Córdoba University Invents Almond-Husk Powered Car Battery

A planet-friendly way to fuel a car, in a nutshell!

Batteries for electrically-powered vehicles that run on almond shells last 60% longer than the conventional variety, says the team.
“Climate change is a reality and its consequences are becoming clearer and clearer,” a spokesperson for the university says, “to the point where governments of the world’s main countries are taking steps to avoid the problem that could even lead to a possible ban on vehicles that run on combustible fuel.”

If this were to happen, drivers all over the planet would gradually have to switch their petrol, diesel and hybrid cars to 100% electrically-fuelled versions, but these are slow to catch on at present, due to concerns about how long the battery power would last and whether there would be a charging point available in time, as well as the length of time it takes to recharge – and, of course, the very high purchase price for this type of vehicle.

The Inorganic Chemistry FQM-175 team at Córdoba University Fine Chemistry and Nanochemistry Institute (IUNAN) has spent the last few years trying to develop lithium or sulphur batteries suitable for cars, using materials that are kind to the environment, efficient at energy storage and high-performance. One such material that seems to work as fuel for these batteries is almond shells, say Almudena Benítez and Marcos González of the IUNAN.

The results of their research have been published in the magazine Materials, and explain how almond husks can be converted into micro-porous active carbon and describe its excellent performance in sulphur-based batteries. Testing the battery with express chargers, which take around an hour to completely refuel a car, has been successful.

The future of the car market will see increasing demand for faster and faster chargers, biomass-based fuels – which are kinder to the environment – and greater safety guarantees. This latter aspect is the focus of the IUNAN’s latest research – building batteries using 3D graphite and non-flammable electrolytes.

Take Down Pro-Franco Memorabilia

Hundreds of towns and villages in Spain have been ordered to remove vestiges of General Franco’s dictatorship – including renaming streets that have been dedicated to the fascist leader and his supporters. A total of 1,171 roads and squares retain names or figures that were originally homage to the dictator and his men. This falls in line with the Law of Historic Memory, passed in 2007, and the request has come from the ministry of justice.
One case, in 2013, reached the Supreme Court where judges ruled that a statue of the dictator on horseback in Madrid’s San Juan de la Cruz square must be taken down.

Julio Iglesias Wins Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award

Legendary crooner Julio Iglesias has become the first Spaniard to win an honorary Grammy Award.

Father of Miami-based pop sensation Enrique, Julio revealed firstly that he wanted to be a footballer, not a singer. Now 75 years old, with a 15-year-old brother, Julio has added a Spanish name to the honorary Grammy line-up, which includes the late greats: Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin and Frank Sinatra, Nobel Literature Prize winner Bob Dylan and Yendl star Barbra Streisand.

Julio Iglesias is the top-selling Latin artiste in history and in his more than 50 years on the music scene, has achieved more than any other Spanish singer. The Madrid-born star, who was once married to half-Philippine model and presenter Isabel Preysler – mother of Enrique and now wife of Peruvian Nobel novelist Mario Vargas Llosa – was left lying on his back and with very few hopes of ever being able to walk again after a car crash in 1962, when he was just 20. His father’s assistant gave him a guitar to cheer him up and he started composing songs during his long recovery and intense, painful physio. He then moved to London to learn English. During his time in the UK capital, a young Julio sang now and again in the Air Port Pub, but his musical career did not truly take off until July 17th 1968 when, aged 26, he won the International Song Festival in Benidorm with his own creation, La Vida Sigue Igual composed during his convalescence from the crash.

Barely eight years later Julio was on stage for the first time in Madison Square Garden, New York, breaking all box-office records with tickets selling out faster than for any other artiste in history.
Once again, Julio broke records in Japan in 1982. Aged 40, he sold 1.2 million copies of his album De Niña a Mujer and, with his eponymous 1987 album, became the first-ever artiste to sell two million records in a language other than English in the USA. A year later, the bilingual singer became the first artiste to have his own special programme aired live in China, which was watched by 400 million viewers.

Julio has duetted with literally hundreds of other singers from all over the world in several languages – including Willie Nelson, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Sting, Dolly Parton, Placido Domingo, Charles Aznavour and Johnny Halliday. He has won a string of Grammy and Latin Grammy Awards, Billboard Latin Music, World Music and ASCAP Awards, and has been granted medals and other decorations from governments from all over the globe.

In Spain, Julio has received the Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts and the Royal Order of Isabel the Catholic and he has been decorated with the Légion d’Honneur in France and with a star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, in Nagoya (Japan) and Rotterdam. He was the only foreign artiste ever to win China’s Golden Record Award, the country’s highest musical distinction, as the best-selling non-Chinese musical performer in the country.

Star Police Dog Elton Retired With Honours

A police dog who helped crack the cases of missing Diana Quer and Gabriel Cruz Ramírez, among another 500 cases, has been retired with honours.

Elton was key in tracing 18-year-old Madrid-born Diana, whose body was found in Galicia last New Year’s Eve after a 15-month search and also 8-year-old Gabriel from Almería, leading to the killers of both ending up in custody.

He also took part in the as-yet fruitless searches for the bodies of Marta del Castillo, murdered 10 years ago by her ex-boyfriend in Sevilla when she was 17 and Yéremi Vargas, who is believed to have been abducted by a paedophile in 2007 from outside his Gran Canaria home, when he was seven.

Elton is so well-trained that he can provide proof of a homicide from the smallest drop of blood. Dogs used in the forces are normally trained in one of three main specialist areas; safety, search and rescue; explosives detection; and drug detection, which can also include tobacco and food. Once trained, they then work for 7-10 years and typically retire at the age of 10 or 11. Where possible, they live the rest of their lives with the officer who was in charge of them when they were on duty, although where this is not practical for the officer in question, they are adopted as family pets. Retired police dogs are always ensured a good home for the rest of their days and their new owners, where the original officer cannot take them in, are very carefully selected.