Queries

Mr. Andrew Lee
Pennwell
P.O. Box 1260
Tulsa, OK 74101

Mr. Andrew Lee,
We, as undergraduate students in the College of Engineering at Cornell University, propose to inform your readers about the ascent of tidal power as a prominent form of renewable energy.

Renewable Energy World has published many articles about developing technology. In “Ocean Energy Developments” and "Wave and Tidal Power Development Status,” you discuss the status of and the problems being faced by hydropower. You also have a pattern of giving yearly updates on hydropower to show the newest developments to keep your readers well informed. In your July/August 2009 issue your publication even had a short sidebar about developments in tidal barrages. Our article would expand on that column by thoroughly discussing the potential of tidal power, including how the technology works and the problems that are being faced; this would give your readers an update on the advances in ocean energy.

As renewable energy becomes a topic of greater importance with each passing year, it is necessary that every alternative for “green” energy be studied in order to determine both the feasibility and electrical output potential given the installment of a sustainable power plant in any specific region. Tidal power, one of the newer sources of “green” energy, has the potential to generate up to 20 percent of the United Kingdom’s total electricity needs. A recent study identified eight ideal locations for tidal power stations around Great Britain, potentially making the UK a large contributor to the progression of hydropower. Currently, the largest tidal power station in the world, located in Brittany, France, generates an annual output of 600 GW from its 24 turbines. Other countries, such as Portugal, Russia, and South Korea are slowly following suit by increasing national funding for the development of offshore tidal barrages.

However, other studies show that ocean energy has economic costs that may hinder the development of this energy source. A study by Garrett and Cummins (published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A) shows tidal power can only generate electricity with 20 to 25 percent efficiency. According to their mathematical evaluation of the potential power of ocean currents, “a general formula gives the maximum average power as between 20 and 24% of the peak tidal pressure head … [multiplied by] the peak of the undisturbed mass flux through the channel.” Due mainly to the fact that the technology has not yet proven itself fully reliable, there is a general lack of funding around the world for ocean energy. Therefore, it is hard to say exactly how accepted hydropower will become in the next few years. In essence, the in depth discussion of both the benefits and costs of tidal power will be the determining factor for the future of this energy source.

While there are several articles published in your magazine that highlight both tidal and wave power, none focus primarily on the potential of tidal power alone. Therefore, we feel this article will generate interest in readers that wish to gain in-depth understanding of this concept. Publishing this article would give your readers a chance to learn more about a new and developing technology that has not yet received the coverage it deserves.

We hope you will consider publishing our article in Renewable Energy World. Thank you for your time and consideration. We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Ithaca, New York
14853


June 2, 2010

Mark Anslow
102 D Lana House Studios
116 - 118 Commercial Street
Spitalfields, London E1 6NF
United Kingdom

Dear Mr. Anslow,

Proposed article title:
Mother knows best: drawing inspiration from nature for sustainable design

At a time when environmental sustainability is at the forefront of the public consciousness, scientists and engineers often find themselves looking to nature for old solutions to new problems. Rather than reinventing the wheel in their R&D, designers are looking for existing biological solutions that have been continually refined by thousands of years of evolution. Commonly known as “biomimicry”, this method can result in efficient and effective designs that are eco-friendly.

For instance, the average structural engineer would not normally look to African termites for building advice. However, more and more scientists and engineers are doing just that, looking to these insects’ dwellings for lessons in environmentally friendly means of temperature regulation and moisture retention. They have found that termite quarters maintain relatively constant temperatures throughout and that moisture is incredibly conserved within the soil walls. And they began asking, What can these qualities do for humans? In response to that question, engineers are designing buildings with similar airflow patterns in an attempt to conserve energy by obviating the need for mechanical power, and to preserve natural resources.

Who knew the millions disgusted by insects would one day be trying to live like them?

In another instance of biomimicry, the English outerwear company Finisterre keeps the Earth green by choosing to not produce environmentally hazardous materials. In the outerwear industry, waterproofing is plagued by harsh chemicals and solvents that harm our ecosystem. Avoiding the synthetic path, Finisterre looks to different kinds of animal fur for advice on the physical properties of waterproofing. Couple this methodology with using only recycled and recyclable materials and Finisterre is a clothing company that protects you from the elements while simultaneously protecting the elements themselves.

The Ecologist has traditionally been a platform for those who would lead the environmental movement. Our article builds on this, elaborating upon a nature-based methodology that is revolutionizing science and engineering. Although your magazine has briefly mentioned one or two examples of biomimetic technologies in the past, you have never had an in-depth feature about it. We believe that this article will both inform and intrigue any reader with even a passing interest in either the environment or technology.

