Short items

Medicating hungry pigs
A drug trial in pigs has shown that a treatment developed to treat varicose veins can curb the appetite, so could offer an alternative for obese people, say US researchers. Injecting sodium morrhuate into blood vessels supplying part of the stomach cut the tissue’s production of ghrelin, a hormone linked with hunger. 
Reuters  , 16 September 2008 

Striking gas in Wales 
Australian energy company Eden says it has found large quantities of coalbed methane in several sites in south Wales, UK, which could be tapped as a source of energy. The discovery could supply 5 per cent of the UK’s energy needs for a year, and several other sites may hold more. 
The Guardian  , 8 September 2008 

Light-activated antibiotic 
A Northern Ireland team of scientists have developed light-activated antibiotic effective at killing drug-resistant strains of bacteria, including MRSA. The drug is applied to infected wounds by incorporation into a hydrogel, which slowly releases the active compound. In lab tests, the drug had a 100 per cent success rate. 
The Daily Mail  , 8 September 2008 

Proton gun fights wine fraud 
A UK wine merchant is working with French CNRS scientists to detect counterfeit vintage wines. The technique, which uses a proton source to produce an x ray spectrum of the bottle, leaves the potentially very valuable wine undisturbed. The spectrum is compared with bottles known to come from the same chateaux, to make sure it matches. 
The Telegraph  , 4 September 2008 

Hydrogen helps fuel efficiency 
Japanese start-up Hrein Energy says it can increase the fuel consumption of current cars by retrofitting them with tiny hydrogen generators. Adding 3 per cent hydrogen to the intake air of conventional petrol cars allows a much leaner fuel burn. The hydrogen is produced by using waste exhaust heat to break down a reusable liquid organic hydride. 
The Guardian  , 21 August 2008