DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

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Archive for the 'News You Can Use.' Category

Teacher Says Union Resorting to Bully Tactics in Wake of Decertification

21st August 2014

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In May 2013, Deerfield faculty voted to decertify KNEA within USD 216, meaning the union could no longer negotiate with local board of education members on teachers’ behalves. At the time Pamela Torgerson, director of Southwest UniServ, the district headquarters for KNEA, said the decision could turn foul without warning.

“My concern with that is that without any kind of organizational backing, it’s going to be hard for the teachers there to enforce their negotiated agreement,” Torgerson said. “So, if they get into trouble during bargaining, they have to go to mediation on their own, and if things work out even worse and they decide to go to fact-finding, they’re pretty much on their own.”

If anything, Crandall said, the opposite has happened. Negotiations prior to the current school year were smooth and uneventful, he told Kansas Watchdog. The rocky part, he said, has been KNEA’s response following its expulsion from Deerfield USD 216.

“I was a member of KNEA for 27 years and the president of our local association here for over 15 years and I did not see how they manipulate statements and try to ‘bully’ others that oppose them until after I helped us to decertify,” Crandall said.

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Ancient Maya Cities Found in Jungle

20th August 2014

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Found in the southeastern part of the Mexican state of Campeche, in the heart of the Yucatan peninsula, the cities were hidden in thick vegetation and hardly accessible.

“Aerial photographs helped us in locating the sites,” expedition leader Ivan Sprajc, of the Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU), said.

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40 Maps That Explain the Roman Empire

20th August 2014

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If, of course, that’s what you want to do.

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Audi Rethinks the Piston Engine

19th August 2014

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Autocar reports that the automaker is working on a unique four-cylinder motor that features a bank of pistons sitting offset and parallel to the crankshaft rather than directly above it.

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Giant Rats Trained to Sniff Out Tuberculosis in Africa

18th August 2014

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Hey — ya work with what ya got.

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Recreating Richard III: Channel 4′s “New Evidence”

17th August 2014

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Smee, an unemployed IT teacher, was startled by the resemblance to the curvature in his own back. “I had this feeling,” he says. “The hairs stood up on the back of my neck.”

As it turned out, Smee, who provides historians with crucial missing pieces to the Richard III puzzle in Channel 4’s latest film about the last Plantagenet ruler, has an uncannily similar deformity of the spine to the king. It’s caused by the same rare form of adolescent-onset scoliosis that Richard was thought to have, with the angle of the curve around 70 degrees to the right hand side, and the S-shaped curvature of the ribs too. “He’s almost identical!” one stunned scientist exclaims in the documentary.

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USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

16th August 2014

Waterfall bathroom faucet.

iPhone laser pointer. I am not making this up.

Floppy tube garlic peeler. Can double as an enhanced interrogation device in a pinch. (That’s not on her copy, of course.)

Pile of Poop Emoji Mask. You know who you are.

Chocolate Lego Blocks.

Best Butt Exercises for Women (Android app).

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Scientists Begin Removing Encrusted Debris and Rust From Confederate Submarine

14th August 2014

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Scientists using small air-powered chisels and dental tools have begun the laborious job of removing the encrusted sand, sediment and rust from the hull of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley, the first submarine in history to sink an enemy warship.

It will take about a year of painstaking work to reveal the hull of the hand-cranked sub for the first time in 150 years.

 

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This Sponge-Like Polymer Could Fix Facial Deformities

14th August 2014

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Grunlan says surgeons would heat a chunk of the polymer in salt water until it becomes pliable, then mold it into the exact shape of the missing bone section. Once in place, the polymer would cool and stiffen. “After the foam is in place, bone cells come in and replace the foam, which is absorbed into the body and naturally excreted,” said Grunlan.

In lab experiments, she and her colleagues coated the PCL with another biodegradable polymer, called polydopamine, that is known to stimulate bone growth. They seeded the polymers with human bone cells, and after a few days saw that the cells were not only multiplying, but producing important bone-forming proteins.

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Hobbit-Themed Beer Is Coming

14th August 2014

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I am not making this up.

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CRISPR: A Game-Changing Genetic Engineering Technique

13th August 2014

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The specificity of CRISPR-based immunity in recognizing and destroying invading viruses is not just useful for bacteria. Creative applications of this primitive yet elegant defense system have emerged in disciplines as diverse as industry, basic research, and medicine.

