to restore confidence in our institutions and markets will go far to resolving the current dislocations in the markets," he predicted. "I believe that the bold actions taken...together with the natural recuperative powers of the financial markets, will lay the groundwork for financial and economic recovery."

Former Lehman CEO Fuld gets knocked the F&$K out at the Gym

Network verifies reports Richard Fuld was attacked for financial institution's bankruptcy.

It seems anxiety from the financial crisis is reaching new highs, but the tipping point for one individual came at the Lehman Brothers gym in the midst of the company’s collapse.

While former Lehman CEO Richard Fuld was testifying before the House Oversight Committee Oct. 6, CNBC reported he had been punched in the face at the Lehman Brothers gym after it was announced the firm was going bankrupt. CNBC and Vanity Fair contributor Vicki Ward said Fuld was attacked at the gym on a Sunday following the bankruptcy.

“Frankly, I sat there and listened and I’m with the guy who apparently, the day before Barclays announced they were coming in and Lehman had already filed for bankruptcy, went over to him in the gym and punched him because that’s how I feel when I, you know, when I watched that,” Ward said on the Oct. 6 “Power Lunch.” “I didn’t think he was contrite at all, I thought he was arrogant.”

Ward confirmed previous reports about the incident that reportedly occurred Sept. 21 and said the information came from “two very senior sources.”

“From two very senior sources – one incredibly senior source – that he went to the gym after … Lehman was announced as going under. He was on a treadmill with a heart monitor on. Someone was in the corner, pumping iron and he walked over and he knocked him out cold. And frankly after having watched this, I’d have done the same too.”

Ward determined Fuld deserved the beating based on his testimony before the committee.

“I thought he was shameless,” Ward said. “I thought it was appalling. He blamed everyone. He blamed, as you say, ‘naked short sellers’ over and over in case we didn’t get the point, when in fact hedge funds like Harbinger had money locked up in Lehman and was shorting it to try and make the most of the money that they already had. He blamed everybody but himself.”

Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy in September 2008 and its assets were later snatched up by the British bank Barclays for $1.35 billion, which included Lehman’s Midtown Manhattan office tower with a $960 million price tag.

2010 Camaro Stripe Packages Leaked

Chevrolet Camaro stripe options

Get ready race fans, GM knows your Camaro won't be complete without stripes and they're ready for you. Pictures of the stripe packages to be available on the Camaro have been leaked onto the web thanks to Camaro fan site

In various spy shots, we've seen several different stripes gracing the hoods and trunks of pre-production Camaros, and many have hoped they would be an option when the car reaches showrooms. Striped Camaro dreamers, you're in luck. Not only will the stripes be available on the showroom floor, but you'll have two different stripe packages to choose from. You'll have to decide whether the classic twin rally stripes are your thing, or if you'd prefer the solid stripe up the middle with hockey stick-shaped stripes running up the front fenders and down the sides of the car. The former will come in five colors, while the latter will only come in three, though we don't know what any of the colors will be yet. We also don't know which stripes and which colors will be factory installed and which will be dealer installed. We can predict, however, that there will be many "Bumblebee" replicas prowling the streets in the near future, but few of them are likely to transform into robots. That option hasn't been announced yet.

Schumi Takes the California to the Ring

Michael Schumacher in a Ferrari California

Ferrari is known for its motorsports prowess, and one reason many owners flock to the Prancing Horse is the brand's dedication to proving itself at the track. However with its latest creation, the California, Ferrari is offering a (somewhat) softer-edged sports car more focused on day-to-day use as a GT than clipping apexes. But despite its extra amenities, the iconic sports car maker is quick to note that the California is still a Ferrari, and recently invited its most famous driver, Michael Schumacher, to take a production model for a spin on the shorter F1 circuit at the Nurburgring in front of 20,000 fans.

Some enthusiasts are up in arms over the new California's many practical touches such as child-friendly rear seats, trunk space for two golf bags, an infotainment system, and an aluminum retractable hardtop. Although this hasn't stopped the car from quickly selling out, Ferrari's claim that 60% of buyers for the first allocation are first-time owners may mean the car has not been a hit with the company's current client base. In any case, just as Schumacher frequently test drives Ferrari prototypes (and may or may not crash them on occasion), the seven time F1 World Champion has been involved in the California's development since its inception to help ensure it continues the automaker's tradition of stellar performance. So at the end of the recent Ferrari Racing Days event, on the heels of the California's appearance at the Paris Motor Show Schumi climbed behind the wheel of an example to put it through its paces on the track.

