Archive by date | February 2009

Sailing on a sulfurous sea

Sailing on a sulfurous sea

The first survey of emissions from commercial shipping has shown them to be big dirty beasts. Daniel Lack from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) measured emissions from ships in the Gulf of Mexico, Galveston Bay and the Houston Ship Channel. He estimated from this that globally ships emit 0.9 teragrams of particle pollution annually. (Press release) But the resulting effect on the climate seems confusing. As reported by Bloomberg, the particulates, including sulfates, organics, cloud condensation nuclei, that commercial carriers spew out act to cool the atmosphere. This effect, the authors say, outweighs the warming effect of ships’  … Read more

Ones that got away

“Patents whose procedures are hard to reproduce are familiar to every industrial chemist, unfortunately, but coming across one that seems completely mistaken in its most important details is rare. And this is the first time I’ve seen one of these dragged out into the open literature for a give-and-take with the original authors about whether they’re delusional or not.”

Chemist Derek Lowe looks over a spat between researchers (In the pipeline blog).

“It had grabbed the tube that pulls out the water and caused it to spray outside the tank.”

Nick Fash, of the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, explains how an octopus came to flood the facility (LA Times).

“Thanks to lessons learnt in crane school we now have the feathery-fingered skills to raise crane chicks.”

Debbie Pain, director of conservation at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, on plans to reintroduce cranes to the UK (Daily Telegraph).

“In hospital they told me that I was very very lucky…. I still have all my fingers but it could up end really worse if the magnets collided in a other way.”

The dangers of neodymium magnets explained by ‘Dirk from the Netherlands’ (Magnet Nerd).


NASA fleeced by scientist and family?

Posted on behalf of Roberta Kwok US federal authorities have accused a scientist and his family of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from NASA to buy cars and real estate. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) searched the office of Samim Anghaie, a professor of radiological engineering at the University of Florida in Gainesville, on Wednesday. University spokesman Steve Orlando said the FBI also searched the school’s Innovative Nuclear Space Power and Propulsion Institute, which Anghaie founded (CNN). The university has put Anghaie on leave without pay (Orlando Sentinel). A research company founded by Anghaie and his family,  … Read more

Ones that got away

“We can do personalized genetics on these dogs. We’ve found out a lot about how to study disease.”

Gordon Lark, of the University of Utah, approves of Barack Obama’s choice of pooch for the White House, a choice Wired calls ‘solidly scientific’.

“This puts us in a pretty good position to launch by the middle of the month.”

Allard Beutel, a spokesman at Kennedy Space Center, comments on a new 12 March launch date for the next space shuttle mission (Gannett News Service).

“The review will be conducted by eminent representatives of the science and policy domains from the EU and US.”

The European Union notes that Elias Zerhouni, the former director of the US National Institutes of Health, is to sit on a panel charged with reviewing the European Research Council’s structure and funding mechanisms. Vaira Vike-Freiberga, President of Latvia from 1999-20007 and a former professor of psychology, will chair the panel, which also includes David Sainsbury, the UK’s former science minister.

“If people enjoy using these games, then they should continue to do so – that’s a no-brainer. But if people are under the illusion that these devices are scientifically proven to keep their minds in shape, they need to think again.”

Martyn Hocking, editor of consumer magazine Which?, comments after a “panel of experts” concludes there is no evidence playing Brain Training games actually improve memory (Guardian).