Newscripts | November 29, 2004 Issue - Vol. 82 Issue 48 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 82 Issue 48 | p. 48 | Newscripts
Issue Date: November 29, 2004

All science, all the time, 'Hydrogen Hurricane' wins competition, Allergy-friendly felines

Department: Newscripts


All science, all the time


The first broadcast of TSN was a seminar called "Stem Cells: Science, Ethics, and Politics at the Crossroads." The program aired on the University of California Television (UCTV) network throughout October and is now available on TSN's website (

While currently sharing the airwaves with UCTV, the Science Network hopes to obtain its own network. Programs in development include "Science Week in Review," featuring a moderated panel to discuss social implications of science; "Science Book TV"; and "Next," an interview show exploring the implications of science and technology developments. TSN may also show older programs, such as "Cosmos" and "Nova."

'Hydrogen Hurricane' wins competition

Another American Institute of Chemical Engineers annual conference brought another Chem-E-Car competition. The competition was held on Nov. 7 in Austin, Texas. The University of Tulsa, Oklahoma, team took this year's performance race by coming within 14 inches of the finish line.

Dubbed the "Hydrogen Hurricane," the car was powered by fuel cells built by previous team members. In order to make the car stop, the team developed a circuit containing a magnesium strip. Hydrochloric acid slowly deteriorated the strip until the circuit was broken, thus stopping the car. Using different concentrations of hydrochloric acid caused the car to stop at different distances.

A total of 31 schools registered to compete in this year's competition. Second place went to Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville (22.8 inches from the finish line), and the University of South Carolina came in third at 44 inches. The University of Tulsa team received $2,000 and a trophy for winning.

Teams designed and constructed cars powered by chemical energy sources. The cars had to carry a load of 400 mL of water over a distance of 75 feet and stop. Teams found out the distance and load one hour prior to the competition. Components of the car had to fit into a shoe box, and the cost of the car could not exceed $1,000.

The University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, took first place in the poster session. Oklahoma State University and Drexel University, in Philadelphia, placed second and third, respectively.

Other awards presented at the competition were Most Creative Drive System (Oklahoma State University), the Golden Tire Award for most creative vehicle design (Oklahoma State University), Most Consistent Performance (Tennessee Technological University), and Spirit of the Competition (University of Puerto Rico).

Allergy-friendly felines

If money is no object and you like to do your holiday shopping a few years early, here's a gift that just might be the cat's meow--especially if the recipient loves cats but is allergic to them.

Los Angeles-based Allerca launched a project last month to suppress an allergen-producing glycoprotein in cats using a gene-silencing technique.

The first of these genetically modified kitties will be British Shorthairs and aren't expected for delivery until 2007. The company, however, is currently accepting reservations with a deposit of $250. Each hypoallergenic cat will cost $3,500.

Allerca doesn't want to limit itself to one type of cat. The company's website ( also allows visitors to participate in a survey to choose the next cat breed. Choices include Persian, Maine Coon, and Siamese. The cats are the first in Allerca's line of "transgenic lifestyle pets."

This week's column was written by Rachel Pepling. Please send comments and suggestions to

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