Comprised of several races and special events at the 'Ring, the recent Ferrari Racing Days included the Ferrari Challenge Pirelli Trophy, a single-model racing series running since 1993 and currently open to F430 owners, and the Shell Historic Challenge, which pit several vintage Maseratis, Ferraris, and others against each other in competition. In addition, members of the FXX Program gathered for some test laps in their special, Enzo-based racers, and were joined by Schumacher before he moved on to the California. Despite bad weather, nearly 20,000 spectators traveled to the Nurburgring for the day's festivities and were treated to the sight of a legendary driver flogging Maranello's latest creation around one of the world's most famous tracks.

Despite what would no doubt be considerable interest from enthusiasts, Schumi's latest lap time in the production California hasn't been revealed -- after all, it was just for fun.

Source: Ferrari

A Non Invasive Test for Downs Syndrome

Trio of chromosomes: People with Down syndrome have three copies of chromosome 21, rather than the standard two.
Credit: Phanie / Photo Researchers, Inc

Ever since the discovery that a pregnant woman's blood contains traces of her baby's DNA, researchers have been looking for ways to screen that DNA for genetic abnormalities. A new test developed by Stephen Quake and his colleagues at Stanford University takes us one step closer to a noninvasive blood test to diagnose disorders like Down syndrome in a fetus.

The new test uses powerful DNA sequencing techniques to amplify short fragments of a baby's DNA from its mother's blood, and to map the chromosomes. The method reveals the extra copies of chromosomes--aneuploidy--characteristic of certain genetic disorders, including Down syndrome, in which there are three copies of chromosome 21 rather than two.

"Now we're getting closer to the time when there will be not a screening test but a definitive noninvasive test," says Joe Leigh Simpson of Florida International University. Simpson wasn't involved in Quake's work.

The test picked up all nine cases of Down syndrome among 18 women in a study reported today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It also detected two cases of Edward syndrome, in which there is an extra copy of chromosome 18, and one instance of Patau syndrome, characterized by three copies of chromosome 13.

"This is very exciting," says Farideh Bischoff, a cytogeneticist with Biocept, a biotech company based in San Diego. "It's powerful." Bischoff wasn't involved in Quake's work.

Currently, the gold standard for prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome is amniocentesis, "which requires a big needle to be stuck into the mom right next to the baby" to extract a sample of amniotic fluid, explains Quake, who is also an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. There's an attendant risk of miscarriage, infection, or damage to the fetus. A diagnosis may also be made by chorionic villus sampling, which uses tissue from the placenta but has a higher risk of miscarriage than amniocentesis. The samples of amniotic fluid or placenta are examined to see if the fetus has three copies of chromosome 21.

Quake's technique takes advantage of the fact that small amounts of DNA from a fetus circulate in its mother's blood. Some DNA is within intact fetal cells, but about a decade ago, researchers discovered that a pregnant woman's blood also carries free-floating fetal DNA. Unlike intact cells, cell-free fetal DNA doesn't linger from one pregnancy to another. It's also more abundant than that from intact cells, but still rare enough to make it difficult to detect.

Quake and his colleagues took blood samples from pregnant women who were considered at high risk of carrying a baby with aneuploidy and used high-throughput sequencing to amplify fragments of DNA from both the mother and fetus and to map its chromosomes. They then looked at the amount of material from each chromosome. An overabundance of any particular chromosome pointed to a genetic disorder. The results, Quake says, "can be as precise as you want simply by sequencing more fragments."

"It's a step forward," adds James Egan, chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Connecticut Health Center. "It has great potential, but it's not ready for prime time yet." Egan did not contribute to the Stanford study. Quake's team is now planning a larger study of several hundred pregnant women.

The cost of the sequencing used in the study was $700 per sample, but Quake says that it has since slipped to $300, as the cost of the technology continues to drop. "If it truly can be performed for $700, it could revolutionize the field," Simpson says.

Quake's team tested women in their second trimester of pregnancy, although he believes that the test could be used as early as 10 weeks into a pregnancy. A first-trimester test for Down syndrome would be preferable, so that parents have more time to decide if they wish to terminate the pregnancy, or to prepare for the birth of a baby with the disorder.

Quake's method is one of several different approaches to the problem of using fetal DNA in a noninvasive diagnostic test for genetic disorders like Down syndrome.

Sequenom, based in San Diego, is developing a test based on genes on chromosome 21 that code for fetal-specific RNA. Those markers can be used to count copies of the chromosome."There are thousands of genetic disorders that can easily be diagnosed with genetic screening," says Ravinder Dhallan, founder and CEO of Ravgen, a Columbia, MD-based biotech company that's developing diagnostic tests using fetal DNA. "Some are treatable today and many more may be treatable in the future.

It's not yet clear which method--or methods--will ultimately pay off. "It's like CDs or DVDs or thumb drives," says the University of Connecticut's Egan. "They're all different ways of approaching a problem. One or all will catch the imagination of the medical community and become a very useful clinical tool."

