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Concrete That Purifies the Air 88

Posted by samzenpus
from the clean-roads dept.
fergus07 writes "Although much of the focus of pollution from automobiles centers on carbon emissions, there are other airborne nasties spewing from the tailpipes of fossil fuel-powered vehicles. These include nitrogen oxides (NOx). In the form of nitrogen dioxide it reacts with chemicals produced by sunlight to form nitric acid – a major constituent of acid rain – and also reacts with sunlight, leading to the formation of ozone and smog. Everyone is exposed to small amounts of nitrogen oxides in ambient air, but exposure to higher amounts, in areas of heavy traffic for example, can damage respiratory airways. Testing has shown that surfacing roads with air purifying concrete could make a big contribution to local air purity by reducing the concentration of nitrogen oxides by 25 to 45 percent."

Comment: Re:Extremely stupid, extremely broad law (Score 1) 197

by ThaReetLad (#32456708) Attached to: OH Senate Passes Bill Banning Human-Animal Hybrids

Have you thought through the ethical implications of genetic modification?
Firstly, during the research you're creating human-ish life, and then terminating it. For those with problems with ethical issues on abortion on demand this is a problem.
Secondly, if this ever reaches commercialisation (and it will be to recoup the costs), only the rich will have access to these medical advances. If it leads to the potential to pick and chose better genes for your children then you'll create a two-tier humanity, with the wealthy as the genetically superior a la gattica.

It's not as simple as just being close minded to the opportunities.

Comment: Re:No clear definition of human (Score 1) 197

by ThaReetLad (#32456594) Attached to: OH Senate Passes Bill Banning Human-Animal Hybrids

The problem is that there are potentially huge negative social implications of human genetic modification, not least because it won't be available to all. The wealthy will be able to chose genes that make one superior and so create a wealthy, more capable race that will rule over the poor and genetically inferior. We already have this to some extent through generations of class structures, but now there is at least random chance that keeps stirring the gene pool, and there isn't a clear divide between the genetic haves and have-nots.

Comment: Re:This is bad (Score 1) 197

by ThaReetLad (#32456554) Attached to: OH Senate Passes Bill Banning Human-Animal Hybrids

IVF? That doesn't involve sex.
One could imagine artificial wombs and cloning tech which can derive gametes from cells other than a sperm and an egg. The result would be genetically 100% human but would not qualify under your definition. It may even be possible one day to encourage adult stem cells to start dividing and grow into a full human clone identical to the originator. Not human?

What if you have a human but with slightly modified DNA from an animal which gave improved sight, hearing or muscle efficiency? Where do you draw the line? What about the ethical and social implications if modified DNA that gave superior abilities (cognative etc) were only available to the rich? I think Gattica gave a glimpse of what that future might look like. What if the genetically pure human were the poor, and the elite became almost a separate race? I suspect such a divided future would lead to violence and a nightmarish dystopia.

Comment: Re:Wait (Score 1) 799

by ThaReetLad (#32204900) Attached to: Gulf Gusher Worst Case Scenario

Actually the problem is not when production peaks, but when production cannot keep up with demand. At that point prices will rise rapidly, even if production continues to grow. A fall off in production will only exacerbate the price rises, and the rapid decline in production that peak oil predicts will make oil too expensive for many parts of the world, severely limiting their growth and ability to produce food and goods.

The problem is not the lack of oil per se, but the lack of cheap oil.

Comment: Re:Sensitivity is not Resolution (Score 1) 192

by ThaReetLad (#31580538) Attached to: Quantum Film Might Replace CMOS Sensors

Both, and more. The new tech should give at least 4x better sensitivity with higher resolutions, but the other major benefit over CMOS is something else called "Fill Factor". Basically this is the amount of the sensor surface which collects useful light. With typical CMOS chips this is something like 40%, but with these quantum dot devices it is 100% as the light sensitive region lies on the surface of the chip with the electronics below. This is not such a huge deal for mobile phone cameras, but it is a big deal in astronomy and scientific imaging applications which use very low light levels, and currently have to use CCDs with all their disadvantages.

This could be revolutionary in the field of Raman spectroscopy and other similar fields, and I for one am waiting with baited breath for this to become a reality.

Comment: Re:A point to note (Score 1) 565

by ThaReetLad (#31492914) Attached to: Scientology Tries To Block German Documentary

Nevertheless, they did exist. I have a Russian friend who did "Atheism class", who now has a PhD in Mathematics. The irony was that it was the atheism class which made her believe there was a God. I too was stunned when she told be about the class, as it made no sense, but she insisted that it was a class dedicated to teaching children that there was no god, and used evolution to try and prove it. It sounded like precisely the sort of thing that Richard Dawkins was trying to promote with his atheist summer camps for children.
You can shift the goal posts and do as much mental gymnastics as you like; the fact remains that the worst atrocities in history were perpetrated by regimes who asserted the God did not exist.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn:
Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: "Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened." Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: "Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened.

Edward E. Ericson, Jr., "Solzhenitsyn – Voice from the Gulag," Eternity, October 1985, pp. 23, 24.

That's not to say that all religions have clean hands, they don't, but humans seem to have an inbuilt need to worship something, and what we worship will heavily influence who we live and act, and how we understand the importance of the lives of those around us. If we don't worship a God for whom all people everywhere are equally loved and important, then we will see others as less than human and do evil things to them (and that can, and does occur with some forms of christian theology). If we worship the state then people who threaten the state must be corrected or killed. If you worship science then people who are "anti-scientific" in your view must be corrected, or if they threaten science, killed. In soviet russia, christians and others threatened the state and its religion of the "science" of Marxism–Leninism, and were controlled, imprisoned and killed in vast numbers.

As has been said before, the only thing worse than what happens when man worships god, is what happens when man worships man.

Comment: Re:A point to note (Score 5, Insightful) 565

by ThaReetLad (#31479968) Attached to: Scientology Tries To Block German Documentary

Well you start by confiscating children of believers, in the name of preventing "brainwashing", move on to imprisoning believers for "anti-revolutionary activities", and then start killing millions. You might also set up state approved alternatives that gradually remove spiritual elements. You also mandate "atheism lessons" for all school children.

It's what the USSR, PRC, and DPRK did.

"No matter where you go, there you are..." -- Buckaroo Banzai

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