Sci/Tech News for New Jersey Fri, 22 May 2015 13:01:32 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Save the Environment: Tips on What Not to Flush Down the Toilet toilet_optBY IRENE MASLOWSKI

MERCERVILLE  – By making one small tweak in an everyday “disposal habit,” homeowners and businesses can help keep sewer rates down and protect the environment.

The change? Treat pre-moistened wipes like trash, not toilet paper. Instead of flushing them, toss them into the garbage. When it comes to home or office sewer lines, it may be smooth sailing for wipes, but the problem is that unlike toilet paper, they don’t disintegrate and fall apart. Intact, they float along and then converge and accumulate in sewer systems.

Each year, wastewater facilities burn time and money raking and fishing globby messes of wipes out of equipment that pumps, filters, and screens sewage as it enters the treatment plant.

“Wipes build up in sewer lines, causing back-ups and stoppages that can overflow into clean waters and pollute the environment, costing time and money to repair and clean up,” said Peggy Gallos, Executive Director of the Association of Environmental Authorities of New Jersey ( “Sewer systems have a major role in protecting our environment, and so it is important to see they run smoothly.”

Other products that can cause clogs or other problems and that should not be flushed include:

* Disposable diapers, tampons, sanitary napkins. They are too bulky to pass through the pipes.

Science updates Thu, 23 Apr 2015 02:55:26 +0000
8 Reasons NJ Nuclear Power Plant Hit With Code Yellow and Other Violations From NRC oystercreek060109_optBY BOB HOLT

The Oyster Creek nuclear power plant provides a significant source of revenue and employment for Lacey Township- but is it worth it?

Oyster Creek is the oldest operating nuclear facility in the United States, but the Nuclear Regulatory Commission sees safety problems there.

NRC News reported that the agency has cited Oyster Creek with a yellow result after a recent inspection, indicating substantial safety significance. A design problem was found with electromatic relief valves that caused them to malfunction.

A white classification, or moderate safety significance, referred to the maintenance of an emergency diesel generator at Oyster Creek. According to The Lacey Reporter, the generator may have been unable to operate in an emergency situation due to deterioration of the fan shaft.

Science updates Thu, 07 May 2015 17:43:27 +0000
Bionic Eye Implant Allows Blind Man to See eye_opt-2BY CARL BLESCH

When surgeon Raymond Iezzi implanted a bionic eye in his blind patient at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, earlier this year, he expected local media to notice.

What the two-time Rutgers graduate didn’t expect was that the story would go viral. But since a touching video of 68-year old Allen Zderad beholding his wife of 45 years for the first time in a decade hit the Internet in February, more than 200 newspapers, magazines and TV stations around the country have run the story.

“I was very surprised by the coverage,” said Iezzi. But in retrospect he sees why it touched lives. “Mr. Zderad’s story brought out the human side of how breakthrough technology can impact a person’s life,” he said. "Truly it was a gift to participate in his care."

When Zderad begin to discern the outline of family members’ faces and perceive objects in his environment, Iezzi felt joy for his patient. He also felt affirmed for the decades of effort that he and hundreds of researchers made to advance the science and technology of prosthetic vision.

Science updates Tue, 21 Apr 2015 02:33:50 +0000
Does New Jersey Still Have a Honeybee Problem? BEE_optBY BOB HOLT

Along with all of the issues facing New Jersey comes one you wouldn’t expect. We’re losing our honeybees.

Honeybees pollinate about one-third of the foods eaten in the U.S. But bee experts say that more than two out of five honeybee colonies have been dying.

An annual study by a bee partnership says that 42.1 percent of bee colonies have died since last April. “What we’re seeing with this bee problem is just a loud signal that there’s some bad things happening with our agro-ecosystems,” said co-author Keith Delaplane, according to an Associated Press report on “We just happen to notice it with the honeybee because they are so easy to count.”

Reasons for the bees’ deaths were not fully understood. Study co-author Jeff Pettis was troubled by high bee losses in the summer. According to The Washington Post, Pettis compared the bees’ deaths in the summer to having “a higher rate of flu deaths in the summer than winter.”

Science updates Thu, 14 May 2015 15:24:37 +0000
What’s New at Liberty Science Center? LIBERTY_opt-2BY BOB HOLT

Jersey City’s Liberty Science Center takes pride in the fact that it sees about a half a million visitors every year. And the learning center continues to find way to add to its appeal.

Now Liberty Science Center has big expansion plans that involve education, and the creation of jobs for Jersey City.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Liberty Science Center will be turning 16 acres of land into SciTech Scity, a $250 million science and technology campus. The project will feature a K-12 school devoted to science, a science-themed hotel, housing for visiting scholars and a business incubator.

Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop said the land to be developed is worth more than $20 million. "This is an investment in culture," Fulop said, according to "It's a really big deal." Science Center CEO Paul Hoffman said, "This city is growing so fast, it needs a science-oriented school."

The Wall Street Journal reports that the SciTech Scity buildings will be layered like a planet’s rings. And Thomas (Edison) Hotel visitors may receive room service by robots. Guests may also be able to choose their own wall art, and have their sleep patterns traced by technology they can wear.