Don’t Worry, It’s Art

If your girlfriend, wife or boss catches you checking out these pictures, don’t worry, it’s art and therefore OK to check out. As long as you want. Slightly NSFW,

Israelis For Obama

We are Israelis and Israeli-Americans who believe Barack Obama will be good for America and good for Israel. In such dramatic times a leader who is able to employ intelligent diplomacy hand in hand with a strong defense is crucial to our future. We urge the Jewish community to hear our voices. Thank you.

'Therapeutic vaccine' for AIDS within four years, Nobel Prize winner predicts

A French scientist awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine for discovering the AIDS virus immediately predicted there would be a "therapeutic vaccine" for the disease within four years.

Luc Montagnier - Nobel prize for medicine goes to AIDS pioneers and cancer researcher
The Nobel recognition comes 25 years after Luc Montagnier and his team at the French Pasteur Institute discovered HIV in his Paris laboratory Photo: AFP/GETTY

Luc Montagnier, director of the World Foundation for AIDS Research and Prevention, shared half the award with Francoise Barre-Sinoussi of the Institut Pasteur for their work in pinpointing the cause of the disease.

The other half was won by Harald zur Hausen of the University of Dusseldorf and a former director of the German Cancer Research Centre, for work on the cause of cervical cancer.

On receiving the honour which comes with an £800,000 cash prize, Montagnier, 76, said a treatment could be possible in the future with a "therapeutic" rather than preventive vaccine for which results might be published in three or four years if financial backing is forthcoming.

A therapeutic vaccine prevents disease from flourishing after it has taken hold.

"I think it will be possible with a therapeutic vaccine rather than preventative vaccinations. We would give it to people who are already infected," he said

The Nobel recognition comes 25 years after Montagnier and his team at the French Pasteur Institute, including Barre-Sinoussi, discovered HIV in his Paris laboratory.

"The discovery was one prerequisite for the current understanding of the biology of the disease and its antiretroviral treatment," the Nobel Assembly of Sweden's Karolinska Institute said in a statement.

The other half of the Nobel prize was awarded for the German scientist's research that "went against current dogma" and set forth that oncogenic human papilloma virus (HPV) caused cervical cancer, the second most common cancer among women.

"His discovery has led to characterization of the natural history of HPV infection, an understanding of mechanisms of HPV-induced carcinogenesis and the development of prophylactic vaccines against HPV acquisition," the Assembly said.

Medicine is traditionally the first of the Nobel prizes awarded each year.

The prizes for achievement in science, literature and peace were first awarded in 1901 in accordance with the will of dynamite inventor and businessman Alfred Nobel.

The economics prize is a later addition, established by the Swedish Riksbank in 1968.

The Nobel laureate for physics will be announced tomorrow, followed by the chemistry Nobel on Wednesday, literature on Thursday and the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday in Oslo.

Multi-drug 'polypill' finally to tackle heart problems

Tests of a single, cheap tablet combining a range of drugs that protect against heart disease and stroke have begun.

The "polypill" was mooted years ago as a cheap way to slash deaths from the big killer diseases, but pharmaceutical companies were reluctant to take on the project as the inexpensive drugs involved provided no financial incentive.

Now a team funded by the Wellcome Trust in London, UK, and the British Heart Foundation, and led by Anthony Rodgers at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, has begun recruiting 700 volunteers in six countries for a pilot trial of a polypill manufactured by Dr Reddy's of Hyderabad, India.

Their Red Heart Pill, which costs just $1 for a month's supply, blends blood-thinning aspirin, a cholesterol-lowering statin, and an ACE inhibitor and a thiazide to lower blood pressure. Trials in thousands of people could start next year.

The polypill is aimed at reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke in poor and rich countries alike. However, its use will vary around the world, says Simon Thom of Imperial College London, who is running the UK trials.

In the developing world, he advocates distributing the pill "almost blind" to everyone over 55. But countries where people have better access to doctors and drugs are unlikely to adopt the one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, over-55s could be put on one of several different polypills containing varying doses of the drugs, depending on their health needs.

What does your bar tab say about you?

Have you ever seen a receipt laying on a bar top, and thought to yourself “I bet I know what kind of person this belongs to”? Is it possible to formulate a conclusion based solely on what someone ordered? We’d like to think so.

6) The Wannabe Musician

The wannabe musician considers himself to be an artist. He starts off with micro brews or imports to let everyone know that he is a sophisticated individual, who will not conform to trends. As the night wears on, he begins to wonder why he hasn’t booked a gig in 2 years, and starts to order something with higher alcohol content. After gulping down his Long Island Iced Tea, he begins to realize that his music sucks. From here on out he orders shots of Jose until he runs out of cash. After leaving a $1.32 tip, he heads back to his ride.

