Our Whales are Being Destroyed–by the US Navy

Not very many people are aware of this issue at the moment but it’s something that needs some serious attention as far as i’m concerned.

“‘Nuke the whales” stickers have made the suffering of these animals a joke, but they are enduring a ferocious new onslaught from Naval sonars that have recently been deployed.

These sonars generate sound pulses of 235 deceibels [that is a frankly indescribable volume – a jet at take off is about 130db if your stood 100 feet away], the equivalent of a gigantic rocket launch. They shatter the sensitive audio sensors of whales, cause them internal bleeding, and kill them.

Recently, a federal court gave the go-ahead for the Navy to deploy this killer sonar system, but you can still make your concerns known, and perhaps get the Navy to reconsider the use of this cruel system, which is designed to detect enemy submarines–a need that can be just as effectively served using a number of other systems.”

You can register your objections here:
http://www.nrdconline.org/campaign/Act_Now_To_Save_The_Whales_JT

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Google Moon

Google has offered $30,000,000 to any company that lands a robot on the Moon and starts snapping photo’s and sending data back (presumably to Google …). A five million dollar bonus is offered for a robot vehicle that discovers ice or water, that can travel further than five kilometers or captures images of space vehicles abandoned there from old missions.

Interesting competition to say the least … and we’ll find out if we have actually been there already or not. Going on from that, if we had indeed already been there the easiest way to proove it would be to turn Hubble around and point it to the abandonded Lunar Lander and publish the photo’s … so why haven’t they?

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Yale Scientists Use Nanotechnology To Fight E. Coli

Amazing! SWCNT (single walled carbon nanotubes) are being used in the lab to combat bacteria. These technologies could one day provide the replacements for antibiotics and as far as my laymans understanding goes there wouldn’t be any way for these bacteria to combat nanotech as its the nanotubes that more or less batter the actual cells of the bacteria and destroy them physically rather than chemically. Really quite mental!

“We began the study out of concerns for the possible toxicity [Nanotoxicology] of nanotubes in aquatic environments and their presence in the food chain,” said Menachem Elimelech, professor and chair of chemical and environmental engineering at Yale and senior author on the paper. “While nanotubes have great promise for medical and commercial applications there is little understanding of how they interact with humans and the environment.”

“Using the simple E. coli as test cells, the researchers incubated cultures of the bacteria in the presence of the nanotubes for up to an hour. The microbes were killed outright – but only when there was direct contact with aggregates of the SWCNTs that touched the bacteria. Elimelech speculates that the long, thin nanotubes puncture the cells and cause cellular damage.”

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IBM Makes Molecular Switch

This is just insane … apparently IBM has made some serious advances in the NanoTech field and is now talking about the fact that molecular computing is closer to being a reality. I can remember not very long ago that chip manufacturers were talking about reaching the upper limit of silicon based CPU’s where the switches were becoming so small and tightly packed that single atoms were responsible for processing errors, now we are looking at the potential for single atoms to *be* the switches themselves … all very clever stuff.

The molecule being used for this process is called naphthalocyanine which contains two hydrogen atoms in it inner core which has two possible positions making them good candidates for storing binary data. These processes turn this molecule into a microscoping logic-gate.

Although this isn’t the first time a molecular switch has been made it appears to be a very strong candidate so far for actually making the jump from absolute zero degrees to a working room temperature example!

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Summer Ends?

Well what a funny year its been eh! Don’t know about where your at but in my locality the weather has been decidedly unsummer-like. Granted where I am we also don’t have to endure tornadoes, extreme droughts and other directly life threatening weather systems but even so, its been an odd one.

I guess the people just north of us in Gloucesetershire wouldn’t agree with this as they have experiences some of the worst flooding the UK has seen in decades with people literally flushed from their homes and now being told they can’t return to them for 6-12 months. having said that its nothing in comparison to what has happened in places like India but its still extreme for the people that are experiencing it in their locality.