Our writing team consists of well-rounded engineers majoring in the fields of Engineering Physics, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Civil Engineering at Cornell University. Our diverse knowledge in scientific fields has enabled us to analyze the topic of biomimicry and its effect on advances in green technologies with deep understanding. We have research and design experience from our working in academia and industry. We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,


The Cornell Corpus Group
Carpenter Hall ~ Ithaca, NY 14853
(607) 255-5933 ~ fax: (607) 255-0278
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June 1, 2010

Scientific American
Neda Afsarmanesh
Press Officer, Nature Publishing Group
New York, NY

Dear Ms. Afsarmanesh:

Craig Venter's "synthetic cell" brings to light many obvious issues in bioethics. Does it constitute creating artificial life? Could unnatural life forms cause unknown disasters if released into the wild? A practical concern that accompanies this research is whether the patents Venter is seeking to protect his work will interfere with these ethical concerns and cripple the bioengineering industry.

We would like to offer a 2,000 word article titled "A Research Monopoly? The Influence of Patents on Bio Medical Research." The article will discuss the recent developments pertaining to Dr. Craig Venter's bacterial cell and the issues with patents that it generates. Finally, the article will suggest possible reforms for the patent system.

The article will essentially be divided into four sections. The first two will act as a base for the third with the fourth building upon the third. The first shall begin with a brief background on Venter's bacterial cell. Along with the history of its scientific development, we will explain the theory and science behind the bacterial cell and chemically synthesized genome.

The second development in the article will focus on the US patent system and its presence in modern day science and technology. It will discuss the process and facets of the US patent system. It will also elaborate on recent issues in the biomedical industry with patents and the how the court system has handled said issues.

Our third installment will aim to seamlessly tie together patents, Venter's cell, and both of said topics' influence on biomedical research and development. In particular, we will look at what Venter has tried to patent and may aim to patent from his recent research and how future research in synthetic life could be adversely affected by Venter's patents. This discussion transitions fluidly into the place of patents in biological research, where subsequent research may heavily depend on what has already been done. We will also take this section to speak about the ethical implications of Venter's work and how patents will shape these issues.

The fourth will serve to suggest improvements and reforms of the current system to better assist the development of science and technology as a whole, along with biomedical research. We will consider both sides of the patent argument as it pertains to these fields in an effort to point toward a solution that will maintain the classical intention of the patent system while ensuring that scientific research and addressing the ethical concerns presented by such research is not hindered by patent restrictions .

As engineering undergraduates at Cornell University, we have kept abreast of developments in 21st-century technology. As future professionals, the legal use of these developments is of concern for us.

We hope our article intrigues you. Please let us know if we may send a sample of our article.

Sincerely,

The Cornell Corpus Group


David Remnick
Editor in Chief
The New Yorker
4 Times Square
New York, NY 10036-6592
June 10, 2010

Dear Editor in Chief,

The New Yorker is a highly-acclaimed magazine geared towards an educated, intellectual audience. My colleagues and I believe that we have an article that will interest and educate your readers. As you may know, green energy technology is an up and coming area of interest. As the world’s fuel sources dwindle, the need for sustainable and renewable energy becomes an outstanding priority. The vast quantity of energy that is consumed on a daily basis in America is strikingly large; 1.3 trillion kilowatt hours of energy can be attributed to residential household expenditures. Until a permanent, renewable energy source can replace fossil fuels, alternative energy sources are crucial.

This article will also discuss innovations in green technology, such as the more energy efficient microinverter and other technologies that can increase the performance of the Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system in an average household. Readers may also be interested in SmartHome technology developed by Telkonet; it is a control and sensory system that recognizes when a room is occupied or vacant. It adjusts the temperature accordingly to save energy. SmartHomes have been implemented on a small scale and have proved successful, so their expansion to the private sector seems inevitable. It’s feasible that by the end of the decade, the average household will be equipped with SmartHome technology.

We understand that the technological and scientific concepts of green technology may be over technical for the average reader, but we believe that it can be explained very succinctly. It is imperative that the reader understands how the technology works. The following passage from our article discusses a complicated piece of technology in a way that is accessible to the common reader:

“One new innovative piece of technology utilized is the new microinverter; this improved inverter converts solar energy into alternating current (AC), which is utilized by common household appliances. The microinverter only requires a fraction of the sunlight that currently utilized inverters need to produce usable energy. This will greatly increase the efficiency of the solar panels and will ultimately save the consumer money.”

The green energy movement is crucial to the survival of our environment and the government is making an effort to forward the smart home movement. The United States Government recognizes our dwindling energy reservoir and has found ways to help those that are developing green energy technologies. For example, the Green Technology Pilot program, launched by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), will "allow more categories of technology to be eligible for expedited processing under the program." As a result, companies can bring technology to the market at a faster rate. This segment of our article attracts readers with political interests.

Our article will add a new dynamic to The New Yorker, as most published articles are usually presented in the form of blogs. It discusses a new, innovative area of science that has the ability to improve daily life. Readers will not only be drawn to the educational value of the article, but will also take away a personal value. Consequently, they will be more motivated to contribute to the growing green energy initiative.

Thank you for taking the time to read about our article and we hope you consider publishing it.

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