5) The Construction Worker

After working 12 hours in the sweltering heat, The Construction Worker hits his favorite bar. He knows everyone by their first name and usually keeps himself in well mannered. Around beer #9 he begins to refer to the bartender as “sugar tits” instead of “Kimmie” (all in good fun). After completing beer #12, he hops in his F-150, drives home to his wife, and doesn’t swerve once.

4) The Aspiring Actress

The Aspiring Actress enters a popular night club and only orders club soda. She has $20 to her name and this is the cheapest drink on the menu. Thankfully, some sap in a suit rolls up on her after club soda #2, and offers to buy her some real drinks. After telling her that she is talented and beautiful, he pays for the rest of the tab, and takes her back to his place. Dignity is small price to pay when you just got 5 free cosmos and a compliment.

3) The Broken Hearted Frat Boy

Having just been dumped, the emotional frat boy enters his favorite sports bar. After telling most of the patrons his sob story, he decides that his pain will go away with shots of Jack. Sadly this Frat boy didn’t bring enough money to cover his tab, so the bar holds on to his ID and credit card until he can make payment. An unfortunate ending to the shit storm of a day hes already been through.

2) The Sorority Girl

The Sorority Girl and her sisters know how to game the system. They are the only ones who leave a bar with more money than they entered with. The Sorority Girl targets bars that are saturated with sausage, thus allowing her to pull in all sorts of free drinks (just to help even out the 10:1 ratio of dudes per chick). Once she has depleted all of the resources in one bar, she will move on to the next ‘brodeo’, where she will once again be the center of attention.

1) The Typical Douchebag

The Typical Douchebag enters clubs believing that he is gods gift to women. Sucking down 1 Jager Bomb per beer, he is determined to do two things. Get completely hammered, and score some tail. Sadly this douchebag usually ends up going home alone; heres why.

There are 80 milligrams of caffeine in a Red Bull. A Jager Bomb has about 1/2 of a Red Bull in it (40 MG).

40 mg Caffeine x 6 = 240 milligrams of caffeine.

With 240 milligrams of caffeine + alcohol pumpng through his veins, the douchebag is more annoying at the end of the night then when it started.

The Typical Douchebag - Watch more free videos

Weezer sets Guiness World Records with TROUBLEMAKER video



Culver City, CA October 6, 2008 -- Even before its release, Weezer's "Troublemaker" video is a record breaker: Weezer and friends gathered to play the song together and break Guinness World Records during the shooting of the video. Guinness World Records official, Stuart Claxton, was in attendance to monitor and certify these record attempts during the day long shoot in Los Angeles, where new records were set for Largest Game of Dodgeball, Most People in a Custard Pie Fight, Most People Riding on a Skateboard, Largest Air Guitar Ensemble, and Longest Guitar Hero World Tour Marathon. (See below for more details on these records.) The band's Pat Wilson is also shown in the video playing the World's Smallest Drum Kit in a Video...a record the band is petitioning to get in the book as an official record. No word yet at press time. The video's exclusive 24-hour online premiere will be available on Yahoo!Music beginning at 9:00PM PDT Monday, October 6, 2008.

The "Troublemaker" video is for a song that's been steadily rising up the Modern Rock charts, currently at #2 and looks to follow its predecessor, "Pork And Beans" to the very top of that chart. "Pork And Beans" spent a record eleven weeks on the top of the chart and its accompanying video has been played over fifteen million times.

Both "Pork and Beans" and "Troublemaker" are from the band's latest Top 5 album Weezer (referred to as The Red Album). The album is the band's boldest and most fearless to date, with the band experimenting with their sound as they never have in the past.

Weezer recently began its first tour in three years starting a five-week sojourn of North America starting September 23 in Boston and played a show in New York's Madison Square Garden on the 24th. The tour continues for a few more weeks and includes a stop at Los Angeles' Forum on October 14.

The shows have incorporated a "Hootenanny" where 30 radio station winners perform two songs on stage with the band during the show. It gives those lucky musicians the legitimate right to say to their friends sentences like "Yep, I rocked Madison Square Garden with my pals Weezer."

Reviews for the show have been universally great. The Boston Globe in a review of the tour's first show, ""Even a little rusty, we're still the coolest band in the world," Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo crowed from the Tsongas Arena stage Tuesday night. After the power-pop quartet's undeniably zesty 100-minute set, kicking off a North American tour, it was hard to argue the point."

The Guinness World Records:

Largest Air Guitar Ensemble
The largest air guitar ensemble consisted of 233 participants and took place during during the filming of the music video "Troublemaker" by the band Weezer in Los Angeles, California, USA on 21 August 2008.

