Thursday, February 26, 2015

Fwd: big

'Researchers from Australia and China have turned up an unfeasibly large black hole that almost dates back to the beginning of time.

At 12 billion times the Sun's mass, and in a quasar that was a million billion times as energetic as the Sun, it's not actually the largest black hole ever spotted. However, its redshift indicates that it's a black hole from very early in the universe.

That's the problematic part, according to Dr Fuyan Bian from the ANU's Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, who in a press release said: "Forming such a large black hole so quickly is hard to interpret with current theories".

At a redshift of greater than 6.30, the quasar, designated SDSSJ010013.021280225.8 (SDSS J0100+2802 in short) is one of only around 40 with that redshift, indicating that they formed in a much younger universe. This particular quasar formed when the universe was less than a billion years old, the researchers say.

Its huge size and age means it must have "gained enormous mass in a short period of time", Dr Bian said. However, as we currently understand black hole formation, this quasar shouldn't have had enough time to get so big.'

25 Animals Responsible For Killing The Most Humans

Check out this video on YouTube:

25 Everyday Things That Are Statistically Deadlier Than Sharks

Check out this video on YouTube:

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Re: Cell phones causing breast cancer.


Ionizing radiation can knock electrons out of their atomic orbits creating ions, or free radicals, which can damage the cell of the body.  If they damage the genetic code of a cell then this can lead to cell death or cancer.

Ionizing radiation is of 3 types:  Alpha particles, beta particles, and photons.  I think that all three are given off by nuclear reactions or radioactive decay, but we also have devices that give off photons.

Photons are considered a form of radiant energyelectromagnetic radiation, which means that they are force carrying particles.   Electromagnetic radiation (photons) includes radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, visible light, ultraviolet radiation  X-rays and gamma rays.  The higher the frequency, the more energy the photons have and the more likely they could be ionizing.  Radio waves are below the energy level of visible light therefore are not considered ionizing.  I have heard that a tiny fraction of the energy could be absorbed by the body, but the only effect would be that the body part absorbing the energy would feel warmer.

On Sun, Feb 22, 2015 at 1:41 PM, Geneva  wrote:

From: "Facebook" 

View Post

Monday, February 16, 2015

Oh-My ... particle

in other words, a subatomic particle with kinetic energy equal to that of 50 Joules, or a 5-ounce (142 g) baseball traveling at about 100 kilometers per hour (60 mph)

... The energy of this particle is some 40 million times that of the highest energy protons that have been produced in any terrestrial particle accelerator.

Such a particle would all by itself pack quite a wallop.  I have read that if you could stick your hand in the proton particle stream of the Large Hadron Collider, you would no longer have a hand.

The universe as we know it is full of violent events, but it is hard to see how a natural event could create this without us detecting the event itself.   This makes me wonder if the particle could have been shot out by some alien spaceship electromagnetic propulsion?  All the energy used to propel the particle would propel the spacecraft in the opposite direction, i.e Newton's third law of motion.  The only problem with this idea is that our current methods of accelerating particles to very high speeds require many miles of equipment costing billions of dollars.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Fwd: Measles

'Before the introduction of a live measles vaccine in 1963, the average yearly number of measles cases was 549,000. (Nearly 500 deaths per year were attributed to measles).

Once the measles vaccine was introduced (it was a one-dose shot), there was a huge drop in measles cases.

Then, between 1989 and 1991, there was a resurgence in measles cases. There were 55,000 cases and 123 deaths reported during that period.

Those getting sick were mostly unvaccinated children. But there were also people who had the vaccine and were getting the disease anyway.

In 1989, the medical community's recommendation was updated to recommend a two-dose vaccination regimen.

The use of two doses was effective. In 2000, endemic measles was declared "eliminated" from the United States. '


Monday, February 9, 2015

Fwd: new

'Bacteria Turn Sunlight to Liquid Fuel in 'Bionic Leaf'

Researchers have paired a solar-powered catalyzing device with genetically engineered bacteria to convert water and carbon dioxide into an alcohol-based liquid fuel. The system, dubbed a "bionic leaf," is described in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The process is modeled after the way in which plants use photosynthesis to turn CO2, H2O and other ingredients into energy, but with some novel chemical twists. One of the researchers, Harvard's Dan Nocera, has been working on artificial leaf systems for more than a decade. "The catalysts I made are extremely well-adapted and compatible with the growth conditions you need for living organisms like a bacterium," Nocera said in a news release.

The catalyst uses sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Then a strain of bacteria known as Ralstonia eutropha combines the hydrogen with carbon dioxide to make isopropanol — the main ingredient in rubbing alcohol.

Another member of the research team, Harvard Medical School's Pamela Silver, said the experiment was a "proof of concept" for solar-to-chemical conversion. The next step is to boost the system's energy efficiency rate from its current level of nearly 1 percent to a goal of 5 percent.


