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NOAA: Earth Smashed A Record For Heat In May 2014, Effects To Worsen 547

Freshly Exhumed (105597) writes with news that NOAA's latest global climate analysis is showing things are getting hotter. From the article: Driven by exceptionally warm ocean waters, Earth smashed a record for heat in May and is likely to keep on breaking high temperature marks, experts say. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Monday said May's average temperature on Earth of 15.54 C beat the old record set four years ago. In April, the globe tied the 2010 record for that month. Records go back to 1880. Experts say there's a good chance global heat records will keep falling, especially next year because an El Nino weather event is brewing on top of man-made global warming. An El Nino is a warming of the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean that alters climate worldwide and usually spikes global temperatures.

How Much Math Do We Really Need? 1153

Pickens writes "G.V. Ramanathan, a professor emeritus of mathematics, statistics and computer science at the University of Illinois at Chicago, writes in the Washington Post that although a lot of effort and money has been spent to make mathematics seem essential, unlike literature, history, politics and music, math has little relevance to everybody's daily life. 'All the mathematics one needs in real life can be learned in early years without much fuss,' writes Ramanathan. 'Most adults have no contact with math at work, nor do they curl up with an algebra book for relaxation.' Ramanathan says that the marketing of math has become similar to the marketing of creams to whiten teeth, gels to grow hair and regimens to build a beautiful body, but even with generous government grants over the past 25 years, countless courses, conferences, and books written on how to teach teachers to teach, where is the evidence that these efforts have helped students? A 2008 review by the Education Department found that the nation is at 'greater risk now' than it was in 1983, and the National Assessment of Educational Progress math scores for 17-year-olds have remained stagnant since the 1980s (PDF). Meanwhile those who do love math and science have been doing very well and our graduate schools are the best in the world. 'As for the rest, there is no obligation to love math any more than grammar, composition, curfew or washing up after dinner. Why create a need to make it palatable to all and spend taxpayers' money on pointless endeavors without demonstrable results or accountability?'"

EEStor Issued a Patent For Its Supercapacitor 603

An anonymous reader sends us to GM-volt.com, an electric vehicle enthusiast blog, for the news that last week EEStor was granted a US patent for their electric-energy storage unit, of which no one outside the company (no one who is talking, anyway) has seen so much as a working prototype. We've discussed the company on a number of occasions. The patent (PDF) is a highly information-rich document that offers remarkable insight into the device. EEStor notes "the present invention provides a unique lightweight electric-energy storage unit that has the capability to store ultrahigh amounts of energy." "The core ingredient is an aluminum coated barium titanate powder immersed in a polyethylene terephthalate plastic matrix. The EESU is composed of 31,353 of these components arranged in parallel. It is said to have a total capacitance of 30.693 F and can hold 52.220 kWh of energy. The device is said to have a weight of 281.56 pound including the box and all hardware. Unlike lithium-ion cells, the technology is said not to degrade with cycling and thus has a functionally unlimited lifetime. It is mentioned the device cannot explode when being charge or impacted and is thus safe for vehicles."

Scientist Patents New Method To Fight Global Warming 492

SUNSTOP writes to tell us that a relatively unknown Maryland scientist has proposed a public patent that he claims could combat global warming. The proposed plan would require massive amounts of water to be sprayed into the air in an effort to bolster the earth's existing air conditioning system. "First, the sprayed droplets would transform to water vapor, a change that absorbs thermal energy near ground level; then the rising vapor would condense into sunlight-reflecting clouds and cooling rain, releasing much of the stored energy into space in the form of infrared radiation. Kenneth Caldeira, a climate scientist for the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University whose computer simulation of Ace's invention suggests it would significantly cool the planet. The simulated evaporation of about one-half inch of additional water everywhere in the world produced immediate planetary cooling effects that were projected to reach nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit within 20 or 30 years, Caldeira said."

Plasma Plants Vaporize Trash While Creating Energy 618

Jason Sahler writes "Recently St. Lucie County in Florida announced that it has teamed up with Geoplasma to develop the United States' first plasma gasification plant. The plant will use super-hot 10,000 degree Fahrenheit plasma to effectively vaporize 1,500 tons of trash each day, which in turn spins turbines to generate 60MW of electricity — enough to power 50,000 homes!"

WV Voters Say Machines Are Switching Votes 900

An anonymous reader writes "Three Putnam County voters say electronic voting machines changed their votes from Democrats to Republicans when they cast early ballots last week. This is the second West Virginia county where voters have reported this problem. Last week, three voters in Jackson County told The Charleston Gazette their electronic vote for 'Barack Obama' kept flipping to 'John McCain.'"

Eric Lerner's Focus Fusion Device Gets Funded 367

pln2bz writes "Eric Lerner, author of The Big Bang Never Happened, has received $600k in funding, and a promise of phased payments of $10 million if scientific feasibility can be demonstrated to productize Lerner's focus fusion energy production device. Unlike the Tokamak, focus fusion does not require the plasma to be stable, does not produce significant amounts of dangerous radiation, directly injects electrons into the power grid without the need for turbines and would only cost around $300k to manufacture a generator. Lerner's inspiration for the technology is based upon an interpretation for astrophysical Herbig-Haro jets that agrees with the Electric Universe explanation."

Dr. Bussard Passes Away, Polywell Fusion Continues 79

Vinz writes "Dr Bussard, the man behind the Bussard Collector and inventor of the Polywell fusion device, passed away last Sunday in the morning. He leaves behind him a legacy of EM fusion devices, and a team determined to continue his efforts. The news of funding extension for the construction of his WB-7 fusion devices made it to slashdot months ago (as well as his talk at google). They may be a serious candidate in the run to bring commercial fusion, and may work at lower scales than other projects. Let's hope the project continues in good shape despite his departure."

Internet Uses 9.4% of Electricity In the US 271

ribuck writes "Equipment powering the internet accounts for 9.4% of electricity demand in the U.S., and 5.3% of global demand, according to research by David Sarokin at online pay-for-answers service Uclue. Worldwide, that's 868 billion kilowatt-hours per year. The total includes the energy used by desktop computers and monitors (which makes up two-thirds of the total), plus other energy sinks including modems, routers, data processing equipment and cooling equipment."

Misuse of Scientific Data By the White House 577

Science data nerds writes "The White House is consistently and persistently claiming that the US is doing better than Europe in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This is false — their claim is purely based on carefully selecting the only subset of the data that supports this conclusion. When all the data are used, it is plain that European emissions have declined substantially and US emissions have grown substantially. The article, and this linked analysis, debunk the White House claims."

I like work; it fascinates me; I can sit and look at it for hours.