Bio-hydrogen With all the talk about global warming on this site, I started thinking about the often talked about need for alternative fuels to gasoline. One that is often mentioned is hydrogen. Hydrogen fuel is not practical today because it either has to be electrolyzed from water, (takes more energy than it produces) or perhaps brought up from the sea floor in the form of methane (expensive). But now a new solution seems to have been found. In this paper scientists have found bacteria that produce hydrogen as a result of their photosynthesis. If genetic engineers can find a way to increase this output, these bacteria could be used for commercial hydrogen production. Maybe someday families will have their own powerplants in the backyard: a transparent tank filled with water and a large supply of these bacteria along with a generator to burn the hydrogen to provide electricity for the house and an electric or hydrogen car. There was an article about this in a Discover magazine a few months ago but I have been unable to track it down. I think this has possibly the greatest potential of any other ideas I've heard so far because it doesn't require any energy input from people: the sun and the bacteria do all the work. Deep Freeze Pt 1 With the unseasonably warm weather over the last month or so, it can be easy to forget what wqinter can do. Anyone who lived through February 1899 needs no help though. It was arguably the worst cold snap in US history as every one of the lower 48 recorded at least one temperature below zero. In Florida, Miami had a rare hard freeze at 29* while Tallahassee dropped to -2*F; downright warm compared to much of the rest of the country. The Mississippi River froze solid along its entire length; citizens of New Orleans saw ice float into the Gulf of Mexico for only the second time in history as temperatures fell to 7*. At the same time, a massive nor'easter dumped 3 feet of snow in New England. Many city and state record lows were established during this time. The coldest temperature was recorded in Fort Logan, Montana at -61*. For more information see the Extreme Weather Guide book, an excellent source for information about extreme weather events. Next time: 1816- the Year without a Summer. 2006 Hurricanes Even though it is February, last season proved that the word "off-season" has begun to lose its punch. The modelsare hinting that a sub-tropical or tropical storm may develop near Africa next week. If it does it will be named Alberto. Right now, I give it about a 15-20% chance of making it. Regardless of what this particular system does, I am maintaining my prediction that at least one storm, maybe two, will develop before the official start of the season on June 1. This even more likely because of the return of La Nina, which often leads to more hurricanes in the Atlantic. It is still uncertain how it will affect this season, but I wouldn't be suprised to see a TS count in the upper teens; well above normal but nowhere near last season's maniac production.