Back to the baby pics. The Prime Minister was back on familiar photo opportunity territory yesterday.

A baby pinch and a sandwich pitch are no doubt safer than trying to explain away another economic policy change.

Steel without greenhouse gases. There’s a long way to go from the laboratory to a commercial steel making plant, but researchers at America’s MIT have found a way to make steel without greenhouse gas emissions. And the new technique has come about from trying to find a way of making oxygen on the moon.

Details are behind a paywall in the current edition of Nature. The available summary describes it thus:

“Molten oxide electrolysis (MOE) is an electrometallurgical technique that enables the direct production of metal in the liquid state from oxide feedstock and compared with traditional methods of extractive metallurgy offers both a substantial simplification of the process and a significant reduction in energy consumption. MOE is also considered a promising route for mitigation of CO2 emissions in steelmaking, production of metals free of carbon6, and generation of oxygen for extra-terrestrial exploration.”

The MIT academics have formed a company to develop the concept, which is still at the laboratory scale, to a commercially viable prototype electrolysis cell. They expect it could take about three years to design, build and test such a reactor.

The research was supported by the American Iron and Steel Institute and the U.S. Department of Energy.

News and views noted along the way.

  • Sub discovers signs of legendary Atlantis — “Japan agency finds unique granite mass off Brazil coast.”
  • The most important story in global economics nobody is paying attention to — “[China’s] powerful State Council said it will move to open its borders to the freer flow of capital.”
  • An interview with Julian Assange — “Corporate totalitarianism is spreading rapidly, and it’s not just Assange or Manning they want. It is all who dare to defy the official narrative.”
  • Al Gore’s golden years — “The almost president has become the ultimate Davos Man, a moral entrepreneur and richer than Mitt Romney.”
  • Letter to the editor of The Times Literary Supplement: artistic freedom in China — “We cannot, however, listen to China’s great and emerging creative voices without hearing the silence of those whose voices are forcibly restrained.”
  • The surprising uses for birdsong — “Can a nightingale’s song help you pass an exam or a blackbird’s twittering encourage you to open a bank account? Sound experts are using it to do both.”
  • Imelda’s sweet sauce — “Turning the life and times of Imelda Marcos into a piece of musical theater set in a disco is almost too obvious. She was, after all, a disco queen herself, dancing the nights away under mirror balls installed in her various palaces and townhouses, with her entourage of louche international socialites and B-movie actors who often looked like George Hamilton, including George Hamilton himself. The problem with the idea is that nothing on stage can ever be quite as zany as the Filipino first lady’s real life.”