Archive for ‘Science Technology’

January 14, 2013

‘FrackNation,’ a Documentary – NYTimes.com

frack_nation_pensioner

A Polish retiree bemoans her utility bills in the documentary “FrackNation,” about natural gas extraction.

By JEANNETTE CATSOULIS

Directed by Phelim McAleer, Ann McElhinney and Magdalena Segieda

1 hour 17 minutes; not rated

If your only exposure to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking — the process of extracting natural gas from shale — has been Josh Fox’s alarming documentary, “Gasland,” then “FrackNation” would like your attention. Claiming that Mr. Fox’s chilling conclusions are misleading at best, Phelim McAleer and his fellow directors, Ann McElhinney and Magdalena Segieda, attempt to prove that shale gas just might be “the miracle of the 21st century.”

Narrated by Mr. McAleer, whose previous documentaries have also argued against environmental concerns, “FrackNation” is no tossed-off, pro-business pamphlet. Methodically researched and assembled (and financed by thousands of small donations from an online campaign), the film picks at Mr. Fox’s assertions and omissions with dogged persistence. Much of what it reveals is provocative, like a confrontation with Mr. Fox about the presence of methane in the water supply decades before fracking began.

What’s clear is that Mr. McAleer knows his way around the Freedom of Information Act and has done his legwork. Besides talking to carefully selected scientists and water experts, he visits pro-fracking residents of Dimock Township, Pa., who are annoyed that their community is being characterized as a toxic wasteland. And he’s not above taking a sentimental detour to Poland to commiserate with a pensioner who can’t pay her energy bills, or reveling in the odd gotcha moment, like accusing a public official of “inappropriate ties” to Mr. Fox.

More than anything, “FrackNation” underscores the sheer complexity of a process that offers a financial lifeline to struggling farmers. Whether it also brings death to their water supply is something we won’t find out by listening to only half of the debate.

via ‘FrackNation,’ a Documentary – NYTimes.com.

July 28, 2012

Scientists Develop Microchip Version of the Human Body

A microchip version of the human body is currently in development. The final device won’t look much like a person, but it will host real human cells and have the same basic functions as 10 major human organs.

The device’s makers hope it will become a high-tech testing ground for new drugs, replacing lab animals in some studies, they say.

Researchers at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have already re-created the functions of a few human organs on fingertip-size chip devices, including a lung-on-a-chip and a gut-on-a-chip.

The institute is now announcing it’s starting a project to develop 10 such chips and wire them together so they can interact in one complex system. Institute scientists will also build a controller for the chips that will send fluids in and out of the system and measure the biochemistry inside.

Just as a computer microchip holds an electric circuit, biological microchips hold circuits of hollow channels that can carry liquids. The chip’s channels are lined with human cells and designed to mimic an organ in miniature. The channels in the gut-on-a-chip, for example, are lined with human intestinal cells and seeded with the beneficial bacteria that naturally live inside people’s intestines, according to the Wyss Institute.

The gut-on-a-chip’s channels also stretch and compress, mimicking the muscular movements that human intestines make to move food along. Each chip is made of transparent, flexible plastic so scientists can observe what’s happening inside.

Researchers hope a human body-on-a-chip will be a better testing ground for new drugs. The National Institutes of Health think the device may be a faster, cheaper way of testing drugs, agency officials said in a statement.

The Wyss scientists hope their system will be an alternative to rats and other lab animals, as many new drugs appear to work in animals, but don’t work when tested in humans, they say.

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects has signed a $37 million deal with the Wyss Institute for the body-on-a-chip project. Meanwhile, the NIH has given out about $13 million to several other labs to develop other organs-on-a-chip.

via Scientists Develop Microchip Version of the Human Body.

February 13, 2012

UT Report Finds Electric Cars in China Worse for Public Health

• Electric cars are often assumed to be better for the environment and therefore better for public health.

• A study by the University of Tennessee of electric vehicles in China, however, found that when you factor in where and how the energy for those vehicles is produced, the result is actually worse for public health when compared to gas-powered cars.

• Several factors, including proximity of homesteads to the power plant, use of coal for energy production and number of electric vehicles, contributed to these findings.

• Experts say different sources of electricity, cleaner coal-fired power plants and fewer communities near these plants in the United States makes this type of a pollution less of a risk here.