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Super-Strength Robot Suits Are Now Being Used in Real Life

12th August 2014

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This man can pick up a 70-pound lump of metal like it’s bag of groceries. But it’s not because he’s Iron Man—he just happens to be wearing a robotic suit that grants him immense strength.

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First Female Winner for Fields Maths Medal

12th August 2014

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It looks male from here. But what do I know?

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Geckos Control Toe Hairs to Be Sticky or Not, Inspiring Bioengineers to Do the Same

12th August 2014

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Jeez, that’s all we need, sticky bioengineers….

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Citing Second Amendment, Connecticut-Based Mossberg Expands Manufacturing in Texas

12th August 2014

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“Investing in Texas was an easy decision,” said CEO Iver Mossberg. “It’s a state that is not only committed to economic growth but also honors and respects the Second Amendment and the firearm freedoms it guarantees for our customers.”

Come on down!

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Spotting Cancer in a Vial of Blood

12th August 2014

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We need to focus on prevention more.

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Injecting Liquid Metal Could Help Kill Tumours, Says Chinese Research Team

11th August 2014

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One of the most interesting emerging treatments for certain types of cancer aims to starve the tumour to death. The strategy involves destroying or blocking the blood vessels that supply a tumour with oxygen and nutrients. Without its lifeblood, the unwanted growth shrivels up and dies.

One way to do this is with drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors which prevent the formation of new blood vessels that tumours rely on for sustenance. But there is another approach as well?—?physically blocking the surrounding blood vessels so that blood can no longer flow into the tumour.

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Burger Robot Poised to Disrupt Fast Food Industry

10th August 2014

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“Our device isn’t meant to make employees more efficient,” cofounder Alexandros Vardakostas has said. “It’s meant to completely obviate them.”

That’s what increasing the minimum wage gets you. Simple economics, so simple that intellectuals can’t grasp it.

The Momentum burger-bot isn’t remotely humanoid. You can forget visions of Futurama’s Bender. It’s more of a burger assembly line. Ingredients are stored in automated containers along the line. Instead of pre-prepared veggies, cheese, and ground beef—the bot chars, slices, dices, and assembles it all fresh.

Burger robots may improve consistency and sanitation, and they can knock out a rush like nobody’s business. Momentum’s robot can make a burger in 10 seconds (360/hr). Fast yes, but also superior quality. Because the restaurant is free to spend its savings on better ingredients, it can make gourmet burgers at fast food prices.

By replacing human cooks, the machine reduces liability, management duties, and, at just 24 square feet, the overall food preparation footprint. Resources once dedicated to preparation can instead fund better service.

Better burgers through automation.

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‘Aunt Jemima’ Heirs File $2 Billion Lawsuit Against Pepsi and Quaker Oats

9th August 2014

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D.W. Hunter, the great grandson of Anna Short Harrington, the woman who became “Aunt Jemima,” has filed a class action lawsuit against PepsiCo, The Quaker Oats Company, Pinnacle Foods Group and The Hillshire Brands Company on behalf of all of her great grandchildren. He is seeking $2 billion, plus punitive damages to be determined at trial.

Hunter alleges that the companies conspired to deny that Harrington had been an employee of Quaker Oats, all the while exploiting her image and recipes for profit, while refusing to pay an “equitable fair share of royalties” to her heirs for more than 60 years.

It would be amusing for the government to step in and take 45% of whatever they get as ‘inheritance tax’.

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USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

9th August 2014

Beekeeping Starter Kit.

Spray Cake.

Nunchopsticks. Perfect gift for Bruce Lee.

Water-draining soap dish.

Spud bar.

Peg-leg pirate chopsticks.

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Bikanta’s Tiny Diamonds Find Cancer Before It Spreads

8th August 2014

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Y Combinator-backed biotech company Bikanta wants to find and stop cancer at its source by inserting tiny, fluorescent diamonds inside your body. The brainchild of Dr. Ambika Bumb, who holds a PhD in biomedical engineering from Oxford, these nanodiamonds can detect molecular abnormalities at a much earlier stage, essentially stopping cancer from spreading any further.

