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Gutierrez Urges Congress to Pass Legislation to Enable NTIA to Accelerate Distribution of DTV Coupons

Washington (Jan. 15)—U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez sent the following letter to Chairmen John D. Rockefeller and Henry A. Waxman to urge Congress to immediately pass legislation to enable Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to accelerate the distribution of TV converter box coupons to American households. (More) (Letters to Chairman Waxman and Chairman Rockefeller)

A NIST chemist demonstrates sampling of biodiesel fuel for injection into a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer, an instrument that separates and identifies the components of a mixture. Click here for larger photo.

New NIST Method Accelerates Stability Testing of Soy-Based Biofuel

Gaithersburg, Md. (Jan. 15)—The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed a method to accelerate stability testing of biodiesel fuel made from soybeans and also identified additives that enhance stability at high temperatures. The results, described in a new paper, could help overcome a key barrier to practical use of biofuels. Both oxidation and heating can cause biodiesel to break down, adversely affecting performance. NIST’s “advanced distillation curve” method could accelerate and simplify testing of biodiesels, according to lead author Tom Bruno. (More)

Photo of Northern fur seal pups on St. Paul Island.

NOAA Reports Decline in Northern Fur Seal Pup Estimates

Washington (Jan. 15)—Researchers at the National Marine Mammal Laboratory of NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center have marked another decline in northern fur seal pup births in the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea, where most of the world’s population of northern fur seals gather in the summer to rest and breed. “We started seeing an over-all decline in the abundance of fur seals on the Pribilof Islands around 1998, but we have not been able to identify the factors responsible,” said Dr. Doug DeMaster, center director. (More)