image of the week: look there’s gaping ocean between South Korea and China.. oh wait, that’s actually North Korea and it is freaking dark in the night when photographed from the ISS. [credit: NASA]
Crinkle-Crankle wall, England. (From Wiki)
The crinkle crankle wall economizes on bricks, despite its sinuous configuration, because it can be made just one brick thin. If a wall this thin were to be made in a straight line, without buttresses, it would easily topple over. The alternate convex and concave curves in the wall provide stability and help it to resist lateral forces.
Both crinkle and crankle are defined as something with bends and turns (Webster’s), but the term is also thought to come from Old English meaning zig-zag.
Many crinkle-crankle walls are found in the Fen Country of East Anglia.
[There are some in the States too: Thomas Jefferson (1743 to 1826) incorporated so-called serpentine walls into the architecture of the University of Virginia, which he founded. Flanking both sides of its landmark rotunda and extending down the length of the lawn are 10 pavilions, each with its own walled garden separated by crinkle crankle walls.]
Mind blown. This wavy wall actually reduces the amount of bricks required in construction.
This may be the ultimate unconsumption challenge: Can something useful be done with the reported “5.6 trillion used cigarettes,” or filters from smoked cigarettes, more properly, that smokers discard annually? That’s said to add up to 766,571 metric tons of waste material
Motherboard reports that “a group of South Korean scientists recently published a study that proposes a one-step process to turn nasty ol’ flicked butts into something useful—like coating the electrodes of supercapacitors.”
The team from Seoul National University sees, if not beauty in trash, then at least some utility. They found that the cellulose acetate fibers that cigarette filters are made of could be turned into a carbon-based coating for the electrochemical components of supercapacitors.
[These] store extremely large amounts of electrical energy for things like backing up batteries, handling the fluctuating demands of laptops, storing the regenerative electrical power from electric cars’ brakes—all sorts of stuff.
Read more about it here: The Quest To Turn Littered Cigarette Butts into Something Useful | Motherboard
Used cigarette filters are composed largely of cellulose acetate. They are disposable, non-biodegradable, toxic and are a threat to the environment after usage. However, it has been reported that cellulose acetate can be directly utilized in the production of carbon materials containing a meso-/micropore structure by only a carbonization process . That is, used cigarette filters could be used as a proper carbon source for supercapacitors. Importantly, carbonizing used cigarette filters in a nitrogen-containing atmosphere could provide the nitrogen doping on the carbon structure with the formation of such unique pore structures in a one-step process.
(Beirut) – Saudi Arabia has executed at least 19 people since August 4, 2014. Local news reports indicate that eight of those executed were convicted of nonviolent offenses, seven for drug smuggling and one for sorcery.
19 people beheaded in 17 days… and it’s not by ISIS.
These are our allies, Saudi Arabia.
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Is this the result of dividing by zero?
Nope - this is the Morning Glory Spillway, also known as “The Glory Hole”.
This Spillway, the largest in the world, is the funnel-shaped outlet that allows water to bypass the Monticello Dam in California when it reaches capacity (1370 m³/s). The Glory Hole is located about 61m from the dam; the distance from the funnel to the exit point - which is situated in the south side of the canyon - is about 213m. The outside diameter is 22m, slowly narrowing to 8.5m at the exit.
What an impressive feat in editing! Wheezy’s always upping the game on YouTube.
Thanks. However, very little editing is required when you have a cloning machine.
As we count down the minutes until Premier League football returns to fill the void left by the end of the World Cup, here is the Pronunciation Unit’s guide to a few of the new names, and one familiar one.
Stressed syllables shown in upper case, -uh denotes a weak vowel as “a” in “sofa” or “ago”.