Science updates Sat, 25 Apr 2015 15:20:10 +0000
5 Reasons NJ Residents Need the Tesla Home Battery Tesla-Motors-logo-3_optBY BOB HOLT

Electric car boss Elon Musk wants to turn your home into your own personal power plant.

Musk took the next step, unveiling his new home battery product Thursday at Tesla Design Studio in California.

The system, known as the Tesla Powerwall, will come in sizes of 7 or 10 kilowatt hours, at prices of $3000 to $3500, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. The company says their new battery "increases the capacity for a household's solar consumption, while also offering back-up functionality during grid outages."

Storing energy can be a large benefit to consumers when added to existing solar panels. The Sydney Morning Herald noted that a homeowner can store excess energy from solar panels in the daytime and use it during evening peak hours- when prices for energy are higher. Also, using the Tesla batteries after sundown might take the place of coal.

Science updates Sat, 02 May 2015 15:48:37 +0000
New App Detects Anxiety and Mood Disorders in Teens ANXIETY_opt-2BY CARLA CANTOR

A phone rings in the middle of the night, an anxious teen seeking guidance from a friend. Is it adolescent angst or a serious mental health problem?

Sometimes, it can be hard to tell.

That’s why Rutgers researchers have developed a smartphone app designed to monitor and evaluate moods and activities in real-time, allowing clinicians, school officials and parents to intervene should a child need help.

The app, piloted in a small study of middle school students, started as a joint project of Rutgers' Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP) and the university's Wireless Information Network Laboratory (WINLAB), a research center focused on wireless technology, and has expanded to include additional academic and industry partners.

Science updates Fri, 17 Apr 2015 14:14:56 +0000
Recalling Fine Arts and Putting Pizazz in GM Cars Ed_Welburn_1_optBY ROGER WITHERSPOON

Ed Welburn was as cool as ever.

A soft-spoken man with a quiet air, he moved through the centerpiece GM exhibit at the New York International Auto Show, barely glancing at the two showcase Cadillacs under wraps, which would be unveiled at a press preview in another hour. He would pause every now and then, look at the lighting, the angle of the cars and comment quietly to one of the many GM employees bustling around the exhibition hall.

Sometimes, Welburn would suggest a slight adjustment in the scene, the type of subtle shift one might expect from a trained artist. Other times, he’d drop a word of encouragement or appreciation to anxious staff. He walked alone, observant and confident, without the trailing entourage that usually accompanies top-level auto industry executives—particularly one who is playing such a key role in the resurrection of General Motors.

These have been trying times for GM, which last year had to recall nearly 27 million domestic cars and trucks and another 3 million overseas because of a host of dangerous engineering defects. This is an important show for GM, which is showcasing some 80 cars and trucks in an effort to overcome the seemingly unending flow of bad news with a cavalcade of eye-catching, flashy vehicles capable of luring motorists and their checkbooks into showrooms. On the main floor of the Auto Show, which closes Sunday at the cavernous Jacob Javits Center, are world debuts of the Cadillac CT6, the Chevrolet Malibu, the urban-oriented Chevy Spark, and the heavy duty GMC Terrain. Then there are minor amendments to some of GM’s signature sports cars, notably the Camaro and Corvette, which are sleeker and faster than ever.

Science updates Tue, 14 Apr 2015 03:55:00 +0000
Use Uber in New Jersey While You Can UBER2_optBY BOB HOLT

The transportation network Uber says they might not be in business in New Jersey much longer if certain regulations are passed.

Taxi companies say they are already heavily regulated, and would like things to be more even.

According to an Associated Press report on, proposed regulations are requiring ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft to display Motor Vehicle Commission markers when drivers are looking for fares. Also, their drivers must undergo background checks through the State Police, and the vehicles used must have safety inspections for vehicles.

Uber spokesman Matt Wing said the legislation might force the company to leave New Jersey. CBS New York reported that New Jersey would lose 5,000 jobs if the bill becomes law.

The bill got through the New Jersey Assembly last month. Under the legislation, the ride-sharing companies would have to insure their drivers’ vehicles while they were accepting fares. According to an report in, most Uber drivers use their personal vehicles to transport fares, and their insurance policies don’t cover commercial use of the automobiles.

Science updates Mon, 20 Apr 2015 15:18:59 +0000
Sea Bright Has a Troubling Erosion Problem SeaBright050815_optBY BOB HOLT

Part of the devastation of Hurricane Sandy in 2012 was the loss of sand from Jersey shore beaches.

Much of the sand has been replenished, but oddly, at one Jersey beach the sand is now disappearing again. reports that a section of the Sea Bright beach, which was once about 100 feet wide, has lost more than half its size through erosion. Local officials say that new dunes are unable to help with storm protection due to the sand loss.

Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long says the town has never seen erosion in North Beach before. "We raised the issue with the DEP who elevated our concerns to the Army Corps of Engineers who engineered the beach replenishment project," Long said, according to WORDontheShore..  "So, we pinpointed those hot spots for the Army Corps and they'll be investigating further."

Science updates Thu, 07 May 2015 16:30:05 +0000