NY Times: A Simple Solution to Oil Spills?
I say, give these guys a shot.
New Scientist CultureLab: A physicist finds God in cosmic harmonies.
“Should the fine-tuning turn out to be real, what are we to make of it? There are two widely-discussed possibilities: either God fine-tuned the universe for us to be here, or there are (as string theory implies) a large number of universes, each with different laws of physics, and we happen to find ourselves in a universe where the laws happen to be just right for us to live. After all, how could we not?”
NPR: Time Flies When You’re Deconstructing Aphorisms.
“Some aphorisms are simply inaccurate. We may understand the meaning of the phrase ‘Lightning never strikes the same place twice,’ but we also know that the literal meaning of the phrase does not hold up to scrutiny.”
ProPublica: In Gulf Spill, BP Using Dispersants Banned in U.K.
“BP is using two products from a line of dispersants called Corexit, which EPA data appears to show is more toxic and less effective on South Louisiana crude than other available dispersants, according to Greenwire.” Might want to drop Gulf seafood from your diet for like the next decade or so ...
medpagetoday: Pesticides Linked to ADHD in Kids.
“Children with greater exposure to organophosphate pesticides appear to have an increased risk of developing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a cross-sectional study showed.” If you’ve got young children *and* pets, you may want to re-think that monthly anti-flea pesticide bath you give your baseboards.
NAX-SPACE: Green Speed Air motorcycle.
“It [air power] has lower mileage than petrol. I mean to cover the same distance, you need a lot more volume of compressed air than petrol. That means a few things, we’re either going to have to go to the gas station more often then we go to the restroom, or have a tank the size of your bathtub on the bike which makes it not only somewhat odd looking but also very heavy.” How about a kick-starter mechanism that allows you to power it up, a la the lever arm on a Wham-O Air Blaster? (I know, I know ... It’d probably take forever and wear out your quads ...)
New Scientist: Flab rats: Unfit animals are bad for experiments.
“Up to 50 per cent of the body weight of a typical middle-aged laboratory rodent is fat. Some strains of lab rat attain a body weight in excess of 1 kilogram, nearly double that of a healthy rat.” Dare I suggest yoga?
New Scientist Special report: Living in denial.
NY Times: Study Pokes Holes in Air Bag Standards.
“About 80 percent of all drivers wear seat belts, according to federal estimates, but government standards for air bags are intended to maximize protection for unbelted drivers, a holdover from years ago when very few drivers buckled up.” My astonished italics. I didn’t know that.
Discover Magazine: Breathing like Buddha: altitude & Tibet.
“Finally, I wonder if these high altitude adaptations have fitness costs which we’re not cognizant of, but which Tibetans living in India may have some sense of.” Come to Santa Fe, quite a few Tibetans moved here after the Chinese took over. Our mile and a half of altitude seems to suit them well.
MedPageToday: Standard Bone Strength Measures Flawed.
“Studies of bone loss have focused on the trabecular bone, the lace-like internal structure of bones, according to Roger Zebaze, MD, of the University of Melbourne, and colleagues. But in a cross-sectional study, most bone loss between the ages of 50 and 80 occurred in the cortical bone, and the majority occurred after 65, Zebaze and colleagues reported in the May 15 issue of The Lancet.” Apparently they test the wrong bones. Vitamin D and calcium, kiddies.
inCharacter: Is Wisdom Wired in Us?
“Intelligence and spirituality share features with wisdom, but they are not the same thing. One can be intelligent, yet lack practical knowledge. Spirituality is often associated with age, like wisdom, but most researchers tend to define wisdom in secular terms, not spiritual.”
Daily Icon: NASA Space Tools Designed for Hubble Mission.
Looks like NASA’s into steampunk.
CNet, GreenTech: Mayans were green builders.
“The NASA technology aboard the Cessna saw beyond the rain forest and detected thousands of new structures, 11 new causeways, tens of thousands of agricultural terraces and many hidden caves — results beyond anyone’s imagination.” My italics.
Discover Magazine: The post-Columbian panmictic ‘natural experiment’.
