Archive for the 'Science' Category

“President Trump on Monday drastically scaled back two national monuments established in Utah by his Democratic predecessors”

Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

The Washington Post: Trump shrinks two huge national monuments in Utah, drawing praise and protests.

“Trump’s move to shrink the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments by more than 1.1 million acres and more than 800,000 acres, respectively, immediately sparked an outpouring of praise from conservative lawmakers as well as activists’ protests outside the White House and in Utah. It also plunges the Trump administration into uncharted legal territory since no president has sought to modify monuments established under the 1906 Antiquities Act in more than half a century.

His decision removes about 85 percent of the designation of Bears Ears and nearly 46 percent of that for Grand Staircase-Escalante, land that potentially could now be leased for energy exploration or opened for specific activities such as motorized vehicle use.

Trump told a rally in Salt Lake City that he came to “reverse federal overreach” and took dramatic action “because some people think that the natural resources of Utah should be controlled by a small handful of very distant bureaucrats located in Washington. And guess what? They’re wrong.”

“They don’t know your land, and truly, they don’t care for your land like you do,” he added. “But from now on, that won’t matter.””

Read Garret’s opinion on the matter over at dangerousmeta: Ignore the Administration. Ignore the media.

“At 13 billion miles from Earth, there’s no mechanic shop nearby to get a tune-up.”

Monday, December 4th, 2017

JPL CalTech: Voyager 1 Fires Up Thrusters After 37 Years

Voyager 1, NASA’s farthest and fastest spacecraft, is the only human-made object in interstellar space, the environment between the stars. The spacecraft, which has been flying for 40 years, relies on small devices called thrusters to orient itself so it can communicate with Earth. These thrusters fire in tiny pulses, or “puffs,” lasting mere milliseconds, to subtly rotate the spacecraft so that its antenna points at our planet. Now, the Voyager team is able to use a set of four backup thrusters, dormant since 1980.

“With these thrusters that are still functional after 37 years without use, we will be able to extend the life of the Voyager 1 spacecraft by two to three years,” said Suzanne Dodd, project manager for Voyager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.”

Link via MetaFilter.

Some eye candy: Voyager Images from the Odysseys (NASA Space Photos) (YouTube, 2:48min)

Ka-boom!

Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

NPR Here and Now: 75 Years Ago, Scientists Conducted An Unprecedented Nuclear Experiment.

“Seventy-five years ago this week, scientists from the University of Chicago created the first controlled, self-sustained nuclear chain reaction, a feat that was essential in the development of an atomic bomb during World War II.

Enrico Fermi and his team of physicists secretly conducted the Chicago Pile 1 experiment on a squash court under the stands of a football stadium on Dec. 2, 1942. The anniversary of this unprecedented achievement comes as tensions escalate between the U.S. and North Korea, which launched a new ballistic missile on Tuesday.”

“… and you just type whatever I say without thinking…”

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

The New York Times: Laptops Are Great. But Not During a Lecture or a Meeting.. By Susan Dynarski.

“In a series of experiments at Princeton University and the University of California, Los Angeles, students were randomly assigned either laptops or pen and paper for note-taking at a lecture. Those who had used laptops had substantially worse understanding of the lecture, as measured by a standardized test, than those who did not.
[…]
Most college students are legal adults who can serve in the armed forces, vote and own property. Why shouldn’t they decide themselves whether to use a laptop?

The strongest argument against allowing that choice is that one student’s use of a laptop harms the learning of students around them.
[…]
The best evidence available now suggests that students should avoid laptops during lectures and just pick up their pens. It’s not a leap to think that the same holds for middle and high school classrooms, as well as for workplace meetings.”

Link via MetaFilter.

“If there’s a virus anywhere in the world, it could just come back in.”

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

Gizmodo: The Last of the Iron Lungs. “In 2013, the Post-Polio Health International (PPHI) organizations estimated that there were six to eight iron lung users in the United States. Now, PPHI executive director Brian Tiburzi says he doesn’t know anyone alive still using the negative-pressure ventilators. This fall, I met three polio survivors who depend on iron lungs. They are among the last few, possibly the last three.” Includes a 7:00min video.

“But another thing they all had in common is a desire for the next generations to know about them so we’ll realize how fortunate we are to have vaccines. “When children inquire what happened to me, I tell them the nerve wires that tell my muscles what to do were damaged by a virus,” Mona [Randolph] said. “And ask them if they have had their vaccine to prevent this. No one has ever argued with me.”

[Paul] Alexander told me that if he had kids he would have made sure they were vaccinated. “Now, my worst thought is that polio’s come back,” he said. “If there’s so many people who’ve not been—children, especially—have not been vaccinated… I don’t even want to think about it.”

[Martha] Lillard is heartbroken when she meets anti-vaccine activists. “Of course, I’m concerned about any place where there’s no vaccine,” she said. “I think it’s criminal that they don’t have it for other people and I would just do anything to prevent somebody from having to go through what I have. I mean, my mother, if she had the vaccine available, I would have had it in a heartbeat.””

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I remember the posters in doctor’s offices during my childhood: Schluckimpfung ist süß – Kinderlähmung ist grausam. (Translation: Oral vaccination is sweet, polio is cruel.)