Weird Norns


The Norns (Old Norse: norn, plural: nornir) in Norse mythology[1] are female beings who rule the destiny of gods and men. They roughly correspond to other controllers of humans’ destiny, such as the Fates, elsewhere in European mythology.

In Snorri Sturluson‘s interpretation of the Völuspá, Urðr (Wyrd), Verðandi and Skuld, the three most important of the Norns, come out from a hall standing at the Well of Urðr or Well of Fate. They draw water from the well and take sand that lies around it, which they pour over Yggdrasill so that its branches will not rot.[2] These three Norns are described as powerful maiden giantesses (Jotuns) whose arrival from Jötunheimr ended the golden age of the gods.[2] They may be the same as the maidens of Mögþrasir who are described in Vafþrúðnismál (see below).[2]

Weird Wyrd



Wyrd is a feminine noun,[10] and its Norse cognate urðr, besides meaning “fate”, is the name of one of the Norns; urðr is literally “that which has come to pass”, verðandi is “what is in the process of happening” (the present participle of the verb cognate to weorþan) and skuld “debt, guilt” (from a Germanic root *skul- “to owe”, also found in English shall). “Wyrd has been interpreted as a pre-Christian Germanic concept or goddess of fate by some scholars. Other scholars deny a pagan signification of wyrd in Old English literature, but assume that wyrd was a pagan deity in the pre-Christian period.”[11]

Toyota’s hydrogen burner for industrial use; NOx emissions below natural gas burner levels, zero CO2



Lowering oxygen concentration inside the furnace. If the fuel mixture contains a high concentration of oxygen at the time of ignition, combustion is violent with a high flame temperature. To prevent this, small holes are opened in the pipes that supply hydrogen to the burner, enabling small volumes of hydrogen and oxygen to pre-combust. Oxygen concentrations are consequently reduced to an optimal 19% level for main combustion, resulting in a lower flame temperature.


To achieve the targets set out in its Plant Zero CO2 Emissions Challenge, which forms part of the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050, Toyota is implementing innovative technologies and everyday kaizen (continuous improvement) activities. Toyota also aims to use energy in its plants that comes from renewable sources, including hydrogen energy.


Sounds like EGR…



Air in China Getting Better?

Is the journalist’s job translating press releases to the masses?


Substantial changes in air pollution across China during 2015 to 2017

The first detailed analysis of air pollution trends in China reveals a 20 per cent drop in concentrations of particulate pollution over the last three years (2015-2017).

A study by the University of Leeds has examined measurements from more than 1600 locations in China and found that more than 50 per cent of the locations showed a significant decrease in concentrations of sulphur dioxide and fine particulates that make up a large portion of air pollution.

The team used datasets from 2015 to 2017 consisting of hourly assessments of concentrations of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), Ozone (O3), and fine particles measuring less than 2.5 µm (PM2.5).

The hourly data was used to calculate monthly averages and determine overall concentration levels as well as which regions of China have the highest and lowest concentrations. The data was then used to assess whether pollutant concentrations had changed over the 2015 to 2017 period. The team found that concentrations of PM2.5 fell by 7.2% per year over this period and concentrations of SO2 fell by 10.3% per year. In contrast, O3 concentrations increased by 5% per year.

Study co-author Professor Dominick Spracklen, from the School of Earth and Environment at Leeds, said: “Rapid economic growth and large increases in emissions has led to serious air quality issues across China. One of the most dangerous components of air pollution is fine particulate matter that measures less than the width of a human hair. These particles can penetrate deeply into the lungs causing serious health complications. Exposure to these particles is estimated to cause more than 1 million deaths across China each year.

“In response the Chinese government introduced policies to reduce emissions and set ambitious targets to limit the amount of particulates in the atmosphere. This is the first detailed assessment as to whether these policies are having an impact.”

Ben Silver, study lead author and post graduate researcher at Leeds, said “Our work shows rapid and extensive changes in air pollution right across China. In particular it is encouraging to see that levels of fine particulate matter have fallen rapidly in the last few years.

“While more research is needed to fully assess what is driving the trends we’ve uncovered here, particularly what is causing the widespread increase in ozone concentrations, we can see that China’s emissions control policies seem to be on the right track.”

Further information:

This work was funded by the AIA Group, which is the largest independent publicly listed pan-Asian life insurance group, headquartered in Hong Kong. AIA is committed to playing a meaningful role in combatting rising health issues in Asia, including through support for improved air quality in the region.

The paper: Substantial changes in air pollution across China during 2015 to 2017 has been accepted into Environmental Research Letters. (DOI: /10.1088/1748-9326/aae718).

The accepted manuscript is available for download:

Full bibliographic information

Substantial changes in air pollution across China during 2015 to 2017, Ben Silver et al.
Environmental Research Letters
Currently accepted for publication
DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/aae718