According to new research from the, electric cars in China have had anoverall worse impact on the public health with regard to releasing particulate matter compared to those guzzling gas. The research conducted by Chris Cherry, assistant professor in civil and environmental engineering, and graduate student Shuguang Ji, evaluated 34 major Chinese cities where electric vehicles, including bikes, outnumber conventional vehicles 2:1. Their research states that the number of electric cars have grown to more than 100 million in the country in the last decade.

via UT Report Finds Electric Cars in China Worse for Public Health | TheBlaze.com.

January 27, 2012

Sixteen Concerned Scientists: No Need to Panic About Global Warming

Leftist Vision of the Earth

There’s no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to ‘decarbonize’ the world’s economy.

In September, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Ivar Giaever, a supporter of President Obama in the last election, publicly resigned from the American Physical Society (APS) with a letter that begins: “I did not renew [my membership] because I cannot live with the [APS policy] statement: ‘The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.’ In the APS it is OK to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves, but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible?”

In spite of a multidecade international campaign to enforce the message that increasing amounts of the “pollutant” carbon dioxide will destroy civilization, large numbers of scientists, many very prominent, share the opinions of Dr. Giaever. And the number of scientific “heretics” is growing with each passing year. The reason is a collection of stubborn scientific facts.

via Sixteen Concerned Scientists: No Need to Panic About Global Warming – WSJ.com.

December 27, 2011

Entertainment Corporations are Lobbying to Entertain us by force. SOPA is the end of us, say bloggers –

PopModal will be targeted for extinction.

EDITORS NOTE: It is not to hard to suppose, by the nature of Congress’s action on this matter, how out of touch they are with the American people. Both Liberal and Conservative citizen grassroot activists agree that this bill should not even be up for a vote.

This is where I personally feel the cozy nature of special interests with Big Government are usurping the Constitution of the United States. If the entertainment industry feels so threatened by the internet then they should stop entertaining us. They should stop trying to entertain us by force. People, do not assume the corporate CEO’s of the entertainment business are creative thinkers , they are not. They did not start the companies they run, they just perpetuate them. They are not Steve Jobs, who was a creative thinker and beat them at their own game. Now these pseudo fascists think the only way to make a profit is to force people to buy their products. God save us if they succeed.

Read this article on what damages to our freedom and liberty these measures would do while destroying the internet.

Visit this website to learn how you can contact your Rep in Congress and let them know how you feel about theses bils.

Jeffers M. Dodge

—————

By TIM MAK | 12/27/11 12:37 PM EST

The conservative and liberal blogospheres are unifying behind opposition to Congress’s Stop Online Piracy Act, with right-leaning bloggers aruging their very existence could be wiped out if the anti-piracy bill passes.

“If either the U.S. Senate’s Protect IP Act (PIPA) & the U.S. House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) become law, political blogs such as Red Mass Group [conservative] & Blue Mass Group [liberal] will cease to exist,” wrote a blogger at Red Mass Group.

Some have asserted that the controversial measures would criminalize pages and blogs that link to foreign websites dedicated to online piracy. In particular, this has concerned search engines like Google, which could face massive liability if some form of the bill passes, some say.

“Of course, restrictions of results provided by Internet search engines amount to just that: prior restraint of their free expression of future results. Google and others, under SOPA, are told what they can or can’t publish before they publish it. Kill. The. Bill,” conservative blogger Neil Stevens argued at RedState.

Liberals had their own spin on it, cheering on the fact that corporate support for SOPA was starting to subside.

In particular, GoDaddy, a domain registration firm, suffered a spectacularly bad round of PR when it came out in support of the measures. But after a grass-roots campaign to boycott the firm, driven by Reddit, an online community, and others, GoDaddy reversed course and renounced its support.

“Some good news on the SOPA front: Its corporate base of supporters is starting to crumble,” David Dayden wrote at Firedoglake. “GoDaddy is not alone. Scores of law firms are requesting their names be removed from the Judiciary Committee’s official list of SOPA supporters.”

In the blogosphere, the trajectory of the bill seemed set — that it is destined for failure if the pressure of the online community is kept up.

