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Science Unlocks The Mystery Of Belly Button Lint 161

After three years of research, including examining 503 pieces of fluff from his own belly button, Georg Steinhauser has discovered a type of body hair that traps stray pieces of lint and draws them into the navel. Dr Steinhauser's observations showed that "small pieces of fluff first form in the hair and then end up in the navel at the end of the day." Chemical analysis revealed the pieces of fluff were not just made up of cotton from clothing. Wrapped up in the lint were also flecks of dead skin, fat, sweat and dust. Unfortunately, further study has failed to yield a hair or fiber that would give Dr. Steinhauser the last three years of his life back.

Comment Funny thing about NY this time of year (Score 1) 2

Here in Rochester (50nm from the crash), the day before the accident, it was 50F (10C) and the evening of the accident it was 27F (-3C). So it went from perfect IFR weather (too warm for ice, too cold for thunderstorms) to prime freezing rain conditions. But the Dash 8 is supposed to be a good bird in ice from everyone I've talked to whose flown it, so I don't think ice is the only problem here.

My CFII always said to do ILSes with no flaps, since there is a danger of ice just about any time of year, and ILSes nearly always lead to really long runways.

Comment Re:New Becons cost too much (Score 4, Informative) 184

What makes them so different to normal consumer ones?

They're a permanently mounted part of the plane, and therefore they have to be certified to the same standard as anything else mounted in the plane. In the case of the ones we mounted (Garmin 530), they also replace one of the communications radios and one of the navigation (VOR, LOC and ILS) radios, so they have to be certified to that standard as well. And then on top of that you have to load in a new database every 56 days or the unit will refuse to let you use it for instrument approaches.

Consider also the consequences of getting it wrong. If your TomTom is off by 100 metres, you park in front of the wrong house. If my Garmin 530 is off by 100 metres, I crash into a mountain side and die.

Comment Re:New Becons cost too much (Score 3, Informative) 184

When you've had your plane for a decade, and it's all paid for, do you really want to spend $1200 (and our flying club was quoted more like $2500 installed) at a time when avgas is still at near record highs (currently paying $5.25/gallon), government over-reactions to 9/11 are making it damn near impossible for new pilots to get started and damn near impossible for existing pilots to keep up with the ever changing regulations, and pilots are worried about their jobs? Our club has seen membership decline from around 60 members and 5 planes pre-9/11 to 20 members and 2 planes now. We shelled out $10,000 per plane to put GPSes in the planes because it's getting hard to fly IFR anywhere without one. And now we're being told that because there are air carriers on the same airport as us, all members and potential members will have to pass a TSA background check costing upwards of $250 each.

Comment Not likely, either (Score 1) 184

It's not likely that those 121.5 MHz ELTs will be replaced any time soon, either. The 406 MHz ones cost way more, and are very expensive to install. I expect that the only replacements will happen because people need to fly to another country that requires them, or because their old ELT crapped out and they can't get replacement parts any more.


Submission + - Computer simulation of cancer growth

Roland Piquepaille writes: "For a long time now, researchers and scientists have used computer simulations in physical sciences, such as physics, chemistry or engineering. But what about biology? An international team of U.S. and Scottish mathematicians and biologists has decided to use a math model to predict tumor behavior. As say the researchers, their approach is similar to the one used by weather forecasters. So far, and even if it was successful, this approach is entirely theoretical. But the scientists see their effort as the beginning of a new era in cancer research. And it might be the beginning of customized cancer treatments. Read more for additional references and illustrations about this use of computer simulation to predict a cancer evolution."

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