Largest Game of Dodgeball
The largest game of dodgeball consisted of two teams of 50 people (100 total) who played against each other during the filming of the music video "Troublemaker" by the band Weezer in Los Angeles, California, USA, on 21 August 2008.

Longest Guitar Hero World Tour Marathon
The longest Guitar Hero World Tour Marathon lasted for 10 hr 12 min 54 sec during the filming of the music video "Troublemaker" by the band Weezer in Los Angeles, California,USA, on 21 August 2008.

Most People in a Custard Pie Fight
The most people in a custard pie fight was 120 during the filming of the music video "Troublemaker" by the band Weezer in Los Angeles, California, USA, on 21 August 2008.

Most People Riding on a Skateboard
The most people riding on a skateboard is 22 during the filming of the music video "Troublemaker" by the band Weezer in Los Angeles, California, USA, on 21 August 2008.

Better Solar for Big Buildings

Tubular solar: Cylindrical solar cells, which can be arranged in rows to make solar panels, are particularly suited for generating power atop commercial buildings.
Credit: Solyndra

Solyndra, a startup based in Fremont, CA, has developed a novel type of solar panel that's cheaper to install and produces more power than conventional panels.

Unlike conventional solar panels, which are made of flat solar cells, the new panels comprise rows of cylindrical solar cells made of a thin film of semiconductor material. The material is made of copper, indium, gallium, and selenium. To make the cells, the company deposits the semiconductor material on a glass tube. That's then encapsulated within another glass tube with electrical connections that resemble those on fluorescent lightbulbs. The new shape allows the system to absorb more light over the course of a day than conventional solar panels do, and therefore generate more power. What's more, arrays of these tubes offer less wind resistance than conventional flat solar panels, which makes them easier and cheaper to mount on roofs, the company says.

Chris Gronet, Solyndra's CEO, says that these advantages ultimately reduce the cost of generating solar power, although he won't say by how much. The company has raised $600 million in venture funding and has orders for $1.2 billion worth of solar panels, which it sells through installers exclusively for commercial rooftops. It started shipping its products earlier this year and is now ramping up production at its factory, which will eventually produce enough solar panels every year to generate 110 megawatts of electricity. The company soon plans to start construction on a 420-megawatt-capacity factory.

Solyndra is one of several companies that have recently received hundreds of millions of dollars to develop thin-film solar cells. Miguel Contreras, a senior scientist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, in Golden, CO, which developed the semiconductor deposition method used by Solyndra, notes that several other companies have developed solar cells based on thin films using the same combination of semiconductors; these thin films are making possible a range of new forms for solar cells, including flexible solar cells and solar roofing materials. "There's a lot more flexibility with thin films than there is with [conventional silicon] wafer technologies," Contreras says.

The cylindrical solar-cell design has a number of advantages for generating solar power on the flat rooftops of big-box stores, warehouses, and other commercial buildings. Ordinary flat solar panels can catch the wind, so they must be bolted or weighed down with ballast. Solyndra's panels consist of rows of cylindrical tubes with spaces between them that allow the wind to pass through, decreasing wind loads and making it unnecessary to bolt or weigh down the panels, even with winds up to 130 miles per hour, the company says.
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Solar rods: A close-up view of Solyndra's cylindrical solar cells.
Credit: Solyndra

The cylindrical design also allows the solar panels to absorb more light. Solar panels work best when light hits them directly, such as when the sun is directly overhead. To get more power from solar panels, they're often mounted on tracking systems that keep each panel pointed at the sun all day. But these tracking systems don't work in high winds, add cost, and take up space that could be occupied by other solar panels. The cylindrical solar cells provide another way to increase the power from a solar panel. At any point in the day, some part of the curved surface is facing the sun more or less directly, and therefore absorbing a large share of that light.

The trade-off, of course, is that the other side of the cylinder is shaded. With highly reflective white roofs, however, this is less of a problem. Light passes through the same spaces between the cylinders that allow wind to flow through. It reflects off the roof and is absorbed by the shaded side of the solar cells. Also, the other surfaces of the solar cell absorb some diffuse light from the sky.

This adds up to greater energy production over the course of a year than a conventional system, the company says. Combined with low installation costs, this significantly lowers the cost of solar power. Gronet says that within a few years, the company plans to produce solar systems that generate electricity competitive with the average cost of electricity in the United States (about 10 cents per kilowatt-hour) by optimizing manufacturing and increasing production volumes.

The company, however, does not plan to expand out of the commercial rooftop business, where its specialized design has an edge. Other solar-panel technologies may prove more affordable for other applications, such as residential installations and large-scale projects for utilities.

Diesel on a Diet

An engine squeezes more power­—and less pollution—from a slimmer design

Five Steps to a More Efficient Engine: (Blow it up!) Steve Karp

To make its Duramax 4.5 diesel cleaner and leaner, GM turned traditional engine design inside out and dumped 70 parts.

