Category Archives: Science

Ärmere Familien stärker betroffen

Deutsche Welle: Studie weist Plastikrückstände in Kindern nach. “Das Umweltbundesamt hat in einer Studie bei fast allen untersuchten Kindern Kunststoffe im Körper gefunden. Bei bestimmten Stoffen ist die Belastung gesundheitlich bedenklich.”

“Auf 15 unterschiedliche Plastikinhaltsstoffe wurden insgesamt 2500 Kinder untersucht. Die Studie erstreckte sich auf den Zeitraum von 2003 bis 2017. Das Ergebnis alarmiert:

“Abbauprodukte von elf der 15 untersuchten Plastikinhaltsstoffen wurden im Urin von 97 Prozent aller Kinder gefunden. Das ist natürlich dramatisch. Solche Stoffe gehören nicht in den Körper der Kinder”, sagte die umweltpolitische Sprecherin der Grünen-Bundestagsfraktion, Bettina Hoffmann.

Hinzu komme, dass solche hormonstörenden Stoffe möglicherweise Zivilisationskrankheiten wie Fettleibigkeit, Fruchtbarkeitsstörungen, Krebs und Entwicklungsverzögerungen verursachen könnten.”

USA 224

NPR: Amateurs Identify U.S. Spy Satellite Behind President Trump’s Tweet.

“Amateur satellite trackers say they believe an image tweeted by President Trump on Friday came from one of America’s most advanced spy satellites.

The image almost certainly came from a satellite known as USA 224, according to Marco Langbroek, a satellite-tracker based in the Netherlands. The satellite was launched by the National Reconnaissance Office in 2011. Almost everything about it remains highly classified, but Langbroek says that based on its size and orbit, most observers believe USA 224 is one of America’s multibillion-dollar KH-11 reconnaissance satellites.
[…]
Melissa Hanham, a satellite imagery expert and deputy director of the Open Nuclear Network in Vienna, Austria […] says she is amazed a satellite can provide such clear imagery. Spy satellites must peer down through Earth’s atmosphere, which is a bit like trying to look at objects in the bottom of a swimming pool. They also must snap their pictures while whizzing across the sky. Both effects can blur the fine details in images.

“I’m now scratching my head and curious about how they account for the effects of the atmosphere and motion of the objects,” she says.

And she says she thinks she’s not alone. Others will be trying to use the image to learn more about how USA 224 works. “I imagine adversaries are going to take a look at this image and reverse-engineer it to figure out how the sensor itself works and what kind of post-production techniques they’re using,” she says.

Hanham questions whether Trump’s tweet zinging the Iranians was worth the information this image provides to other nations, but she adds: “It’s his decision as the president.””

Uranium from a footnote in the history books

NPR Science: Have You Seen Any Nazi Uranium? These Researchers Want To Know.

“Timothy Koeth’s office is crammed with radioactive relics — old watches with glowing radium dials, pieces of melted glass from beneath the test of the world’s first nuclear weapon.

But there is one artifact that stands apart from the rest: a dense, charcoal-black cube, 2 inches on a side. The cube is made of pure uranium metal. It was forged more than 70 years ago by the Nazis, and it tells the little-known story of Germany’s nuclear efforts during World War II.”

See also:

Physics Today: Tracking the journey of a uranium cube. (01 May, 2019)

“In the summer of 2013, a cube of uranium two inches on a side and weighing about five pounds found its way to us at the University of Maryland. If the sudden appearance of the unusual metal cube wasn’t intriguing enough, it came with a note that read, “Taken from the reactor that Hitler tried to build. Gift of Ninninger.””