Strong as Titanium, Cheap as Dirt: New Steel Alloy Shines

The strength of steel is proverbial, but that doesn't mean it can't be improved. It's heavy, after all, and there are stronger metals out there. But researchers in South Korea have created an alloy that's as strong as titanium, lighter than ordinary steel, and cheap to boot. The new alloy, described in the journal Nature, is created by allying the steel with aluminum — this lightens the steel, but also makes it weak. To counter that weakness, the team added a dash of manganese and a sprinkle of nickel, while modifying the way the metal crystals form at the nanometer scale. This new alloy has no flashy name just yet but is referred to as High Specific Strength Steel. It has an even better strength-to-weight ratio than the far more expensive titanium. '


Fwd: Temperature adjustment

'When future generations look back on the global-warming scare of the past 30 years, nothing will shock them more than the extent to which the official temperature records – on which the entire panic ultimately rested – were systematically "adjusted" to show the Earth as having warmed much more than the actual data justified.

Two weeks ago, under the headline "How we are being tricked by flawed data on global warming", I wrote about Paul Homewood, who, on his Notalotofpeopleknowthat blog, had checked the published temperature graphs for three weather stations in Paraguay against the temperatures that had originally been recorded. In each instance, the actual trend of 60 years of data had been dramatically reversed, so that a cooling trend was changed to one that showed a marked warming.

This was only the latest of many examples of a practice long recognised by expert observers around the world – one that raises an ever larger question mark over the entire official surface-temperature record. '

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Fwd: Big bang

'Scientists crushed as 'Big Bang' evidence evaporates on further analysis


It was supposed to be a revolutionary breakthrough: last March, a team of scientists found what are known as primordial gravitational waves, or ancient ripples in space-time that would have been produced just moments after the Big Bang, stunning direct evidence of a theory most scientists already hold true.


Or had they? On Jan. 30, two teams of scientists — one operating a European Space Agency telescope and the other the team that submitted the original paper — have decided it was all just a mirage kicked up by ordinary space dust in our galaxy, thus debunking what had been one of the biggest discoveries of 2014, according to a report by the Economist.


Such gravitational waves had long been sought by astronomers, as it would confirm that long-held theory that the universe suddenly expanded rapidly just instants after it exploded into existence, inflating at faster than the speed of light.


Most scientists hold that it is true based on indirect evidence, but so far, no one had been able to provide hard, direct evidence that this is what happened.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Fwd: Brain interface

'After more than a decade of engineering work, researchers at Brown University and a Utah company, Blackrock Microsystems, have commercialized a wireless device that can be attached to a person's skull and transmit via radio thought commands collected from a brain implant. Blackrock says it will seek clearance for the system from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, so that the mental remote control can be tested in volunteers, possibly as soon as this year.

The device was developed by a consortium, called BrainGate, which is based at Brown and was among the first to place implants in the brains of paralyzed people and show that electrical signals emitted by neurons inside the cortex could be recorded, then used to steer a wheelchair or direct a robotic arm (see "Implanting Hope")……

Fwd: DNA

'Reston, Va.-based Parabon Nanolabs, with funding from the Department of Defense, has debuted a breakthrough type of analysis called DNA phenotyping which the company says can predict a person's physical appearance from the tiniest DNA samples, like a speck of blood or strand of hair.

Fwd: Warm

'the BEST boffins have broken ranks with the NASA/NOAA/UK Met Office climate establishment and bluntly contradicted the idea that one can simply say "2014 was the hottest year on record". According to BEST's analysis (pdf):

Our best estimate for the global temperature of 2014 puts it slightly above (by 0.01 C) that of the next warmest year (2010) but by much less than the margin of uncertainty (0.05 C). Therefore it is impossible to conclude from our analysis which of 2014, 2010, or 2005 was actually the warmest year.

That may seem like not such a big deal, but it is really. At the moment the big debate in this area is about the "hiatus" - has global warming been stalled for the last fifteen-years-plus, or not?

If you think it hasn't, and you're seeking to convince ordinary folk without advanced knowledge in the area, it is a very powerful thing to be able to say "last year was the warmest on record".

If on the other hand you contend that global warming has been on hold for over a decade, saying "last year was almost exactly as hot as 2005 and 2010" fits exactly with the story you are trying to tell.

It matters, because colossal amounts of CO2 have been emitted during the hiatus period - on the order of a third of all that has ever been emitted by humanity since the Industrial Revolution, in fact. Nobody says that CO2 isn't a greenhouse gas, but it could well be that it isn't nearly as serious a problem as had been suggested.'

Fwd: Warm

Been following this issue closely since the late 1980's.  