The biggest change was flipping around the exhaust system to direct hot gases through short pipes toward a central turbocharger and catalytic converter inside the “V” of the engine. This compact design harnesses more exhaust heat and requires fewer components than conventional V8s, which send exhaust through long manifold pipes that protrude from each side of the engine, taking up more space and losing heat before they reach the turbo.

GM also eliminated the intake manifold pipes that deliver air to the engine. Instead, air flows through the overhead camshaft covers, down to the combustion chambers.
The Duramax 4.5 engine debuts in the 2010 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks

The Science Vote

Ed Letter: As the election nears, the candidates finally reveal where they stand on some crucial scientific issues

Late last year, as the presidential primary campaigns heated up, a grass-roots group of scientists and citizens addressed the candidates: “Given the many urgent scientific and technological challenges facing America and the rest of the world, the increasing need for accurate scientific information in political decision making, and the vital role scientific innovation plays in spurring economic growth and competitiveness, we call for a public debate in which the U.S. presidential candidates share their views on the issues.” Before long, Science Debate 2008, as the group called itself, had become the most powerful voice advocating for science in the race, backed by nearly 40,000 scientists, business leaders, educators, journalists (myself included) and politicians.

The response from the candidates? Silence. Before April’s Pennsylvania primary, the organization invited the contenders to share their positions at a Philadelphia event. Only one candidate even bothered to send regrets.

It’s sad to see the people vying to lead the free world run from the chance to talk about stem cells, climate change and the other issues that will transform our lives during their terms. It’s especially sad considering that a Harris poll found that 85 percent of Americans wanted such a debate.
Fortunately, Science Debate 2008 didn’t give up. In late June, it sent both nominees a list of 14 questions on topics ranging from innovation to ocean health. And this time, the candidates wrote back, submitting impressively detailed responses. I strongly encourage you to read it all at sciencedebate2008
. (Our own dive into the essential scientific issues facing the next president begins at

The Bush administration has been notable for its inclination to ignore, distort, or suppress the findings of leading scientists. The willingness of these candidates to engage the issues, along with their explicit assurances on a question labeled “Scientific Integrity,” give me hope that we’ll soon see a reversal of that approach to science, regardless of who wins the election next month.

From the Operating Room to the Tackle Box

Bioline: Bioline

Even the fishermen are going green. Any angler worth his bait has lost a few lines to the bottom of the fishing pond. And, chances are the line he lost is still lying there with those of his ancestors, damaging coral and killing fish. Traditional nylon lines can take up to 600 years to disappear, but with Bioline, a new "biofilament" line developed by alumni of the med-tech industry, that time can be cut to just five years. That's fishing technology even the fish will embrace.

The lines come sealed in packages with a five-year shelf life. Once on the pole, the line lasts 10-12 months without any reduction in strength. The product is available in 4-, 6-, 8-, 10-, and 12-pound tests in 210-yard spools ($16) with larger sizes in the works. It looks, feels, and performs like a standard line. Along with the environmental benefits, Bioline claims excellent knot strength and abrasion resistance. Unlike standard monofilaments, Bioline doesn't absorb water, ensuring that its properties remain the same during a long day of fishing.

The technology behind Bioline was first applied to absorbable sutures more than twenty years ago. With costs of technology dropping over time, a biodegradable fishing line has finally become financially viable. Developed over four years, Bioline was launched earlier this year, the first of its kind. Next up: the hook?

Iceland Struggles to Shore Up its Currency

REYKJAVIK, Iceland -- Iceland nationalized its second-largest bank on Tuesday and said it was negotiating a €4 billion ($5.4 billion) loan from Russia to shore up the nation's finances amid a full-blown financial crisis.

In an effort to stabilize the nation's freefalling currency, which lost a quarter of its value against the euro Monday, Iceland's central bank also on Tuesday intervened in to support the krona at a level of 131 to the euro.

[A branch of Landsbanki Bank in Reykjavik.] Reuters

A branch of Landsbanki Bank in Reykjavik.

Just a day after Iceland's government rushed through emergency legislation giving it sweeping powers to deal with the financial meltdown, the island nation's Financial Supervisory Authority took control of Landsbanki Island hf and put it into receivership to protect it from creditors.

Within hours of the government move, the Samson holding company, which held a 41 percent stake in Landsbanki, went to the district court seeking temporary protection from its creditors.

Iceland's largest bank, Kaupthing Bank hf, said it hadn't been approached by the FSA, but that the central bank had loaned it €500 million to facilitate operations. The FSA also banned short selling of stocks in shares of Landsbanki, Kaupthing, and the third largest bank, Glitnir Bank hf, as well as investment companies Straumur-Burdaras Fjarfestingarbanki hf. and Exista hf, and savings bank Spron hf.

