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Comment: Student hubris (Score 1) 1

by physicist_percy (#28068903) Attached to: Students, The Other Unprotected Lab Animals
In my experience--having recently completed graduate school--I have witnessed many incidents of carelessness in university laboratories. Students can be extremely ignorant when it comes to safety; often, they lack common sense. Disciplinary action for foolish behaviour is usually nothing more than a stern warning, whereas, disciplinary action in the workplace is much more consequential. Although tragic, stories like this don't surprise me.
Biotech

+ - Students, The Other Unprotected Lab Animals 1

Submitted by
theodp
theodp writes "Slate reports on the horrible — and preventable — death of a young UCLA biochemist in a t-butyl lithium incident, which lead a Chemical Health and Safety columnist to the disheartening conclusion that most academic laboratories are unsafe venues for work or study. It's estimated that accidents and injuries occur hundreds of times more frequently in academic labs than in industrial ones. Why? For one thing, Slate says, occupational safety and health laws that protect workers in hazardous jobs apply only to employees, not to undergrads, grad students, or research fellows who receive stipends from outside funders."
Robotics

+ - Creating Artificial Consciousness ->

Submitted by
jzoom555
jzoom555 writes "In an interview with Discover Mag, Gerald Edelman, Nobel laureate and founder/director of The Neurosciences Institute, discusses the quality of consciousness and progress in building brain-based-devices (BBD's). His lab recently published details on a brain-model that is self-sustaining and 'has beta waves and gamma waves just like the regular cortex'."
Link to Original Source
Image

Sedate Your Kids While They Play 264

Posted by samzenpus
from the nap-time dept.
If your child won't sit still at the dentist, the doctor, or the kitchen table, you need the PediSedate Helmet. The device consisting of a colorful headset that connects to a game component or a portable CD player. After a snorkel attachment goes into the child's mouth, the helmet will monitor respiratory function and distribute nitrous oxide or anesthetic gas. The company website states, "The child comfortably becomes sedated while playing with a Nintendo Game Boy system or listening to music. This dramatically improves the hospital or dental experience for the child, parents and healthcare providers."
Earth

+ - Electric Vehicles and Wind Power->

Submitted by
Greg Huang
Greg Huang writes "A San Diego company called Fallbrook Technologies, which developed the "nuVinci" variable transmission to make light electric vehicles such as scooters and carts drive more smoothly and efficiently, thinks the same idea will work for wind power generation. It's created a spinoff called Viryd that plans to adapt its gearless transmission technology for wind turbines, where they could help maintain consistent power output (and sync with the electrical grid more easily) despite variable wind speeds. This week Viryd obtained $2.2 million in private funding."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Why should we care? (Score 5, Informative) 293

by physicist_percy (#28040917) Attached to: Voyager Clue Points To Origin of the Axis of Evil
Understanding the Cosmic Microwave Background is fundamental to our understanding of the Big Bang. In essence, the CMB is left over energy from the Big Bang itself. We initially thought that the CMB should appear uniform across the entire universe. Two major experiments showed that it was not, which left many scratching their heads. This most recent postulate may explain these results.
Space

Voyager Clue Points To Origin of the Axis of Evil 293

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the seriously-who-named-this-thing dept.
KentuckyFC writes "Cosmologists have been scratching their heads over the discovery of a pattern imprinted on the cosmic microwave background, the radiation left over from the Big Bang. This pattern, the so-called Axis of Evil, just shouldn't be there. Now an independent researcher from Canada says the pattern may be caused by the boundary between the Solar System and interstellar space where there is a sharp change in pressure, temperature and density of ions in space. Known as the termination shock, astronomers had thought this boundary was spherical. But last year, data from the Voyager spacecraft which have crossed the boundary, showed it was asymmetric. The new thinking is that the termination shock acts like a giant lens, refracting light that passes through it. Any distortion of the lens ought to show up as a kind of imprinted pattern on an otherwise random image. But the real eye-opener is that as the shape of the termination shock changes (as the Solar Wind varies, for example), so too should the pattern in the microwave background. And there is tentative evidence that this is happening too (abstract)."
NASA

Space Station Crew Drinks Recycled Urine 349

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the time-to-boldly-come-back dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After the astronauts on the International Space Station finished up their communications with Space Shuttle Atlantis yesterday, the crew on the Space Station did something that no other astronaut has ever done before — drank recycled urine and sweat. The previous shuttle crew that recently returned to Earth brought back samples of the recycled water to make sure it was safe to drink, and all tests came back fine. So on Wednesday, the crew took their recycled urine and said 'cheers' together and toasted the researches and scientists that made the Urine Recycler possible. After drinking the water, they said the taste was great! They also said the water came with labels on it that said 'drink this when real water is over 200 miles away.'"
Power

World's First Battery Fueled By Air 205

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-produce-tons-of-hot-air dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Telegraph reports on the revolutionary 'STAIR' (St Andrews Air) battery could now pave the way for a new generation of electric cars, laptops and mobile phones. The cells are charged in a traditional way but as power is used an open mesh section of battery draws in oxygen from the surrounding air that reacts with a porous carbon component inside the battery, which creates more energy and helps to continually 'charge' the cell as it is being discharged. The battery has a greater storage capacity than other similar-sized cells and can emit power up to 10 times longer. 'The key is to use oxygen in the air as a re-agent, rather than carry the necessary chemicals around inside the battery,' says Professor Peter Bruce of the Chemistry Department at the University of St Andrews. 'Our target is to get a five to ten fold increase in storage capacity, which is beyond the horizon of current lithium batteries.'"

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