When people say that 97% of all scientists claim that global warming is happening and it is our fault, they are referring one specific survey where the vast majority of people surveyed were not atmospheric scientists.  A few people surveyed were theologians.  Furthermore, it frames the question in the wrong way.  Almost nobody is denying that global warming is happening.

By calling people global warming deniers, people have misrepresented the position of the skeptics and really unfairly maligned them.  The is a straw man attack.   In reality, almost nobody is denying that global warming is happening, except maybe for a few crackpots.  The issues have always been how much is happening, how much of that is our fault, and most importantly whether there is negative or positive feedback.  This video outlines the position better than anything ...

25 years ago I was reading articles by skeptics.   At that time I was concerned about the issue and wanted to find out all I could about it.  The reason there were skeptics is that meteorologists were raising objections that we were moving too fast over an unproven theory.  There were others claiming that natural feedbacks would moderate global warming.

We have what is called the carbon dioxide cycle, where carbon is sequestered in rock underground and released by natural forces such as volcanoes.  So much carbon dioxide has been removed from the atmosphere that we have gone from an atmosphere of 43% carbon dioxide to 200 hundred parts per million before it went up to 300 parts per million.  Some people speculated that it would get so low that plants would have trouble growing.  The point is that CO2 levels have been much higher in past and been on a steady decline ever since.  70 million years ago, Utah was a tropical forest roamed by dinosaurs.  The CO2 level then was 5% and we are absolutely no danger of coming close to that level now.    

All of human civilization has arisen in a brief period between two ice ages.  In the 1970's NASA claimed we were about to enter another ice age.  Now geologists say no matter what we do, we will get another ice age in about 10,00 years.  In other words, there are natural forces beyond our control.

CO2 by itself is not enough to cause significant warming.  All assumptions of disaster are based upon water vapor adding to the warming.  

The issue of water vapor gets into the whole feedback issue as to whether it is positive or negative.  In this regard to this, see the first video and this one ... Lord Christopher Monckton ends the Global Warming Debate.  I have believed for over 20 years that the feedback was negative because I read articles to that effect, but also because when the temperatures spiked around 1999-2000 (during the peak of the sunspot cycle), it should had produced runaway greenhouse because of the positive feedback.  It didn't.  In 2007, during the low point of the sunspot cycle, over a hundred years of global warming seemed to disappear.  At this point I saw atmospheric scientists asking us to believe that we had entered a period of global cooling, which was also predicted in the mid 90's. 

Part of my concern is that I see what is politically motivated science.  I don't trust the government because this is an excuse to tax and control us, but the government is doing all the funding.  The cures for global warming aren't economically feasible.   The last U.N. report concluded that the global warming wasn't as much as we thought and it would cost too much to fix it.

Fwd: X-ray

'Hundreds of ancient papyrus scrolls that were buried nearly 2,000 years ago after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius could finally be read, thanks to a new technique.

The X-ray-based method can be used to decipher the charred, damaged texts that were found in the ancient town of Herculaneum without having to unroll them, which could damage them beyond repair, scientists say.

One problem with previous attempts to use X-rays to read the scrolls was that the ancient writers used a carbon-based material from smoke in their ink, said study co-author Vito Mocella, a physicist at the National Research Council in Naples, Italy.

"The papyri have been burnt, so there is not a huge difference between the paper and the ink," Mocella told Live Science. That made it impossible to decipher the words written in the documents.

If the new method works, it could be used to reveal the secrets of one of the few intact libraries from antiquity, the researchers said.

Both the Roman city of Pompeii and the nearby, wealthy seaside town of Herculaneum were wiped out when Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79, killing thousands of people and covering fine villas in ash and lava.

In the 1750s, workers uncovered a library in a villa thought to be the home of a Roman statesman. The site, known as the Villa of the Papyri, contained nearly 2,000 ancient papyrus scrolls that had been charred by the volcanic heat. '

Fwd: Mummies and Snowcrash

'In recent years scientists have developed a technique that allows the glue of mummy masks to be undone without harming the ink on the paper. The text on the sheets can then be read.

The first-century gospel is one of hundreds of new texts that a team of about three-dozen scientists and scholars is working to uncover, and analyze, by using this technique of ungluing the masks, said Craig Evans, a professor of New Testament studies at Acadia Divinity College in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.

"We're recovering ancient documents from the first, second and third centuries. Not just Christian documents, not just biblical documents, but classical Greek texts, business papers, various mundane papers, personal letters," Evans told Live Science. The documents include philosophical texts and copies of stories by the Greek poet Homer. [See Images of Early Christian Inscriptions and Artifacts]

The business and personal letters sometimes have dates on them, he said. When the glue was dissolved, the researchers dated the first-century gospel in part by analyzing the other documents found in the same mask.

One drawback to the process is that the mummy mask is destroyed, and so scholars in the field are debating whether that particular method should be used to reveal the texts they contain.'