Iceland's central bank said in a statement it had been informed by the Russian ambassador, Victor I. Tatarintsev, that Iceland would be given a loan of €4 billion, and that this had been confirmed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

However, the Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti quoted Deputy Finance Minister Dmitry Pankin as saying no decision had been made. Prime Minister Haarde said his country has been talking about a currency loan with Russia, which has "taken a friendly position on this." He said discussions would take place in Moscow Wednesday or Thursday and the loan would be used to add to foreign currency reserves.

A loan would support the government's efforts to gain control of an increasingly dire financial situation, which saw the government coming to rescue of Glitnir only last week. On Tuesday, Stand & Poors lowered Glitnir's long term counterparty credit rating to CCC, from BBB.

Iceland is paying the price for an economic boom of recent years that saw its newly affluent companies go on an acquisition spree across Europe and its banking sector grow to dwarf the rest of the economy. Bank assets are nine times annual gross domestic product of €14 billion.

In a speech Monday night, Mr. Haarde warned that the heavy exposure of the tiny country's banking sector to the global financial turmoil raised the spectre of "national bankruptcy." (See related article.)

Investors are now punishing the whole country for the banking sector's heavy exposure to the global credit squeeze -- its currency has gone through the floor, imports have fallen and inflation is soaring.

The government also on Monday put 100% guarantees on savers' deposits, following in the footsteps of Ireland, Germany, Austria, Greece and Denmark.

BofA Cuts Dividend, Posts Lower Profit

Bank of America Corp., the consumer banking giant whose nationwide base of depositors has helped stabilize it through the current banking crisis, slashed its quarterly dividend and announced plans to raise $10 billion in new capital as it conceded that "recessionary conditions" are sending tremors though the bank.

The troubles hint at a horrific earnings season and show how much the deepening woes of consumers are weighing on the nation's biggest retail bank as it grapples with rising delinquencies in everything from mortgages to credit cards to small business loans.

Getty Images
Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis, at a press conference last month in New York to discuss the bank's takeover of Merrill Lynch
As it turns out, even Bank of America's heft and diversity are not enough to get it through the worst financial crisis in at least two decades. The sacrifice of its long-sacrosanct dividend is further evidence that the nation's economic troubles could get worse before they get better.

"It's a damn disaster," Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Lewis told analysts, when asked about lending conditions. "We are making every good loan we can find" but "it's not going to be pretty for awhile."

The Charlotte, N.C., company, in an earlier-than-expected release of third-quarter results on Monday, said it will cut the dividend from $.64 to $.32 to add more than $1.4 billion in capital each quarter. The company also hopes to sell $10 billion in common stock, the goal being to keep the bank's Tier 1 capital ratio near 8% and cover the higher credit losses than are expected. Bank of America said net income in the quarter fell to $1.18 billion, down 68 percent from the same period a year earlier when the bank posed a profit of $3.7 billion.

Breaking from his past optimism about the nation's economics prospects, Mr. Lewis blamed "recessionary conditions" for the moves. "These are the most difficult times for financial institutions that I have experienced in my 39 years in banking," he said in a release.

The nation's largest retail bank reported net income of $1.18 billion, or 15 cents per share, down from $3.70 billion, or 82 cents per share a year earlier. The results were worse than expected. Credit losses on mortgages and credit cards dragged down the results. Its provision for credit losses was $6.45 billion, up from $5.83 billion in the second quarter. Net charge offs were $4.36 billion, as compared to $3.62 billion in the second quarter.

Nonperforming assets were $13.3 billion, or 1.42 percent of total loans, leases and foreclosed properties. The dividend cut at Bank of America, the country's largest bank in terms of deposits, mirrors similar moves by smaller banks across the country as they look for ways to cut costs and raise capital amid the volatility that has driven some of the country's biggest financial institutions out of business.

Anticipating displeasure from investors in response to the cut, Mr. Lewis said: "We cannot pay out what we have not earned."

Bank of America's many recent acquisitions -- the latest being a $44 billion purchase of Merrill Lynch & Co. -- have put pressure on its capital base. Bank of America's Tier 1 ratio, a key measure of financial strength, was 7.5% at the end of September. Regulators require the ratio be at least 6%.

"To say the least, these are turbulent times for the banking industry," Mr. Lewis said on a conference call Monday, with changes occurring at a "breathtaking"' speed. But the shake-out is "evolving much as we thought it would a couple years ago," with less than a handful of giant banks at the top, fewer banks in the middle and thousands of small players at the bottom.

Mr. Lewis expects turbulence to continue, with charge offs not peaking until "well" into 2009, he said. But Bank of America, he said, is "positioned to benefit as the economy stabilizes and starts to recover."