“The dynamic is clear. Once SOPA — and its Senate counterpart, Protecting IP Act, or PIPA — became high-profile among the Internet community, the lazy endorsements from companies and various hangers-on became toxic. And now, those supporters are scrambling, hollowing out the actual support for the bill. Suddenly, a bill with ‘widespread’ corporate support doesn’t have much support at all,” Dayden said.

Conservatives took a slightly different tact, though with similar disdain for the anti-piracy measures.

Indeed, blogger Erick Erickson said that he would encourage a primary for any Republican who supports the bill.

“I love Marsha Blackburn. She is a delightful lady and a solidly conservative member of Congress. And I am pledging right now that I will do everything in my power to defeat her in her 2012 reelection bid” due to her co-sponsorship for SOPA, Erickson wrote at RedState. “Congress has proven it does not understand the Internet. Perhaps they will understand brute strength against them at the ballot box. If members of Congress do not pull their name from co-sponsorship of SOPA, the left and right should pledge to defeat each and every one of them.”

via SOPA is the end of us, say bloggers – Tim Mak – POLITICO.com.

November 25, 2011

Climategate 2.0: New E-Mails Rock The Global Warming Debate – Corruption exposed again.

How to spin a lie.

A new batch of 5,000 emails among scientists central to the assertion that humans are causing a global warming crisis were anonymously released to the public yesterday, igniting a new firestorm of controversy nearly two years to the day after similar emails ignited the Climategate scandal.

Three themes are emerging from the newly released emails: (1) prominent scientists central to the global warming debate are taking measures to conceal rather than disseminate underlying data and discussions; (2) these scientists view global warming as a political “cause” rather than a balanced scientific inquiry and (3) many of these scientists frankly admit to each other that much of the science is weak and dependent on deliberate manipulation of facts and data.

Regarding scientific transparency, a defining characteristic of science is the open sharing of scientific data, theories and procedures so that independent parties, and especially skeptics of a particular theory or hypothesis, can replicate and validate asserted experiments or observations. Emails between Climategate scientists, however, show a concerted effort to hide rather than disseminate underlying evidence and procedures.

“I’ve been told that IPCC is above national FOI [Freedom of Information] Acts. One way to cover yourself and all those working in AR5 would be to delete all emails at the end of the process,”writes Phil Jones, a scientist working with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in a newly released email.

“Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get – and has to be well hidden,” Jones writes in another newly released email. “I’ve discussed this with the main funder (U.S. Dept of Energy) in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data.”

The original Climategate emails contained similar evidence of destroying information and data that the public would naturally assume would be available according to freedom of information principles. “Mike, can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith [Briffa] re AR4 [UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 4th Assessment]?” Jones wrote to Penn State University scientist Michael Mann in an email released in Climategate 1.0. “Keith will do likewise. … We will be getting Caspar [Ammann] to do likewise. I see that CA [the Climate Audit Web site] claim they discovered the 1945 problem in the Nature paper!!”

The new emails also reveal the scientists’ attempts to politicize the debate and advance predetermined outcomes.

“The trick may be to decide on the main message and use that to guid[e] what’s included and what is left out” of IPCC reports, writes Jonathan Overpeck, coordinating lead author for the IPCC’s most recent climate assessment.

“I gave up on [Georgia Institute of Technology climate professor] Judith Curry a while ago. I don’t know what she thinks she’s doing, but its not helping the cause,” wrote Mann in another newly released email.

via Climategate 2.0: New E-Mails Rock The Global Warming Debate – Forbes.

November 22, 2011

Computerised contact lens will keep you up to date with news and texts

How it might work.

Imagine catching up with your texts, social networking and perhaps the news  without having to log on to a computer or even glance at  a smartphone.

Messages and images would simply appear in front of your eyes, generated by a computerised contact lens.

Of course, you may not always want to be bothered by such messages if you are doing anything so quaint as – for instance – reading a book or going out walking and enjoying the scenery.

But until now the concept of info-vision – the ability to stream information across a person’s field of vision – had belonged to the realms of science fiction, featuring in films such as the Terminator series or TV shows such as Torchwood.

However, scientists have developed a prototype lens that could one day provide the wearer with all kinds of hands-free information.

It could also be used to display directions and TV programmes.

via Computerised contact lens will keep you up to date with news and texts | Mail Online.

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