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Scientists May Have Cracked the Giant Siberian Crater Mystery — and the News Isn’t Good

5th August 2014

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According to a recent Nature article, “air near the bottom of the crater contained unusually high concentrations of methane — up to 9.6% — in tests conducted at the site on 16 July, says Andrei Plekhanov, an archaeologist at the Scientific Centre of Arctic Studies in Salekhard, Russia. Plekhanov, who led an expedition to the crater, says that air normally contains just 0.000179% methane.”

The scientist said the methane release may be related to Yamal’s unusually hot summers in 2012 and 2013, which were warmer by an average of 5 degrees Celsius. “As temperatures rose, the researchers suggest, permafrost thawed and collapsed, releasing methane that had been trapped in the icy ground,” the report stated.

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Robotic Suit Gives Shipyard Workers Super Strength

4th August 2014

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At a sprawling shipyard in South Korea, workers dressed in wearable robotics were hefting large hunks of metal, pipes and other objects as if they were nothing.

It was all part of a test last year by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, at their facility in Okpo-dong. The company, one of the largest shipbuilders in the world, wants to take production to the next level by outfitting staff with robot exoskeletons that give them superhuman strength.

Gilwhoan Chu, the lead engineer for the firm’s research and development arm, says the pilot showed that the exoskeleton does help workers perform their tasks. His team is working to improve the prototypes so that they can go into regular use in the shipyard, where robots already run a large portion of a hugely complex assembly system.

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Nerve Implant Retrains Your Brain to Stop Tinnitus

3rd August 2014

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GOT that ringing in your ears? Tinnitus, the debilitating condition that plagued Beethoven and Darwin, affects roughly 10 per cent of the world’s population, including 30 million people in the US alone. Now, a device based on vagus nerve stimulation promises to eliminate the sounds for good by retraining the brain.

As someone who suffers from tinnitus, I hope this gets to market soon.

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This Startup Is Using a ‘Carbon Honeycomb’ to Capture Carbon Emissions

3rd August 2014

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Capturing carbon emissions and selling them for oil production could be big business in the U.S. as the country prepares to require power plant owners to cut their emissions.

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Stanford Breakthrough Might Triple Battery Life

2nd August 2014

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A team that includes former Energy secretary Steven Chu says it’s building a lithium anode battery that might give electric vehicles a 300-mile driving range and triple a cellphone’s juice. Stanford professor Yi Cui says it will likely take three to five years, though, to bring the product to market.

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USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

2nd August 2014

Turn Any Regular Lighter Into Powerful Windproof Torch.

Darth Vader Outdoor Wood Stove.

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Consulting Medieval Manuscripts Online

31st July 2014

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If, of course, that’s what you want to do.

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The Animals That Taste Only Saltiness

30th July 2014

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Just in case you were wondering. I know I was.

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An Advance in Tractor-Beam Technology

30th July 2014

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While most of the documented experiments with tractor-beam technology so far have involved light waves, the team from Dundee used sound waves to manipulate a half-inch triangular prism made of metal and rubber, successfully pulling the target toward the source of the acoustic beam. Half an inch may not sound like much, but it’s a vast improvement on fifty nanometres. The experiment was part of a larger project across four U.K. universities—Bristol, Southampton, Glasgow, and Dundee—and took nine months to complete. The results have been published in Physical Review Letters.

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Your ‘Craft’ Rye Whiskey Is Probably From a Factory Distillery in Indiana

30th July 2014

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Read the promotional materials for the Rancho de Los Luceros Destilaría and you form an image of a supremely artisanal effort. The distillery creates “small batch heirloom spirits handcrafted in New Mexico.” Each batch of their rye whiskies, vodka, and gin is “individual and unique,” and “each bottle is hand bottled and hand marked with batch and bottle number.”

These are the standard selling points of the craft-distilling movement, with its locavore lingo, terroir talk, and handmade hype. But, in the new crowd of micro-distillers, it is now standard for the alcohol being sold to come not from their own distinctive stills, but from a hulking factory in Indiana.

A poseur and his money are soon parted. Color me amused.

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Adaptive Material Could Cut the Cost of Solar in Half

30th July 2014

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A material with optical properties that change to help it capture more incoming sunlight could cut the cost of solar power in half, according to Glint Photonics, a startup recently funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E).

