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Comment Re:Ummm.... (Score 1) 143

I won't comment on whether or not this will work, but in bush Alaska that $1 per Kilowatt Hour is during the prosperous warm times when the fuel to run the diesel generators doesn't have be flow in because of pack ice or a fuel barge delayed because the Coast Guard is holding it for repairs. Now imagine sitting way out on the Aleutian chain where it blows like hell for long periods of time and barges ice over. I once had to wait, through a fuel rationing for a month, for fuel in the middle of winter. One year fuel had to be flown in to McGrath in the interior - gasoline was going for $12 a gallon. Last year, the a town along the inside passage (panhandle) froze over. They were without power for over a month because of the record snow.

Now, I don't know (don't care to fact check helium cost at the moment), but I would compare that to the cost of keeping communities from freezing to death.

Comment Back to the drawing board (Score 2) 127

Since it will probably be quit a while before the next suit redesign, I have one suggestion.

If you just have to have wires that light up, then having them individually change colors to reflect biological conditions would be a wiser use than just for the glow in the dark function. This way your suit could visually convey critical medical information to the rest of the crew. For instance you could monitor heart rate, respiration and pucker factor on a space walk or during the realization that you are wearing a shower curtain when tiny high velocity particles pierce your suit.

Comment Re:It's deja vu ... (Score 5, Informative) 121

Thought you might like this from Troubled Lands The Legacy of Soviet Environmental Destruction by D. J. Peterson
(Chapter 5)

"For example, in the town of Sillamae in northeastern Estonia, nearly
300 children attending two kindergartens suffered a loss of hair in 1989.
When the story first broke in March of that year, the Soviet press agency,
TASS, reported that specialists initially had suspected the cause to be
natural radioactivity emanating from local shale deposits. Subsequent
tests, however, revealed that background radiation in the town was
normal. After months of speculation and controversy, the former director
of the Baltiets enterprise, a local defense industry, revealed that his com-
pany had dumped radioactive wastes in the town. The two kinder-
gartens were built over the dump, separated from it by only a thin layer
of sand."

Comment Re:Could or Do? (Score 1) 48

This is quite frustrating. The article says "could" all the while pointing to everything that indicates that they "do". The article says that POP's (persistent organic pollutants) have been found in the marine life within the area of the study and that the same POP's were found in higher concentrations to varying degrees in the microplastics analyzed and that these microplastics were found in the tissues of these animals. So, take it as you will. Bon Appetit! PCB's DDT's yum yum!

Comment Re:it's only an hypothesis (Score 3, Informative) 48

J.P.G.L. Frias, P. Sobral, A.M. Ferreira, Organic pollutants in microplastics from two beaches of the Portuguese coast, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 60, Issue 11, November 2010, Pages 1988-1992, ISSN 0025-326X, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2010.07.030.
Keywords: Microplastics; PAHs; PCBs; DDTs; Plastic pellets; Portugal

Organic pollutants in microplastics from two beaches of the Portuguese coast

I apologise for referring you to a paywall, but this journal article does show that "chemicals could transfer from plastic when they are eaten by animals and accumulate in their bodies and reduce important functions that maintain their health."

Comment The food chain.. (Score 5, Interesting) 48

Some may argue that such research is pointless because pollution goes hand in hand with civilization or that we will never be able to clean up what is already out there. I disagree. Understanding how organisms are affected may give valuable insights into how pollution is and will alter the food chain. The article mentions "accumulation of toxins", this is bioaccumulation of not only different sizes and types of microplastics, it is also the bioaccumulation of the plasticizers that leach out as these microplastics degrade in a particular environment over time. Then some of these organisms are eaten by others which results in bioamplification of whatever toxins linger - mainly in fatty tissues. These organisms migrate and here you and I sit at the top of the food chain ready to devour what we assume is safe to eat. Some of the plasticizers - such as bisphenol-A (synthetic estrogen used to harden plastics) and phthalates (used to soften plastics) are well known endocrine disruptors; i.e. they mimic hormones which can alter development of offspring. Wouldn't such biological activity of these contaminants be worth studying - say in the realm of genetics - specifically epigenetics?

Food for though. Do a load of laundry that is all 100% cotton and you end up with quite a few cotton fibers in the dryer's lint filter. Do a similar size load of clothing containing synthetic fibers and notice there is far less in the lint filter and that the fibers are considerably smaller. Do another load of synthetics and filter out all of the water drained from the washing machine and take a look at what wind up in a settling pond (unless there is a storm surge that overloads the sewage system) and eventually to the ocean.

Not only are the toxins from microplastics a concern, but so are the fibers themselves which can block gills and also act as substrates for organisms from one environment to flourish upon, be transported upon and potentially become an invasive species in another environment resulting in loss of resources for the fishing industry rippling through the global economy.

Comment Suggestions and comments (Score 1) 70

An off-planet laboratory seems like an intelligent first move - a lunar-synchronous asteroid perhaps? My imaginary implications mostly point out the need for operational security - at least in practice. Who wants to bio-engineer organisms to transform mars here on earth anyway? Minimizing the oh s%^t factor should be a priority.

The article would have been much more interesting if the author(s) would have elaborated beyond "computer-designed." I mean get real down and nerdy about it! This is Slashdot, don't be shy.

Comment Re:Federal prison (Score 5, Insightful) 255

FTFA, he has raised $90,000 in the past few days. That seems to have helped. He has brought attention to legal conflicts that people should be talking about - that will help in a broader sense. It seems like you have given up any notion of progress. It's people who stand up and put things to the test who make a difference - no matter how big or small. If he goes to the joint over it, that's his choice. This media attention IMHO will be of benefit that could have the feds go easier on him because he's not just some unknown guy getting black bagged in an alley and stuffed into a room with no windows - blah, blah, blah.

Comment Federal prison (Score 2) 255

I hear it's actually pretty nice - decent food and opportunities for education, (might come in handy since his business is gone). And best of all you pretty much have an idea who you're getting ganked by. In the mean time, staying in the public eye will assure the feds tread carefully and just might save his a$$ - no pun intended.

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