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal: loo-EE vun KHAAL (-u as in bun, -kh as in Scottish loch)
Stoke striker Bojan Krkić: BOY-an KUR-kitch (-oy as in boy, -ur as in fur, -tch as in catch)
Newcastle striker Facundo Ferreyra: fack-OON-doh ferr-AY-ruh (-oo as in moon, -ay as in day)
West Bromwich Albion striker Brown Ideye: id-AY-ay (-ay as in day)
Newcastle defender Daryl Janmaat: DURR-il YUN-maat (-u as in cut, -y as in yes, -aa as in father)
Newcastle midfielder Rémy Cabella: ray-MEE kab-el-AA (-ay as in day, -aa as in father)
QPR defender Mauricio Isla: mow-REE-si-oh EE-sluh (-ow as in now, -s as in sit, -ee as in street)
Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino: mow-REE-si-oh potch-et-EE-noh (-ow as in now, -s as in sit, -tch as in catch)
Interesting on Van Gaal - in the world cup I noticed Clarence Seedorf (native Dutch speaker) always said vun GAAL, and not vun KHAAL. Maybe he was trying to fit in with all our other mispronunciations.
When the English football fixtures were announced in June, many fans would have studied them from their own perspective. Are the fixtures fair to their team? Why do they have to travel the full length of the country on a Wednesday evening in the middle of February when, no doubt, it will be cold and raining?
Some people might consider fixtures to be biased. But the truth is that scheduling any sporting event is an incredibly complex job. Let’s stick with the example of English football to understand why…
Let’s also not kid ourselves that humans have always worked long hours and that daily toil is part of the burden of being human. The medieval workday, it has been estimated, was not more than eight hours and the concept of productivity hadn’t yet been invented. These people did not actually consume sufficient calories to work at the rate we might expect. A full day of agricultural toil requires more than 3,000 calories, unaffordable to medieval agricultural labourers. Moreover, for these labourers, holy days and celebrations counted for about a third of the year and, when wages rose, people tended to work less, not more. Without a consumer culture, these workers had little incentive to earn more than a survival wage. If we compare today’s conditions with those of the Industrial Revolution, we’re looking at a blip: the mid-19th century could well be the apex of long hours for all of human history.
In 1987, my father, a scientist at the US National Institute of Health, killed himself after a member of his lab committed scientific fraud and he got caught up in the investigation. So I found the news that Yoshiki Sasai, a Japanese stem-cell scientist, had allegedly committed suicide in the wake of the STAP controversy deeply disturbing.
The STAP controversy began in January over two papers published in the journal Nature. In them, researchers claimed to have developed a simple method of creating embryonic-like stem cells, called STAP (or stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency). The claim, if true, would have given stem-cell research a big boost. But, within months, problems with the papers were spotted and the researchers’ institute deemed that the lead author Haruko Obokata was guilty of scientific misconduct.
Sasai, one of the leading stem-cell researchers in Japan, was a co-author on both the papers, which have now been retracted from Nature. He was, however, cleared of any charges of misconduct.
Given the horrible incentive structure we have in science today, it is somewhat of a miracle that more people don’t make up results on a routine basis. It is important that we identify, and come down hard, on people who cheat (although I wish this would include the far greater number of people who hype their results – something that is ultimately more damaging than the small number of people who commit fraud).
But the next time something like this happens, I am begging you to please be careful about how you respond. Recognise that, while invariably fraud involves a failure not just of honesty but of oversight, most of the people involved are honest, decent scientists.
George Monbiot: The self-serving con of neoliberalism is that it has eroded the human values the market was supposed to emancipate
A Cat Exercise Wheel Has Raised a Quarter of a Million Dollars On Kickstarter, Mashable
One Fast Cat is selling online for $199 including shipping. It comes in four colors — pink, green, blue and black — and is made of plastic. The actual running surface is made from closed cell foam, which keeps claws from getting stuck in the device while the cat is moving.
The four feet wide device’s Kickstarter campaign has raised nearly $260,000 to date, surpassing its original goal of $10,000 by a long shot.
When we ask “Is drug A effective for disease B?” or “Is policy X a good idea?”, we are looking at a body of evidence that is drastically incomplete. Crucially, it is missing a lot of studies that said “No, it isn’t”, and includes a lot of studies which should have said “Maybe yes, maybe no”, but actually just say “Yes”.
We are making huge, life-altering decisions on the basis of bad information. All because we have created a system which treats scientists like journalists; which tells them to give us what is interesting instead of what is true.