Monday, April 6, 2009

In The Zone

Fuel For Thought

Dead Zone in Gulf of Mexico.

This week, environmental arguments against corn-derived ethanol and mandates to blend more ethanol into gasoline got extra ammo with a new study showing that growing enough corn to meet renewable fuel standards will mean increasing the “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico, as the Wall Street Journal reports.

Life On Mars

Picture of Mars from Google Maps

There was an article in, by Lisa Zyga, about fingerprints. It was in essence, a review of a study called;

"The Role of Fingerprints in the Coding of Tactile Information Probed with a Biomimetic Sensor." J. Scheibert, S. Leurent, A. Prevost, and G. Debregeas (13 March 2009) Science 323 (5920), 1503. DOI: 10.1126/science.1166467

via: CERN Courier and Science

I got the feeling that she didn't read the study, because her speculations were misleading and off topic from the report. It did however spark a lively bunch of comments from people who were perfect examples of our faulty educational system. The Article.

I felt the need to comment in the hopes of steering the discussion back to the role of fingerprints with the following comment from, Happy Phil;

"The natural world is constructed with fractal geometry. No two leaves, or snowflakes are exactly alike. The stuff we design and manufacture uses Euclidean geometry, (Circles, Squares, Triangles). The study did, however, create a sensing device based on the general dimensions and spacing of fingerprints that showed a greater signal at the same frequencies that our brain uses for the sense of touch. It seems our fingerprints are enhanced sensory devices."

Mt. Redoubt, indubitably.
Is that a bird or an airplane?

, a large petroleum storage facility was built in the path of the volcanic mud flow, and 6.3 million gallons of oil could be lost.

Nano Supercapacitor
The device is a supercapacitor, a circuit component that can temporarily store large amounts of electrical energy for release when needed. A team headed by Chongwu Zhou describes it a newly-published paper on "Flexible and Transparent Supercapacitor based on Indium Nanowire / Heterogeneous Films" in the journal (Vol.94, Issue 4, Page 043113, 2009).

Every day I find more
and more advances in nanotech research and development. There was also an article about a surfactant separation method that could be applied to separating carbon molecules from oxygen molecules.

In the current Nature Chemistry , the IBN scientists report that this novel material, named IBN-9 after the research institute, is the first hexagonal nanoscale construct with 3 unconnected interwoven channels. It is by far the most complex mesoporous nanostructure to have been synthesized in real-life and represents a new class of mesoporous materials, which consist of pores of 2-50 nanometers in size.

America really needs to get on the Buckyball. Most of these breakthroughs in nano science are taking place in other countries.

DNA Nanoparticle Connection

( -- Building on the idea of using DNA to link up nanoparticles — particles measuring mere billionths of a meter — scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory have designed a molecular assembly line for predictable, high-precision nano-construction. Such reliable, reproducible nanofabrication is essential for exploiting the unique properties of nanoparticles in applications such as biological sensors and devices for converting sunlight to electricity.

Powerful Pulsar

A small, dense object only twelve miles in diameter is responsible for this beautiful X-ray nebula that spans 150 light years. At the center of this image made by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory is a very young and powerful pulsar, known as PSR B1509-58.

At the center of this Chandra image, a pulsar -- only twelve miles in diameter -- is responsible for this X-ray nebula that spans 150 light years. This pulsar is spinning around almost 7 times a second and has a magnetic field at its surface estimated to be 15 trillion times stronger than the Earth's magnetic field.

What a miracle we are. Here we are, tiny creatures in an incomprehensibly vast universe, yet we are able to observe, marvel, and learn from objects like this pulsar, 150 light years distant. Life is amazing.

New Microphone

I received the MXL V63M microphone today. I like it.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Sultans Of Swing -Dire Straits

Life is good

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