August 11, 2009

Biggest Meteor Shower of the Year

It peaks tonight according to the Wired article I saw here.

So will I be watching? 

Only if it stops raining and clears up.  So I guess not.

Posted by: Teresa in Science at 08:02 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Post contains 34 words, total size 1 kb.

December 19, 2007

Physics IS Phun

At 71, Physics Professor Is a Web Star

I've been meaning to get to MIT and go through their OpenCourseWare.  After reading this - think I'll make more time.

In his lectures at ocw.mit.edu, Professor Lewin beats a student with cat fur to demonstrate electrostatics. Wearing shorts, sandals with socks and a pith helmet — nerd safari garb — he fires a cannon loaded with a golf ball at a stuffed monkey wearing a bulletproof vest to demonstrate the trajectories of objects in free fall.

He rides a fire-extinguisher-propelled tricycle across his classroom to show how a rocket lifts off.

I love it when someone figures out how to make science fun.  Maybe if we get enough younger kids watching these classes, they'll be more interested in science in school. 

Now I have to go download...

Hat tip Instapundit.

Posted by: Teresa in Science at 01:10 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 142 words, total size 2 kb.

October 09, 2007

Thank A Physicist

Here's another tidbit from my news feed reader...

It's not very often that I pay much attention to Nobel Prizes, but this year, the Nobel Prize in Physics is going to 2 very deserving scientists.

Mercifully, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has seen fit to award this year's Nobel Prize for physics to a couple of guys who did something we can all appreciate: making it technologically feasible to cram a wall full of CDs onto a slick white gadget the size of a deck of cards and thereby revolutionizing the art of gazing blankly into somebody's armpit during the morning subway crush (at least in New York City).

If you like your hard drive, your Wii,  your iPod or Zen, your DVR... you can thank these two men for creating the break thru technology that our world has been built on.

Congratulations go to Albert Fert of Universite Paris-Sud in Orsay, France, and Peter Gruenberg of Germany's Forschungszentrum Juelich. 

Posted by: Teresa in Science at 07:30 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Post contains 164 words, total size 1 kb.

November 30, 2006

Yet More On Polonium

Via Instapundit comes an article by Popular Mechanics about the dangers or lack thereof involving Polonium 210 poisoning.

"There is no health risk from external exposure," says Joseph DeCicco of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. "If you walked through it, sat in it, got it on your clothes, you're not going to get sick."

Kathy Shingleton, also health physicist at Lawrence Livermore, said: "If you were sitting on a plane and there was polonium 210 on the armrest, and you put your arm on the polonium for the whole of your trip, you are in no danger."

Polonium, say the experts, is only dangerous if swallowed or inhaled. Once inside the body, it is able to pass through the more delicate internal cell membranes, destroying cells, particularly in the bone marrow.

Thank you Popular Mechanics! A voice of reason among the hysteria that is the news media.

You see, I had been reading, just a little, over the last few days and everything I read, including the Wikipedia piece stated that Polonium could not penetrate the skin. For that matter, one of the initial post-death reports in the media said they were not sure if radiation poisoning had killed Litvinenko until traces were found in his urine and that this particular type of radiation could not penetrate the skin.

Yet even while they stated these things in the stories, each story would swing around to all the places Litvinenko had been in London, the airplanes that had been between London and Russia. Basically, they ignored the facts and have been actively fanning the fear. The very real fear people have of radiation poisoning.

People tend to be worried about this stuff, for good reason, as we saw Litvinenko's death was awful! Who wants this to happen to them? So, people hear "we found traces in this place, that place, the other place"... and they forget that it doesn't matter because they never ingested it in any way.

That makes a piece like this one from the Times a totally irresponsible piece of journalism.

He explained, in an impressive monotone, that this now included 24 locations, four aircraft, 221 destinations and 33,000 passengers. Then he told us, in exactly the same voice, that there was no need for alarm. It must be said that I found this to be alarming in itself. But

Mr Reid was adamant and kept repeating himself. Indeed, “there is no need for alarm” seemed to be his new mantra. Either that, or he was trying to hypnotise us. You may think I’m paranoid but, in this story, anything is possible.

How cute! Ms. Treneman doesn't bother to actually... like... find out facts - no she listens to one man speak and then spills out her ill-informed blather to all the readers of the Times. Does she even bother to check with anyone who is an expert in radiation? Does she even bother to google up the Wikipedia entry which specifically states:

...though they do not penetrate the epidermis and hence are not hazardous if the polonium is outside the body...

None of this is hard to find and as a newspaper writer, whether she is a reporter or an op-ed writer, she has an obligation to the public to find out the facts before she tries to cause a panic.

In the meantime, with stories from all the major news sources making it sound like the whole of London could be radioactive, thousands of people have been needlessly scared. This would be why we need responsible journalists not fear mongers.

Unfortunately, what "sells" is fear. As long as they keep up the stories about possible radiation poisoning, they keep people tuned in. We all know it's about the size of the audience, not the story itself that's important.

Posted by: Teresa in Science at 03:59 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 635 words, total size 4 kb.

August 02, 2005

Still No Clue

I've said it before and I'll say it again... no one has any idea of what constitutes an "ideal standard weight" for men and women. Now I find out that... not only is Glenn Reynolds considered overweigh... so is George Bush!

I'm quite sure it's an effort to create a problem where none exists... the purpose (of course) is to collect money to do "studies" which will tell us nothing. Always follow the money.