The thing that really concerns me is the next few years … 2008 sees the start of the next Solar Maximum leading up to that ubiquitous year 2012 where the Solar Maximum is due to hit its peak … why worry about that? Well more and more scientific studies are building stronger and stronger links between Sunspot cycles (part of the Solar lifecycle) and their Earthly effects. Judging from the last Solar Maximum and the last (extremely violent) Solar Minimum scientists are saying that we are about to witness the most powerful Solar Maximum ever recorded.

During the last Solar Minimum (the period with very few or no Sunspots) we saw the continued development of some of the most massive Sunspots ever seen. These also issued forth unprecedented solar flares so large that our satellite mounted measurement instruments were maxed out. The measure flares upto X20 in power and some scientists placed the unmeasurable flares at upwards of X50 … literally, off the scale.

Well, I guess there is no point in being too concerned, our little world has been through worse in its history i’m sure … maybe it will just end up in a nicer tan?

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Dolphines Get Prosthetic Tails!

This is just amazing … such a neat story about a female Dolphin that lost her tail in a crab trap when she was a mere nipper, even tho she has still learned to swim without one scientists have developed an prosthetic tail fin to enable her to swim even better and like a normal Dolphin. The really amazing thing is that she isn’t the first Dolphin to benefit from this technology … Fuji, a Japanese Dolphin was the first to receive this treatment …

Dolphin Prosthetics

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Shuttle Launch is GO!

NASA seems confident for a launch tonight at abut 22:36GMT!!! After all the recent events surrounding the shuttle like the lovesick astronauts getting hell bent on winning over the love of other astronauts! That was definitely a bit a public eye opener surely? I always thought these types of people picked for such important jobs were screened, profiled, poked and prodded in all manner of ways (not just poked and prodded by each other! haha!) to ensure their suitability?

Anyway, that’s not to mention all the apparent incidents that have actually been blamed on active sabotage! Apparently the ‘non essential” computer that was damaged (how can anything on the Shuttle be considered ‘non-essential’ anyway?) was damaged on purpose by agencies unknown! Then there was the main cabin oxygen leak announced last week … I don’t know about you, but i’d be feeling pretty nervous about getting in that Shuttle. Considering how many people believe that it should have been replaced decades ago maybe this is a public damning of the whole job lot in order to gain public support for spending a shit load on a replacement? Then again the private sector space programs seem to coming on in leaps and bounds so maybe they are jus giving up the ghost?

Watch the Launch Live on the web!!! Go here … NAST TV.

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why being a scientist …

… is bad for you … you end up writing things like this comforted by the thought of how ‘entertaining’ you are …

ENGINEERS TAKE THE FUN OUT OF CHRISTMAS

There are approximately two billion children (persons under 18) in the world. However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or Buddhist (except maybe in Japan) religions, this reduces the workload for Christmas night to 15% of the total, or 378 million (according to the population reference bureau).

Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 967.7 visits per second at an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, which comes to 108 million homes, presuming there is at least 1 good child in each. This is to say that for each Christian household with a good child, Santa has around 1/1000th of a second to park the sleigh, hop out, jump down the chimney, fill the stocking, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left for him, get back up the chimney, jump into the sleigh and get on to the next house.

Assuming that each of these 108 million stops is evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false, but will accept for the purposes of our calculations), we are now talking about 0.78 miles per household; a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting bathroom stops or breaks. This means Santa’s sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second or 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second, and a conventional reindeer can run (at best) 15 miles per hour.

The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium sized LEGO set (two pounds), the sleigh is carrying over 500 thousand tons, not counting Santa himself. On land, a conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that the “flying” reindeer can pull 10 times the normal amount, the job can’t be done with eight or even nine of them, Santa would need 360,000 of them. This increases the payload, not counting the weight of the sleigh, another 54,000 tons, or roughly seven times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth (the ship, not the monarch). A mass of nearly 600,000 tons travelling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance – this would heat up the reindeer in the same fashion as a spacecraft re-entering the earth’s atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer would adsorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second each. In short, they would burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team would be vaporised within 4.26 thousandths of a second, or right about the timeSanta reached the fifth house on his trip.