“The issue here is that ‘Hispanic’ and/or ‘Latino’ is not a race. In fact, as American readers may be aware the category emerged in 1970 as a way of organizing ethnic and racial identity for the Census. Despite a real pan-American consciousness there is obviously a great deal of cultural and genetic variation in Latin America.”
Validating the Pocahontas/John Smith archetype: “Comparing autosomal, X and Y chromosome, and mtDNA variation, we find evidence of a significant sex bias in admixture proportions consistent with disproportionate contribution of European male and Native American female ancestry to present-day populations.”
Science Daily: Science closing in on mystery of age-related memory loss, says neurobiologist.
“He is especially encouraged because histone deacetylase inhibitors seem to be beneficial in both normal age-related memory decline, as evidenced by the Peleg team’s findings, and in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, as reported by Sweatt’s laboratory earlier this year in a different paper in Neuropsychopharmacology.”
MedPageToday: Falls, Fractures Linked to High-Dose Vitamin D.
“But, writing in an accompanying editorial, they said it’s also possible that women getting the supplement felt better in the first three months after treatment and therefore were more active. The additional activity might have exposed them to more opportunities to fall, they argued.” Sounds more logical than just attributing it to Vitamin D ingestion alone.
Discover Magazine: Praying away the oil leak.
“I am not saying things like this shouldn’t be tested. The point is, they already have been. Repeatedly. And they never work. If this oil leak is to be stopped, it’ll have to be done using engineering, using science, using actual physical work.”
Discover Magazine: BP’s Containment Dome Failed. Can Garbage Injections Stop up the Leaks?
“On Saturday, ice-like gas hydrates built up on the steel-and-concrete containment box and prevented the box from getting a seal on the leak. The big question is: Now what?” The bigger question is, should such drilling be allowed to continue, if there are no sure-fire ways to reliably cap a spill?
Scientific American: More Evidence that Refined Carbohydrates, not Fats, Threaten the Heart.
“... while Americans have dutifully reduced the percentage of daily calories from saturated fat since 1970, the obesity rate during that time has more than doubled, diabetes has tripled, and heart disease is still the country’s biggest killer. Now a spate of new research, including a meta-analysis of nearly two dozen studies, suggests a reason why: investigators may have picked the wrong culprit. Processed carbohydrates, which many Americans eat today in place of fat, may increase the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease more than fat does — a finding that has serious implications for new dietary guidelines expected this year.” Low glycemic is the way to go.
NY Times: The Mind Research Network and Charting Creativity.
ars technica: Voyager 2 stops making sense.
“According to an Associated Press report, engineers think that there’s been a fault in the memory that stores the formatted data prior to transmission. This either corrupted its current contents, or has introduced some bad bits into the onboard memory. It should be possible to either reset the bad memory, or program the system to stop using the errant hardware entirely.” Or little silicon-munching space aliens have boarded the craft ...
LA Times: In Paris, another look at the Roman Empire’s influence - this time, on Buddhist art.
“While visitors to the Getty Villa are exploring surprising connections between ancient Rome and Mexico in ‘Aztec Pantheon and the Art of Empire,’ Parisian museum-goers are checking out Greco-Roman influence on 1st century to 6th century Buddhist art from Gandhara, a kingdom that spanned part of today’s Pakistan and Afghanistan.” Dang, I want to see all of these.
Discovery News: Stephen Hawking’s Time Machine.
“Time flows like a river and it seems as if each of us is carried relentlessly along by time’s current. But time is like a river in another way. It flows at different speeds in different places and that is the key to traveling into the future.”
Discover Magazine: NASA Successfully Tests Its Astronaut Capsule, But Will It Ever Be Used?
“The Orion capsule is dead; long live the Orion capsule. Yesterday in the New Mexico desert, NASA successfully completed a test of the resurrected craft’s launch-abort system. Rockets blasting with 500,000 pounds of thrust carried it more than a mile into the sky before releasing it for a parachute-aided descent back to the Earth.” Now, if they’d let us know about this ahead of tie, perhaps I could have rung up NewMexiKen, and we could have gone down to see ... Ken could do the commentary, I’d grab the photos.