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Comment Let the baby keep it as well... (Score 1) 321

Having looked into it several times (2 kids) we have decided that it is simply to expensive to store our own. Donating works well though. Often times the donation centres keep your name on a list so that you have priority for the future as well.

Also, be aware that while storing the cord blood is useful, actually allowing the blood to completely go to the baby is even better. All the blood in the cord / placenta is the baby's blood. By depriving it of that blood, that can put them down a lot of iron. Often letting the blood pump for 10 minutes after birth before clamping is sufficient (our doctor in Canada says the standard here is 1.5 - 2 minutes now but the parents can ask for more). Many mid-wives will actually let the placenta "birth" before clamping to be sure the baby gets all of its own blood.

Comment Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (Score 1) 418

I agree. I use a kobo now and I doubt I will rarely buy a paper book again. Tablets are too big and bulky - my wife even dumped her iPad for reading and bought a kobo too. Colour would be nice if you read magazines or something, but for printed word, the straight eReader is great - Compact, light weight and I will never lose my bookmark!

Comment Re:Sun - Earth Connections (Score 1) 569

You are talking only about the total solar irradiance increase. This doesn't include other solar parameters such as x-ray flux, interplanetary magnetic field effects, etc that would all be effected solar quieting. How these things tie in is the question. I agree that the TSI would not affect the warming enough however.

Comment Re:Sun - Earth Connections (Score 1) 569

This is of course correct if you think purely about EUV/x-ray but the majority of the solar radiation is not of these type and varies by less than 1% over a solar cycle. This is what the climate models tend to incorporate.

X-rays especially are related to the acceleration of plasma and the magnetic energy conversion during reconnection events. The biggest of these are flares and tend to have a footprint on the solar surface in a sunspot. Therefore, I would venture a guess that the x-ray and EUV energies decrease as the magnetic field reversal becomes more dipolar near solar minimum (which is what the graph shows).

The question then becomes, can the x-ray/EUV events be correlated to macroscopic affects on the Earth? Given that the Earth and sun have been interacting for 4 billion years, it is certainly possible.

Comment Sun - Earth Connections (Score 2) 569

An examination of sunspots over the last 10+ years by looking at Fe lines shows that the magnetic fields and temperatures in the sunspots are decreasing. There is apparently a "minimum" value for the magnetic field for a sunspot to form. The average value has been decreasing rather rapidly of late (10 years or so). This leads to smaller and less intense sunspots. If the magnetic values generated are no longer strong enough to generate sunspots, how is the magnetic field of the sun affected? Will it still go through a 22-year cycle (I suspect yes, the lack of sunspots should not affect that cycle)? So simply the 11-year SUNSPOT cycle will be affected.

Further to this, I (as an actual real life scientist) have been looking at the activity of the solar magnetic field. Specifically the transition from a dipolar field (at solar minimum) to a non-dipolar field (near solar maximum) and back again. Given the long relationship the Sun and Earth have had (some 4 billion years) I thought I'd throw in some macroscale effects seen on the Earth for comparison. Very surprisingly, the sunspot cycle and the El Nino/La Nina cycle is actually reasonably correlated (remember, correlation does not equal causation). There is a bit looser relationship better the solar cycle and Typhoons (though this may be more related El Nino) and monsoon rains (very likely correlated to the El Nino cycle).

However, solar variation in radiation is not the cause (this is what is taken into account in climate models) but the magnetic fields and the solar wind appear to play a much larger role (See multiple articles by Scafetta and West for example). The solar wind interacts with polar atmosphere and there is a suggestion (questionable) that is may link the Quasi-biennial ocsillation to solar activity. There seems to be relationship, however, it is not clear what it is or how a lack of solar activity would affect the Earth (or what the "lag time" might be).

Will it get cooler if there is an extended period of low to no solar activity? Yes, there is strong evidence of that based on previous examples (Maunder and Sporer minimums for example). Will the cooling completely counteract the greenhouse gas warming? Good question.

Comment Re:EASY!!!! Science *CAN* produce miracles! (Score 1) 1486

You are describing technology, not science. People made everything you describe without using scientific theories.

Really? Please tell me that Bernoulli didn't do the SCIENCE behind understanding fluids and buoyancy. Or the science behind technology. No offence to any of the engineers out there, but with out physics, chemistry and even biology as building blocks there would be NO technology.

Nature is a wonderful and amazing thing. Science helps us to understand nature. Technology uses science based on natural discoveries to improve our lives (mostly). Without science we could never build planes, combustion engines, skyscrapers, spacecraft, build massive bridges, drill for oil, and many many other things. Science is the foundation of technology.

Now, let me guess. People could have made those things without doing science, right? Do you think that the Wright brothers just built their plane and said "okay, no problem, this will fly" ? No, they experimented with different designs and test flights - they didn't necessarily know the mathematics or the "theory" but they began to understand by EXPERIMENTATION what works - that is science as much as sitting at a desk and doing math to describe some abstract concept (flight).

Comment Re:Just rename it! (Score 2) 435

LOL. For some time one of the Web interfaces (think corpo-ware) sold by my employer was broken under IE. Nobody noticed. For two+ years.

Our University recently e-mailed out to all students and employees to NOT download IE9 as none of the blackboarding, registration, payroll and admin, etc software works in IE9.

That was good for a laugh!