Glint’s adaptive material greatly reduces the cost of a tracking system used in some types of solar power. It changes its reflectivity in response to heat from concentrated sunlight in a way that makes it possible capture light coming in at different angles throughout the day.

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Soviet Defector’s Trove of KGB Secrets Released

28th July 2014

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Original documents from one of the biggest intelligence leaks in history — a who’s who of Soviet spying — were released Monday after being held in secret for two decades.

The files smuggled out of Russia in 1992 by senior KGB official Vasili Mitrokhin describe sabotage plots, booby-trapped weapons caches and armies of agents under cover in the West — the real-life inspiration for the fictional Soviet moles in “The Americans” TV series.

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A New Project Stashes Carbon Dioxide in the Form of Minerals.

27th July 2014

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 How can we get rid of excess CO2? Geologist Juerg Matter of the University of Southampton, U.K. is a principal investigator of the Iceland-based project CarbFix, whose recent results show it has safely stored nearly 170 tons of carbon dioxide underground by reaction with minerals—stashing it in rock so it can’t leak out again. The next step is to go big.

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Segway Inventor Dean Kamen Thinks His New Stirling Engine Will Get You Off the Grid for Under $10K

27th July 2014

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If, of course, that’s what you want to do.

I have always been fascinated by Stirling engines, and I must confess that (like hydraulic rams) no matter how many times I read the explanations of how they work, I still don’t have a clue.

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Australia’s Carbon Tax Debacle Shows Why It’s a Bad Idea

27th July 2014

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Australia leapfrogged from being an environmental laggard (initially refusing to even sign the Kyoto Protocol) to a leader when its Green Party-backed Labor prime minister imposed a tax two years ago. It required Australia’s utilities and industries to pay $23 per ton of greenhouse gas emissions.

But the tax was an instant debacle.

Australia is even more coal-dependent than America, using it for 75 percent of its energy needs (compared to 42 percent in America). But contrary to green expectations, the tax didn’t prompt companies to rush toward renewable sources, because they are far costlier.

Rather, utilities passed their costs to households — whose energy bills soared by 20 percent in the first year. Other industries that face hyper-competitive environment such as airlines suffered massive losses. (Virgin Australia alone reported about $25 million in losses in just six months.) The tax also made Australian exports globally uncompetitive, deepening the country’s recession.

This spawned a backlash that brought down the Labor government and catapulted into office the Liberal Party’s Tony Abbott, who made a “blood promise” to ditch the tax, which he kept.

This is the truth that politicians rarely learn: Businesses don’t pay taxes; they merely collect them from their customers and pass the proceeds on to the government. If the extra burden of the tax is something that their customers are unwilling to pay, then the business fails, and that profits nobody.

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Parkour Group Brings ‘Assassin’s Creed’ to Life in Paris

26th July 2014

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Assassin’s Creed has always made it easy to pull off incredible acrobatic moves with little more than a tap of a button, but those video game leaps are nothing compared to seeing real parkour practitioners weave their way through the urban jungle.

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The Ship That Totally Failed to Change the World

26th July 2014

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The NS Savannah, which cost $50m, was launched 55 years ago this week. It was to be an ambassador of sorts – the world’s first nuclear-propelled merchant ship and a symbol of safety and faith in the fuel of the future.

I remember the Savannah, and always wondered what happened to it.

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Startups Are Finally Hacking Healthcare

26th July 2014

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And about fargin’ time, too.

New companies are going around the traditional “front door” of FDA approval, insurers and healthcare institutions by launching ‘Healthcare 2.0’ companies that target consumers and self-insured employers, upending the health sector through the use of innovative digital and social technologies.

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USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

26th July 2014

Watch that will project time on your wrist.

The Swash machine.

Cordless Ultrasonic Rodent Repeller. Let’s set one up on Capitol Hill….

Chainmail running shoes. I am not making this up.

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Anti-Tank Missiles Deflected by New Israeli Defense System

24th July 2014

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At least five times in the past week in Gaza, Israeli tanks equipped with a revolutionary defense system have deflected anti-tank missiles fired at them by Hamas fighters, according to the Israeli army.

The success of the Windbreaker system, as it is called in Israel, augments on the ground the technological achievement in the air of the Iron Dome anti-rocket defense system which Israel credits with neutralizing the intensive rocketing from Gaza of the past two weeks.

