I also missed posting on the Vernal Equinox, so belated Happy Eostre/Ostara. I've got a Geochron-like gadget on my iGoogle homepage, and couldn't miss those straight, straight, up-and-down terminator markings, but never got to LJ.
Also missed Ada Lovelace Day, for which I should make icons. It's been designated a day to celebrate all women in the sciences, and of course Sydney Padua is all over that. Blog-holidays are a great way to share information on special subjects (surviving zombie attacks, for instance) and Women In Science definitely deserve more celebration.
Read more at NewScientist. If you experience pain synaesthesia, Bernadette Fitzgibbon would like to hear from you. You can contact her here.
This new molecule manages to shift state to ensure the coated surface is emitting sufficiently equal amounts of its natural blue light and a short-lived chemically-shifted orange light to blend into white light.
Um... instead of blending compounds, or fiddling instead of making practical applications, why don't they just do it the way Jamie and Adam do it? Y'know, like TV screens? [speaks slowly] Piiiii-xellllls?
P.S. Let There Be Light
Here's a quote from the page linked above:
Just imagine. A spaceship plunges out of the night sky, hits the ground and explodes. A plume of debris billows back into the heavens, leading your eye to a second ship in hot pursuit. Four minutes later, that one hits the ground, too. It's raining spaceships!
Put on your hard hat and get ready for action, because on Friday, Oct. 9th, what you just imagined is really going to happen--and you can have a front row seat.
Reposted from a Plurk by hyasythe Tiramisu
Oh, and there's some pictures and video linked. How cool is that?!
A California dairy has converted a pair of 18-wheelers to run on biomethane produced from cow manure, creating what is believed to be the nation's first cow-pie–powered trucks.
Hilarides Dairy will use manure produced by 10,000 cows to generate 226,000 cubic feet of biomethane daily — enough to reduce the Central Valley farm's diesel fuel consumption by 650 gallons a day....
The bio-gas manufacturing process involves flushing manure and other waste from the cows' stalls into a covered lagoon where bacteria breaks it down. Methane is pumped out of the lagoon to a refinery that removes carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and other impurities. The purified methane is pressurized before being pumped into the trucks; the Cummins engines have been converted from compression-ignited diesels to spark-ignited methane-burners....
Using cow manure to produce bio-methane cuts greenhouse gas emissions in two ways. Burning biomethane produces less pollution than conventional fuel, and producing it cuts down on the methane released into the atmosphere by the manure itself....
"The technology is here and public-private partnerships can make this work. Biomethane is the only vehicle fuel that is carbon negative."
In the spirit of the flame of knowledge and enlightenment:
- Awww, no Moreau? Animal-human clones don't work, U.S. company finds.
- However, check out The Time Machine Project instead of heading to the lab.
Time to Reboot America
I had a bad day last Friday, but it was an all-too-typical day for America.
It actually started well, on Kau Sai Chau, an island off Hong Kong, where I stood on a rocky hilltop overlooking the South China Sea and talked to my wife back in Maryland, static-free, using a friend’s Chinese cellphone. A few hours later, I took off from Hong Kong’s ultramodern airport after riding out there from downtown on a sleek high-speed train — with wireless connectivity that was so good I was able to surf the Web the whole way on my laptop.
Landing at Kennedy Airport from Hong Kong was, as I’ve argued before, like going from the Jetsons to the Flintstones. The ugly, low-ceilinged arrival hall was cramped, and using a luggage cart cost $3. (Couldn’t we at least supply foreign visitors with a free luggage cart, like other major airports in the world?) As I looked around at this dingy room, it reminded of somewhere I had been before. Then I remembered: It was the luggage hall in the old Hong Kong Kai Tak Airport. It closed in 1998.
The next day I went to Penn Station, where the escalators down to the tracks are so narrow that they seem to have been designed before suitcases were invented. The disgusting track-side platforms apparently have not been cleaned since World War II. I took the Acela, America’s sorry excuse for a bullet train, from New York to Washington. Along the way, I tried to use my cellphone to conduct an interview and my conversation was interrupted by three dropped calls within one 15-minute span.
All I could think to myself was: If we’re so smart, why are other people living so much better than us? What has become of our infrastructure, which is so crucial to productivity? Back home, I was greeted by the news that General Motors was being bailed out — that’s the G.M. that Fortune magazine just noted “lost more than $72 billion in the past four years, and yet you can count on one hand the number of executives who have been reassigned or lost their job.”
My fellow Americans, we can’t continue in this mode of “Dumb as we wanna be.” We’ve indulged ourselves for too long with tax cuts that we can’t afford, bailouts of auto companies that have become giant wealth-destruction machines, energy prices that do not encourage investment in 21st-century renewable power systems or efficient cars, public schools with no national standards to prevent illiterates from graduating and immigration policies that have our colleges educating the world’s best scientists and engineers and then, when these foreigners graduate, instead of stapling green cards to their diplomas, we order them to go home and start companies to compete against ours.
To top it off, we’ve fallen into a trend of diverting and rewarding the best of our collective I.Q. to people doing financial engineering rather than real engineering. These rocket scientists and engineers were designing complex financial instruments to make money out of money — rather than designing cars, phones, computers, teaching tools, Internet programs and medical equipment that could improve the lives and productivity of millions.
For all these reasons, our present crisis is not just a financial meltdown crying out for a cash injection. We are in much deeper trouble. In fact, we as a country have become General Motors — as a result of our national drift. Look in the mirror: G.M. is us.
That’s why we don’t just need a bailout. We need a reboot. We need a build out. We need a buildup. We need a national makeover. That is why the next few months are among the most important in U.S. history. Because of the financial crisis, Barack Obama has the bipartisan support to spend $1 trillion in stimulus. But we must make certain that every bailout dollar, which we’re borrowing from our kids’ future, is spent wisely.
It has to go into training teachers, educating scientists and engineers, paying for research and building the most productivity-enhancing infrastructure — without building white elephants. Generally, I’d like to see fewer government dollars shoveled out and more creative tax incentives to stimulate the private sector to catalyze new industries and new markets. If we allow this money to be spent on pork, it will be the end of us.
America still has the right stuff to thrive. We still have the most creative, diverse, innovative culture and open society — in a world where the ability to imagine and generate new ideas with speed and to implement them through global collaboration is the most important competitive advantage. China may have great airports, but last week it went back to censoring The New York Times and other Western news sites. Censorship restricts your people’s imaginations. That’s really, really dumb. And that’s why for all our missteps, the 21st century is still up for grabs.
John Kennedy led us on a journey to discover the moon. Obama needs to lead us on a journey to rediscover, rebuild and reinvent our own backyard.