tetrahedrassface writes: It seems that Iran has joined the seven nation consortium in building the ITER reactor that is currently under construction in France. Scheduled to be producing power in 2019, the reactor is a 'hot' fusion reactor that is theoretically capable of producing 500 megawatts from 50 megawatts of input power. The project has faced technical and monetary challenges since it's inception and the choice of France as its location. The inclusion of Iran in this international group is quite striking as sanctions against Iran have been ramped up and even talk of war as Iran maintains development of its own enrichment program ostensibly for domestic energy production. It seems a bit strange in the face of such vitriol from all sides over Iran's enrichment programs that the consortium would welcome them into the fusion fold. On the other hand it's nice to see at least some level of partnership amongst nations that in general seem to have poor relationships.
tetrahedrassface writes: According to the Wall Street Journal, Federal agents again raided guitar maker Gibson this past week seizing several pallets of wood and computer documents. At heart of the issue is the wood that is being used in guitars and whether or not it comes from sustainable sources. The company insists it is being harassed and made to 'cry uncle' to the governments enforcement laws. While, as the article notes, wonderful woods like Madagascar Ebony, Brazilian Rosewood and other fret and tone woods are protected in order to prevent the equivalent of 'blood diamond like trade' in sought after tone woods, the ramafications now extend to guitar sowners. Owners and players are next in sights of this enforcement. If you play a vintage guitar, or a hand built guitar made of old stock woods that were legally obtained years ago, but only recently crafted into an ax, you best not fly with it. John Thomas, a law professor at Quinnipiac University and a blues and ragtime guitarist, says "there's a lot of anxiety, and it's well justified." Once upon a time, he would have taken one of his vintage guitars on his travels. Now, "I don't go out of the country with a wooden guitar." That's right. Recent revisions to various laws and the Lacey Act mean if you carry your guitar across the border and don't have your paperwork and certification in hand, they will seize the guitar and fine you 250.00. So if your planning that dream vacation to France and want to play your acoustic in the air of France (or anywhere else) be forewarned. They are gunning for you.
from the fact-based-constituency dept.
smooth wombat writes, "Several prominent scientists said yesterday that they had formed an organization dedicated to electing politicians 'who respect evidence and understand the importance of using scientific and engineering advice in making public policy.' The group will be a 527 organization and will focus its efforts on races in which science plays a part." From the article: "In what it described as a Bill of Rights for scientists and engineers, the group said that researchers who receive federal funds should be free to discuss their work publicly, and that appointments to federal scientific advisory committees should be based on scientific qualifications, not political beliefs. It said the government should not support science education programs that 'include concepts that are derived from ideology,' an apparent reference to creationism and its ideological cousin, intelligent design."