Some analysts remain confident in the bank's ability to weather the ongoing turbulence. Already, the bank's massive deposit base has served as a cash cushion to help it stay strong compared with competitors and muscle its way through acquisitions like the Countrywide and Merrill Lynch transactions. As customers continue to flee riskier investments in favor of retail bank accounts, that strength is expected to remain. Excluding deposits gained from its purchase of Countrywide, Bank of America gained $21 billion in retail deposits during the quarter. Due to a special offer, the bank took in $9 billion in 8 days, Mr. Lewis said.

"What you see at the bank is business from a cross section of retail and corporate America," said Nancy Bush, analyst with NAB Research LLC in Annandale, N.J. "So even if it is an ugly time, it's less ugly for them because of very strong core deposits."

15 Inspiring Glimpses into the Future of Green Housing

tahoe home by jls design
What does a 21st century home look like? We recently gave a rundown of some of the features we can expect in the next wave of amazing, green houses (in 21 Ways To Build A 21st Century Home). But since we're already in the 21st Century, you'd expect to see some of these innovations put into practice already. And you'd be right. Here are 15 amazing futuristic innovations that you can see at work right now:

Image: Empyrean
Modular Manufacture. Prefab houses come in all sorts of weird and wonderful shapes - but let's get rid of one preconception. Cramped? Tell that to someone living in a Dwell home.

Image: Earthflow
Green Building Materials. And to think we used the phrase "house of straw" to mean impermanent. I can't see this strawbale-packed house from Earthflow Design Works (complete with pervious concrete driveway) going anywhere in a hurry.

Image: Loq-Kit
Keeping It Together. We've featured them before, but the Loq-Kit house never gets old.

Image: Quadlock
Living Walls... or even better, a living roof, as with Tom Ground's Gimingham Eco House by Quadlock building solutions. But why stop with grass? Why not grow trees on the outside of your house?

Sonic Cloaking. Not yet! The sonic cloak is still in development, and it'll be years before we see (or hear) it manifesting in our homes. But for now, think on this: noise is vibration, and noise is transmitted into the home via vibrations in windows - so if they're vibrating already (powered sustainably, of course), that would make them soundproof. Clever!

Images: EcoFuss
"Traditional" Alternative Energy. Solar panels are currently a fairly obtrusive design feature - but with technological breakthroughs (such as this one) solar panels will disappear into designs, leaving them as clean-looking as this eco-house proposed for the outskirts of Nicosia, Cyprus. Even though it's solar powered - nary a panel in sight.

Images: Ibis
Recycled Water. In the Florence Lofts, Sebastopol (California), all gray water from washing, bathing and laundry is fed into landscape irrigation, helped along with freshly-scrubbed rain water. Read the full story at Inhabitat.

Ground Heat. A good example is the Orchid House in Britain's Cotswolds region - some of this unique looking eco-house's power supply is geothermal energy. Price? $6,000 per square foot. Ouch.

Passive Heating. These passive houses from Swedish architects Kjellgren Kaminsky rely on top-quality insulation to keep heating energy requirements down to a minimum. The tree erupting from the central atrium is a nice touch. (via cubeme).

Images: ZeroHouse
Electronic Regulation. Looking like it's about to lurch into the sky, the Zero House is a model of tailored energy efficiency - all run through a fully customized "house brain" computer-system.

Electrical Lights. With the advent of LED lighting, we're rediscovering color again. Take the roof of the Evergreen State College, using the Color Kinetics lighting system. Not only is it the green way forward (LEDs are now more efficient than CFLs), it's the fun way forward.

Image: Parans
Natural Light. Sunpipes are cropping up everywhere, and no wonder - they're a brilliant idea (excuse the pun). But they're just the start. For example, look at what Parans is doing with fiberoptics, feeding natural light all around the home (see more over at Treehugger).

Rain Harvesting. A rainwater-collection system is compulsory in the next generation of eco-housing - but it's far from a new idea. As greenUPGRADER notes, Japanese rain chains are a traditional and stylish way of diverting rainwater down the side of the house and into a collection tank.

Image - JLS Design
Ventilation. How do you keep your eco-house cool and aerated? Along with advances in electronically controlled temperature and airflow, why not get higher into the breeze? You're looking at Joel L. Sherman's Steel Tree House - one of many treehouses featured in a series of posts over at Inhabitat.

Gardens. On one example springs to mind, dominating the landscape in every sense. Not only a symbol but a living, breathing example of sustainable green living, the Eden Project is astonishing. Fretting that you have to come all the way to the UK to see it? Then you'll be happy to learn more about the upcoming US version, Earthpark.

And it's only the first decade of the 21st Century. Whatever next?