AMBERGRIS CAYE, BELIZE
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|San Pedro Daily||Sunday,
April 1, 2012
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Electric squid power homes
A team of scientists from Belize have succesfully harvested electricity from squid. The invertebrates have been discharging enough bioelectricity to run the lighting and air-conditioning units at the research centre on Glover’s Reef Caye on the Caribbean coast.
The team lead by Dr Dino Vanidici have published their findings in the Journal of Invertebrate Science and believe it could herald a breakthrough in sustainable energy. The researchers used the Belize Rainbow Squid (pictured) which discharges an electric shock equivalent to 202V but has been known to produce up to 380V, they then collected the discharge onto a conductor placed in the pen and used it to charge a capacitor which was connected to a large set of batteries.
Dr Vanidici told ELN: “The squid are kept in pens in the sea and we have about 200 per pen. We have put a small underwater microphone in the sea that sends a signal at a certain frequency that makes the squid discharge their shock onto the conductor. It doesn’t harm the squid and they can keep discharging up to 30 times an hour on average they produce 5A of current.”
“It’s small scale but and we are producing on average 20kW of power per hour and that’s with considerable wastage in the converting process. We’ve used it to power our research facilities and are now trialling the system for a few homes in the nearby village, we believe for small rural fishing communities across Belize and the wider Caribbean this could be a great source of sustainable energy.”
The Rainbow Squid is plentiful in the seas around Belize and has been found across the western Caribbean coastal waters of Mexico, Honduras and as far east as Cuba and the Caymans. If the trials in Belize are successful the project could be duplicated across the region.
Dr Vanidici insisted the squid were not being harmed by constantly discharging their electric shocks: “They use their shocks all the time in nature to navigate and capture prey and even to attract a mate, as they discharge they often change colour hence their name. Animal rights people can say its cruel but its just like a dog barking, the squid do this anyway all the time we are just harnessing mother nature’s gift. Besides they don’t taste good so they are not caught for food here and we have plenty of them that can be used by the fishermen as a source of income.”
But critics still say its a dubious practice. Sheila Granoche of the Belize Aquatic Large Lagoon Society said there was a danger of exploitation: “The Rainbow Squid has its place in the ecosystem and if there is more and more harvesting of them for power it could upset the balance of the seas. I’m all for renewable power but we must not destroy the seas to get it.”
Energy Live News
Medical Students Intern
at the Dr. Otto Rodriguez PolyClinic
Six medical students are at the Dr. Otto Rodriguez PolyClinic II for a two week elective program. The students came to the clinic through the Medics Away program. Medics Away Ltd. is an international organization that offers highly rewarding overseas experiences for medical students and professionals through electives and activity breaks in a wide range of destinations.
Medics Away Ltd was founded in 2003 with the aim to help qualified 3rd, 4th and 5th -year student doctors with the fulfillment of their medical electives.
The Medics Away Foundation was set up by Dr. Giles Molyneux to distribute funds to targeted health care projects in hospitals and communities which host Medics Away medical students during their medical electives. Since 2003, Medics Away has organized medical electives and medical internships for hundreds of students in locations around the world. Destinations offered include Bali, Belize,Canada, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Peru, Tobago and Thailand.
The six students at the PolyClinic are from two universities in the United Kingdom. Four of students are from the University of Warwick Medical School in Warwick, England, while two students are from the University of Nottingham Medical School in Nottingham, England. According to Dr. Zuniga of the PolyClinic, “These students basically go to other countries, primarily third world countries to have a different feel for the medical system in each of the countries they travel to. Every year we have a couple students that come in. The students that we have now come from a program called Medics Away, but we usually get contacts from the students themselves. Normally we are contacted by the students and we require them to send us letters that state that they are studying medicine in a particular university, a letter from the university and a CV. We send it to our managers who then approve that they can come to the clinic to do their electives.”
At the PolyClinic the students get to sit in with the doctors and as part of their stay they get to observe the health system. At the clinic, the students also have a chance to experience emergencies as well as attending to patients in the outpatient setting and in the maternal child health which is pre natal care and the immunization program.
Through the Medics Away program, there is a small donation of $50 per week per student that is given to the clinic. Rathiga Rudra, one of the visiting students spoke to The San Pedro Sun of her visit, “We get to submit a report about our elective, describing what we’ve done, what we’ve learned and the experience that we’ve gained. This goes towards our final grade. I have been here going on two weeks. I think it’s really interesting because, I think for a third world country, we were quite shocked that it was a free clinic; that it offers free service to the public. The island is absolutely lovely, we really enjoy it. We think that the laid back lifestyle, and the golf carts and the sand and the sea, it’s really lovely and everyone is so friendly and welcoming. We’ve got to see quite a variety of experiences.”
At the end of the week, when the six students complete their stay, two other students will be taking their place at the PolyClinic.
San Pedro Sun
Belize Premiere League
comes to San Pedro
The San Pedro Seadogs returned victorious after their last away game. The Seadogs along with fans and sponsors travelled to San Ignacio on Sunday, March 25th where they went up against World FC at the Norman Broaster Stadium. Scoring goals for World FC were Carlos Vasquez and Richard Carrillo. Kent Gabourel placed the Seadogs on the scoring board in the 39th minute of the game, while Francisco Mejia scored two more goals, giving the Seadogs the win in a game of 2:3.
After almost an entire season of playing home games away from home, the Seadogs are now able to play their remaining three home games here on the island. According to SP Seadogs secretary, Phillip “Billy” Leslie, “Our request for home games has been granted. From the inception of the San Pedro Seadogs, we have been denied the chance to hold home games because of inadequate representation. The person we sent to represent us did not fight San Pedro’s case, because he wasn’t from San Pedro. When the committee found this out we went and made a request to the league which is under the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) and the league looked at our request. Because the timing coincided with the FFB elections for president and other members of the league, our request was left unattended. We have three games left in this round, which includes the Easter holiday which will all be played here in San Pedro. We have made the required adjustments to the stadium and we are confident that we will win our remaining three games which will place us in contention for the other round.”
In elaborating on the conditions of the Ambergris Stadium and the role that played in the rejection of the home games being played here on the island, Leslie reiterated; “The main reason why we did not have home games was our lack of representation; there was no fight for San Pedro’s case. We all know that we have the right sized field. The facilities were not kept to standards of which the SP Seadog’s committee has been working on. We have upgraded the restrooms; in fact we went from two restrooms to three restrooms. We have even upgraded an area for the officials to change. We are currently dialoguing with an external company to place four major light stations instead of one light in every corner. We are working to duplicate what a stadium really needs so that he lighting would not bother you. The league has agreed that we will play day games, so lighting will not be a problem.”
Football fans across Ambergris Caye are invited to come out this Sunday, April 1st to cheer on the SP Seadogs as they go up against FC Belize at the Ambergris Stadium. The game starts at 2:30PM with a $10 cover charge at the gate.
San Pedro Sun
South Ambergris Caye Neighbourhood Watch is hosting a family beach day fundraising event this Sunday, April 1st starting at 11:30am thru til 4:30pm just south of Athens Gate. There will be a barbeque chicken platter and dessert available for $20. Rum punch, beer and rum drinks sold for $5 and soft drinks and water $2. We will have a scavenger hunt, tombola, fish pond game, horseshoes, Chinese Auction, raffles and live music with Gino. Great prizes are up for grabs! Come and join the fun and support a community organization.
SP Library Children Easter Program
The dates are April 2,3,4, 2012.
Children ages 7 - 10. Time 10:00 am to Noon and 2:00 to 4:00 pm. Stop by the library to sign in, Limited space.
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