Posted by: Teresa in Science at 09:29 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 77 words, total size 1 kb.

March 02, 2005

Time to Get Rid of the Sun

Apparently the sun is causing a depletion of the ozone layer. There is a Live Science article giving us the details.

In a new study, scientists conclude that an intense round of solar storms around Halloween in 2003 was at the root of the problem. Charged particles from the storms triggered chemical reactions that increased the formation of extra nitrogen in the upper stratosphere, some 20 miles up. Nitrogen levels climbed to their highest in at least two decades.

And there you have it... it's not SUV's it's the sun... I know FrankJ wants to nuke the moon. Maybe he needs to think bigger. (I don't know why I'm worried about it - today's the first sunny day we've had in ages... I thought the sun was already gone)

Via Slashdot

Posted by: Teresa in Science at 04:04 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Post contains 138 words, total size 1 kb.

February 19, 2005

Longer Life Through Arguing

Oh joy, another study has hit the public eye. I can't wait for the jokes about this one to start.

Want Longer Life For Wife? Let Her Argue With You

Yes, those crazy scientists have been at it again.

LONDON - A WOMAN who keeps quiet during an argument with her husband is four times more likely to die from heart disease and other causes, according to a study published in the American Heart Association (AHA) journal.

Researchers believe women who argue with their husbands are warding off heart disease and other causes of death.

Right at the very beginning we find a whopping big error. If a woman keeps quiet... there is no argument. What you have is a husband yelling at a wife. It takes at least 2 to argue - so unless the husbands in these instances have two or three personalities that show up to the fight... what you have is not an argument. Just had to get that straight.

What other gems did they come up with in this study?

And women whose work had a disruptive effect on their home lives were twice as likely to develop heart disease

...

The joint Boston University and Wisconsin-based Eaker Epidemiology Enterprises team also found that marriage suited men as husbands only had half the chance of dying from heart disease as unmarried men.

They also had to add a second study in farther down the page giving us this little nugget of information...

It found unemployed women looking for work reported the worst physical health, with nearly a third having high blood pressure and 6 per cent suffering a heart attack, stroke or chest pain.

My my my... all these conclusions. As a matter of fact all those years of studying and keeping track of data! Well, I guess it's a good gig if you can get someone to fund it for you.

Now I want all you scientists to stand up and repeat after me...

Correlation is NOT Causation. Please learn the difference between the two. Then stop wasting money on bogus studies and find out the basic mechanism behind heart disease - find the physiological source and learn how to fix it. That is where the money should be spent. Not on creating new and better ways for David Letterman to come up with a Top 10 List.

Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin

Posted by: Teresa in Science at 06:11 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
Post contains 402 words, total size 2 kb.

December 02, 2004

Washington State's Biggest Polluter Is...

Mount St. Helens.

Since the volcano began erupting in early October, it has been pumping out 50 to 250 tons a day of sulfur dioxide, the lung-stinging gas that causes acid rain and contributes to haze.

At peak, that's more than double the amount from all the state's industries combined.

Okay it's time to close that volcano down! If it can't stay within the EPA guidelines, lawsuits should be filed! Notices slapped on the side of the mountain. Threats should be made. This volcano must be made to understand how seriously it's violating all the environmental rules we hold dear!

It's a good thing we never voted in the Kyoto treaty or accords or whatever they are... having a volcano that flouts all of the pollution levels agreed upon would mean that all of Washington state would have to cease functioning until the volcano decided to stop spewing. Maybe Oregon and California just for good measure. (come to think of it... what a lovely thought - where'd that treaty go... let's sign on!)

Posted by: Teresa in Science at 05:59 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 178 words, total size 1 kb.

July 21, 2004

Yet Another Lame Study

Via Milt's File (which I really did think was on my blogroll, but is not there for some strange reason - I will correct this later today), comes to us a story regarding a study featured in the Lancet about the effects of watching television.


On a population level, the authors estimate that 17 percent of overweight, 15 percent of poor fitness, 15 percent of elevated cholesterol, and 17 percent of current smoking in 26-year-olds could be attributed to watching more than 2 hours per day of television during childhood and adolescence.

They are trying desperately to lay the blame for lifestyle choices, conciously made by a cognizant being, on an inanimate object. It's simply ridiculous. There is no corresponding study of children who do not watch television, so we have no way to evaluate the validity of the numbers given. Not to mention, all other factors in the child's life would have to be equal - same types of diet, same availability of exercise, that sort of thing.


Think about it this way... if you took away television from these overweight , out of shape kids, it does not necessarily translate into them going outside to play. They might just find something else sedentary to fill their time so they don't have to exert themselves. They could still end up with high cholesterol even if they become very active. They could even start smoking, even if they are a bookworm and never glance at a television.


I'm not saying you should plop a kid in front of a television and everything will be cool. I do think kids need to get up and get out and do things. I just think that all the money for a ridiculous study such as this (and many others that focus on 1 itty bitty part of a person's entire life) could be better spent.


Update.... Just had a thought (and no it was not painful). Could it possibly be, might it be just conceivable... High cholesterol, a tendency toward being overweight, a predisposition to smoking - these things are the actual CAUSE of excessive television watching? Hmmm...

Posted by: Teresa in Science at 01:06 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 359 words, total size 2 kb.

<< Page 1 of 1 >>
46kb generated in CPU 0.03, elapsed 0.0415 seconds.
74 queries taking 0.0187 seconds, 163 records returned.
Powered by Minx 1.1.6c-pink.