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Posts Tagged ‘climate change’

The Adventure of Links: Dec. 6, 2010

December 6, 2010 Leave a comment

In this week’s Adventure of Links you’ll find a supernova in a jar, mercury turning birds gay, and injecting pee into yourself to lose weight (yeah, seriously).

Astronomy

Size doesn’t matter. For stars I mean. No seriously, I was talking about stars…

Supernova in a jar. It’s actually not AS cool as it sounds (of course) but it’s still pretty cool.

boomerang shaped galaxy. I guess if you stare at them long enough they start to look like anything.

The amount of stars in the Universe has tripled. Interesting, but not life changing is it?

Creating a wheel for driving around on the surface of the moon is a pretty cool job.

Russia applied $2 billion to help clean up space junk.

Physics

Bank of Montreal gives the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics a hefty bit of funding. Wish I were smart enough to do that.

Canada boosts University research funding. Go Canada!

A dash on cinnamon is not only great in mashed potatoes (trust me) but can also help make gold nanoparticles.

Health

Huge fail found by Skeptic North. Story in the Globe and Mail (they have a high fail rate) about people injecting pregnant women’s pee into themselves to lost weight. Ewwww…

Large scale study shows obesity shortens your life span. I know, we knew that already, but its nice to have more data to back it up.

Harvard scientists reverse ageing in mice. But don’t get your hopes up about eternal life just yet.

Fun/Funny

Restoring the Diamond Sutra, the world’s oldest book.

Professor surgically installs a camera in the back of his head. Sounds comic-bookish, therefore it’s awesome.

Mercury turns birds homosexual. Umm…weird?

It was -30 here a couple of weeks ago. This is what happens to water when it’s that cold out.

Pink Floyd movie. Sweeeeeeet.

Women like romantic music. Thanks science.

Woman in Spain claims to own the Sun. Unsurprisingly, she’s full of crap.

Skepticism

theme park about Creationism. Not only is it stupid, it doesn’t even sound like fun.

Are you a nerd or a geek? Find out here.

Climate change denial comes almost exclusively from Republicans. Oh America, you are screwed.

Feel The Heat! US Approves Thermal Solar Power Plant

September 2, 2010 2 comments

Solar power is the future. There are lots of ideas for renewable energy out there, but I am convinced that solar will be the only energy source truly strong enough to handle our power needs.

So we got some good news to that end! The first solar thermal power plant in the United States just got approval to be built in the great (sunny) state of California.

The approval is for a 250-megawatt solar thermal power plant by the Beacon Solar Energy Project. The approval came as a direct result of the green energy incentives granted by President Obama.

The plant will operate on over 2000 acres of land and will use abut 521 million gallons of water annually.

So, I wrote a post awhile ago on the Physics of Solar Power. That post described how semi-conductors are used to make the more common photovolataic cells used to generate electricity using the sun’s energy.

Thermal solar plants work differently. What happens is that a series of parabolic mirrors are installed in long rows surrounding one large tower in the centre. The mirrors will follow the sun throughout the day they are angled in such a way that the sunlight will be focused on water filled tubes.

Thermal Solar Power uses mirrors to direct sunlight onto a central tower, heating water into steam and driving turbines.

These tubes will then get extremely hot, several thousand degrees in fact, and the steam generated will be used to spin turbines, and thus generate electricity.

Its a bit less fancy than the semi-conducting solar panels, but it produces electricity just the same. And 250 megawatts is nothing to sneeze at either; thats enough to power 200,000 homes!

And lets not stop there! The final approval of a 1000 megawatt solar thermal power plant (The Blythe Solar Power Project) is nearing completion. This plant will also be built in California, be 7000 acres large and will generate enough electricity to power 800,000 homes!

Climate Change Never Looked So Sexy…

July 9, 2010 1 comment

In similar fashion to my X-Rated X-Rays post, science has started to use sex to get its point across.

A northern Canadian magazine (yes, Canada has magazines. Even NORTHERN Canada has magazines) called Up Here has just released a swimsuit issue designed to raise awareness of climate change.

The magazine features some Canadian hotties (yes those exist too…) posing in front of some endangered arctic landscapes.

I like this idea. Some people claim it is sexist, and even suggest that they should also release a calendar featuring scantily clad guys to be fair.

I don’t completely agree with this. I think you’ll get more attention with girls in swimsuits than with guys in swimsuits. And even the models say they are happy with the issue since the photos were tastefully done, and the magazine is already garnering some attention to the issue of climate change.

Some people think that science shouldn’t need stunts like this. I completely agree with that sentiment, but this is the real world. People are bored with science. But girls in bikinis? Everyone can get on board with that.

Last week I went on a big rant about vaccines and the supposed link with autism to my girlfriend. I was frustrated that good information was being passed over for statements by Jenny McCarthy. My girlfriends advice? “Science should get some better PR people.”

She has a diploma in PR, and I think she is right. Science needs to start making some front page news, and I think this is a step in the right direction