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Air Waveguides Use Differences in Density to Keep Light Beams Focused

23rd July 2014

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Scientists say they have turned thin air into an “optical fibre” that can transmit and amplify light signals without the need for any cables.

In a proof-of-principle experiment they created an “air waveguide” that could one day be used as an instantaneous optical fibre to any point on earth, or even into space.

The findings, reported in the journal Optica, have applications in long range laser communications, high-resolution topographic mapping, air pollution and climate change research, and could also be used by the military to make laser weapons.

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New Spongelike Structure Converts Solar Energy Into Steam.

21st July 2014

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The structure — a layer of graphite flakes and an underlying carbon foam — is a porous, insulating material structure that floats on water. When sunlight hits the structure’s surface, it creates a hotspot in the graphite, drawing water up through the material’s pores, where it evaporates as steam. The brighter the light, the more steam is generated.

The new material is able to convert 85 percent of incoming solar energy into steam — a significant improvement over recent approaches to solar-powered steam generation. What’s more, the setup loses very little heat in the process, and can produce steam at relatively low solar intensity. This would mean that, if scaled up, the setup would likely not require complex, costly systems to highly concentrate sunlight.

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From Alzheimer’s to ADHD: What Doctors Can Diagnose From Your Voice Alone

20th July 2014

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If Guillermo Cecchi wants to figure out if you’ve taken MDMA or meth, all he needs is a computer and a recording of your voice. Cecchi is a computer scientist at IBM, and part of a growing community of scientists who think our voices can reveal far more than our sex, age, or cultural origins. He thinks it can also unlock the mind — and the various psychological and neurological states our brains may be experiencing at any given time.

“This is exactly what psychiatrists do every day: they talk to the patients,” Cecchi says, “but we used machine learning and mathematics to replicate it.”

Pretty creepy.

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Huge Mystery Siberia Crater: Aliens or Meteor Not Involved, Officials Insist

20th July 2014

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For those who’ve always thought that Siberia was the asshole of the world — here’s proof.

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Soylent 1.0 Update

20th July 2014

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Apparently this stuff is still going strong.

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USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

19th July 2014

Giant Hamster Wheel for cats.

Camelbak Eddy Bottle.

Cloud Lamp. Just in case you have small children the require entertainment.

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Detroit Police Chief: Armed Citizens Making Detroit Criminals Think Twice

17th July 2014

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With robberies in Detroit down 37 percent compared to figures from this same time last year, Detroit Police Chief James Craig says the increasing number of armed citizens is making criminals think twice before attacking.

My, what a surprise! Aren’t you surprised? I’m sure surprised.

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The Viking Facebook

15th July 2014

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An unusual article recently appeared in the magazine of the Royal Statistical Society and American Statistical Association.

It featured web-like diagrams of lines connecting nodes, a hallmark of research that analyzes networks. But each node, rather than being a plain dot, was the head of a burly, red-bearded Viking sporting a horned hat, his tresses blowing in the wind.

This whimsical-seeming piece of scholarship went on to describe the social network of more than 1,500 characters in the Icelandic Sagas, epic tales about the colonization of Iceland around a thousand years ago that were first written down a few hundred years after that. It was the work of a pair of statistical physicists, Ralph Kenna of University of Coventry in the UK and his graduate student Pádraig Mac Carron, now at Oxford, who are applying the tools of their trade to works of epic literature, legend, and myth.

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Nano-cone Textures Generate Extremely ‘Robust’ Water-Repellent Surfaces

15th July 2014

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“The idea that microscopic textures can impart a material with water-repellent properties has its origins in nature,” explained Brookhaven physicist and lead author Antonio Checco. “For example, the leaves of lotus plants and some insects’ exoskeletons have tiny-scale texturing designed to repel water by trapping air. This property, called ‘superhydrophobicity’ (or super-water-hating), enables water droplets to easily roll off, carrying dirt particles along with them.”

Mimicking this self-cleaning mechanism of nature is relevant for a wide range of applications, such as non-fouling, anti-icing, and antibacterial coatings. However, engineered superhydrophobic surfaces often fail under conditions involving high temperature, pressure, and humidity-such as automotive and aircraft windshields and steam turbine power generators-when the air trapped in the texture can be prone to escape. So scientists have been looking for schemes to improve the robustness of these surfaces by delaying or preventing air escape.

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