Submission + - New copyright bill to be introduced

NotNormallyNormal writes: The Canadian Gov't is about to introduce new legislation to parliament. It will be a tough new copyright bill — dubbed 'Anti-consumer' by the CBC. Michael Geist reports it is the "most anti-consumer copyright bill in Canadian history". The Globe and Mail notes that the bill will be introduced in the next six weeks and will attempt to bring a tough copyright law that would mimic the much-loathed U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act in the U.S. and provide Canada's position on the ACTA Treaty. Please write or e-mail to your MP, PM Harper, Ministers Moore and Clement, and the opposition leaders as well. Also, consider joining the new Pirate Party of Canada.

Comment Re:They are wrong (Score 1) 508

So - you are assuming that space science is solely NASA then? While that make up a large chunk of the resources for space science, they are not the only resource. As you say, DoD does provide instruments such as DMSP and LANL as does NOAA. In Canada our resources are small and we often have to use multiple agencies just to cover over a small project (for example, our current project uses funding from NSERC as well as CSA and CFI grants.

NASA does have several multi-spacecraft projects (see THEMIS for example). But, you are correct, ESA does have a leg up on this sort of stuff.

Now, don't get me wrong. I think that human space flight does have it's place. My question at this point is more "Is it worth (scientifically) putting money into human space flight or instrumentation and robotic exploration and space technology and engineer?" I would say without any reservation, that human space flight, at this point, is not worth it. Is it worth sending a couple of men to the moon to collect a few rocks and find out some tiny info about the 50 square km that they land in or use a high resolution imager to map the moon? Then using that same technology - adapt it to map Mars? Or Europa or Titan? That spacecraft could also have instrumentation to study high energy particles near the moon, looking at safety issues for long term stays - all sort of useful science that would lose out.

What about developing the engineering and technological means to allow for long stays on the moon? Spend 5-10 years researching astronaut safety, building materials, biospheres, ecological and environmental surveys for using natural resources - then go to the moon for extended stays of weeks and months? Using this technology to then go to Mars? It is the choice of where to put the limited funds for the next 5 years, 10 years... where will it be of the most use?

Comment Re:They are wrong (Score 2, Interesting) 508

Actually, I am a space scientist. In fact we know all to well about the economics of doing our work. For many years we've had to scrounge money and expertise to engineer our projects. I have been advocating in Canada for many years about the problems with the CSA supporting human space flight while leaving potentially important scientific work behind. That is how things like micro- and nano- satellites and the cubesats have evolved.

As far as one offs - you are obviously not familiar with space instrumentation. Most projects I have been involved with use sensors that were developed long ago and have just been tweaked for new technology and communication. The last imaging project launched in 2000 used the same sort of imager design done in the 80's. The same design is once again likely to be used on the next set of flights, just with upgraded technology - better detectors and communication hardware. Ever heard of the DMSP and LANL satellites? They have many satellites, and continue to launch them all with the same instrument packages. This is the same for sounding rocket launches and ground-based stations. It is the norm not the exception to re-use designs that work. One-off such as the Hubble telescope and CASSINI tend to take millions and billions of dollars that few people can even get.

And believe me when I say, the data we retrieve is EXTREMELY important to us. We are careful to make sure that our projects are as cost-efficient but still get a "bang" for our buck. Many satellites we keep running long past their lifetimes, even if it is just for one or two instruments, the simple fact is that these instruments are generally hard to replace (money is usually the sticking point - competition for it is extreme).

So unless you are an actual expert in space science and instrument design, I would be very careful about who you insult.

Comment Re:They are wrong (Score 1) 508

And, really, as a scientist, sending PEOPLE into space is useless save to do maintenance for really science projects such as the Hubble Telescope. Even the space station is useless as most of the time is spent trying to keep it functioning than doing actual science. What science can be done on the moon that a rover can't do? I think that the astronauts are clearly not looking at the bigger picture of doing real science but simply looking at the fact that having a human (a very select human unless someone has a tonne of money) in space is cool.

College To Save Money By Switching Email Font 306

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has come up with an unusual way of saving money: changing their email font. The school expects to use 30% less ink by switching from Arial to Century Gothic. From the article: "Diane Blohowiak is the school's director of computing. She says the new font uses about 30 percent less ink than the previous one. That could add up to real savings, since the cost of printer ink works out to about $10,000 per gallon. Blohowiak says the decision is part of the school's five-year plan to go green. She tells Wisconsin Public Radio it's great that a change that's eco-friendly also saves money."

Comment Re:The debate is long from over. (Score 1) 590

This is an interesting comment. My mother worked with mentally challenged kids for many years before retiring from the school division. Recently she was visiting while some friends had come over with their son. Afterwards, she asked if we knew if he had been diagnosed as autistic. We (my wife and I) said that our friends wouldn't believe that and some "holistic" doctors had told them that he was just sensitive to some preservatives and that was what was causing his issues... now, of course, he has gone into pre-school and his teachers are skeptical about this sensitivity. Our friends still refuse to believe there is anything else wrong. So, I agree, people having spent time working with these kids can easily pick out others with the same problems (my wife and I also figured he was too... Personally, I think it is very obvious and our friends are desperately avoiding the issue).

Simulation of Close Asteroid Fly-By 148

c0mpliant writes "NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory have released a simulation of the path of an asteroid, named Apophis, that will come very close to Earth in 2029 — the closest predicted approach since humans have monitored for such heavenly bodies. The asteroid caused a bit of a scare when astronomers first announced that it would enter Earth's neighborhood some time in the future. However, since that announcement in 2004, more recent calculations have put the odds of collision at 1 in 250,000."

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