Not that it matters, however, since Santa, as a result of accelerating from a dead stop to 650 miles/second in .001 seconds, would be subjected to acceleration forces of 17,000 g’s. A 250 pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim considering all the high calorie snacks he must have consumed over the years) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force, instantly crushing his bones and organs and reducing him to a quivering blob of pink goo. Therefore, if Santa did exist, he’s dead now.

Merry Christmas.

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Intelligent Design

I’d never really thought about the actual details that constitute the ‘Intelligent Design’ argument about the source of life on Earth until I recently found a video documentary on Google Video. This made for some pretty insane Thursday afternoon viewing I can tell you.

The overall argument for ID is based on something Darwin wrote about in ‘The Origin of Species’. He basically said that if anything is ever found that is demonstrably *not* subject to natural selection or going through any form of micro-evolution then his entire idea of natural selection would fall apart. Well it seems that something intrinsic to life on Earth has been found that falls right into this category inside living cells.

Darwin really didn’t have any idea about the workings of living cells, he certainly had no idea of their complexity as at the time the general idea of what a cells constituted was little more than a blob of jelly. There are in fact entities living inside every living cell that are more akin to amazingly powerful nano-machines with some seriously complex inner workings. Most notable of these is called bacterial flagellum which operates like an outboard motor with an RPM in the region of 100,000!! Its got all the right parts too, a propeller, u-joint, rotary engine and drive shaft to name a few, all made from proteins. Its functionality like this performed inside our cells by these machines that leads scientists to become more sceptical of the traditional ideas and ask more questions about evolution. They are basically doubting the idea that life on this scale and complexity could have started by purely chemical processes.

There is no way that natural selection could account for the instant appearance of something this complicated and perfected off the bat with no process leading to it. The problem has been called ‘Irreducible Complexity’. Darwinian theories propose that through processes of chance and natural selection the ‘most fit’ survive and with their offspring the attributes that made them ‘most fit’ or in other words gave those creatures a ‘functional advantage’. Whereas some of the phenomena being categorise as irreducibly complex have no path or lineage that could lead to their existence and any notion of a functional advantage goes out the window as they are so specific that they are either going to work or not work.

So, how did they get there?

Anyway, enough of my wibbling … this is a must see:

Intelligent Design – Unlocking The Mysteries Of Life

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Lester Brown

This is a seriously interesting chap, he’s referred to as one of the most influential thinkers in terms of world populations and resources. Makes for some really sombre thinking about our future, but by knowing these things about our position we’re much better equipped to realise the solutions – “Lester Brown has written the sort of book that once you’ve put it down you can’t pick it up again.”

Lester Brown Bio
Earth Policy Institute
Watch Lester Brown

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Oceans – Hypoxia – Dead Zones?

Something I’ve been hearing an alarming amount about lately are things called ‘Dead Zones’ … these are areas in the worlds oceans that are literally dead. Oxygen free areas in the sea that every living creature flee’s for fear of suffocation. In these areas the toxic biological bacterial organisms thrive and take over excreating more and more toxins into their environments. No animal life can survive in these dead zones … the fact is the more oxygen free the environment the better it is for the nasty polluting bacteria.

This is scary stuff, the seas are throught of as the source of all life … is this going to be cyclical and be the source of death for all life as well?

Basically these dead zones have always occured, there was a recorded figure of about 150 or them worldwide in 2004 but they are found all over the world. In the gulf of Mexico there is a dead zone that has been growing since 1993 … in 2005 the zone covered 4,564 square miles … however in some years it has covered upwards of 7,000 square miles.

Thats 7,000 square miles absent of *ANY* animal life … no crabs, no clams, no fish … absolutely nothing that requires oxygen to live can survive in these areas …

You can read more here on the NASA web site.

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Hawaii Earthquake

Apparently this is a very, very unusual earthquake in that its a large one right in the middle of a very large plate. Its been reported as a ‘vertical’ earthquake meaning that the majority of the energy was traveling up and down rather than side to side. Its reported that the island land mass is breaking up due to the weight of the island on the land beneath the sea line. Basically the structure that made the island out of the volcano is loosing its abaility to support its own weight! … mental …

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