Archive for the ‘Science!’ Category

Isolating Oil Spills

Posted on May 29th, 2008 in Science!, Tech News | 3 Comments »

Scientists have found a way to encase oil drops with a nanoparticle that behaves very interestingly. In water, these particles, which look like batons, orient themselves to surround oil. The reason they do this is because the carbon nanotube portion of the baton points inwards towards the oil and encases the oil. The other side of the baton is a gold particle. These nano-gold particles point the other way in a water solution as they are not as hydrophobic. This makes the oil droplets in water gold colored. In oil, the baton flips itself, so that the gold portion points inwards to the water. This makes water droplets in oil black colored. What is quite interesting, is that when hit by UV light or magnetic fields, the particles instantly flip and release whats inside.
This creates two interesting uses. It could be used to isolate oil spills by isolating oil, which requires some studies both on the environmental side, and on the practical side regarding actually implementing this. The second use that pops into mind is using these to deliver medication, site specifically. This of course depends on if the particles are harmful, if the encasement is strong enough, and if the amount of magnetic field is low enough to be used on humans. Interesting thoughts…

Check out the whole article on physorg

3d Pictures from the Phoenix

Posted on May 27th, 2008 in Computer software/hardware, Photos/Videoes, Science! | 1 Comment »

You know how NASA sometimes takes their stereo images of Mars and creates 3d anaglyphs from them? Well I have this software that lets you do this easily and so I decided to make some using the latest images from the Phoenix. Here are the two higher quality ones, and there are a few more that you can check out in this gallery.

You can find the original pictures here. (At this point they have actually posted one 3d image on their website)

The Phoenix has Landed :D

Posted on May 25th, 2008 in Science!, Tech News | Comments Off on The Phoenix has Landed :D

For those who have been following the news, disregard this 😛 but the NASA/Canadian Space Agency made Phoenix has landed on Mars and has broadcast pictures 😀
Just a quick little newslet hehe.

Perpetual Motion! for 10 seconds….

Posted on March 25th, 2008 in Science!, Things we should do more of | 1 Comment »

An interesting dilemma. Really…I mean, the first thing I thought of when I read the title was, huh?
I mean, firstly, perpetual motion…suuuuure. For 10 seconds? that makes it semi-believable, until you realize thats a direct contradiction 😛

But hey, its NIST. I mean, the scientists there think of new ways on how to make our definition of 1 second become even more exact. And I mean…MORE exact.
So, instead, they made perpetual motion, using bose einstein condensate. So, a long time ago I wrote up a little thing about what BSC actually is…well, too bad for you guys, I don’t feel like resurrecting the forums which have now become BOT TERRITORY. And therefore, let it suffice that it was made using BSC. The reason why it’s perpetual motion is because there is a total lack of friction. It’s at the lowest energy state, meaning there really CAN’T be energy loss.
Now, we gotta admit, right now, this is a totally useless thing. To maintain this toroid of BSC is energy consuming and essentially a power hole. However, since the liquid is moving indefinitely, this opens up the possibility of energy storage that is 100% conserved. There wouldn’t be a loss due to thermodynamics, unless you disrupt the BSC system. Who knows? This could become very useful later on.
Thanks Mark for finding the article, and thanks NIST scientsts 😛

Telepathic Chatting?

Posted on March 15th, 2008 in Computer software/hardware, Science!, Tech News | 1 Comment »

Heh….Well, you’d think this was out of a science fiction plot, but…people have developed a prototype to possible telepathic chat. Electronic of course.
There is a neckband that is worn to detect nerve signals you send to your vocal chords. However, there’s more…you can do this voicelessly, but still talk at the same time. It can differentiate between voiceless signal, and your normal talking.However, the problem at the moment, is that it can only detect about 150 words and phrases. Their working on a better version that detects phonemes, which would allow software to convert that into actual words. We’re getting there 🙂
Check out the entire article on

The Earth at Night

Posted on March 11th, 2008 in Lacking a Category, Photos/Videoes, Picture of the Day, Science!, Site of the Day, Sleep/Naptime! | Comments Off on The Earth at Night

Take a look at this very cool image of the Earth at night (thumbnail above)

The different colors are different sources of light – red is wildfire, purple/yellow is city light, green is natural gas flares, and blue is fishing fleet lights.
The image cites NASA’s Visible Earth 2001 as the source of the map, and the Defense Meteorological Satelite Program as the source for the light data.

PSA : Wear Your Seatbelt!

Posted on March 10th, 2008 in How To's, Photos/Videoes, Picture of the Day, PSA-Types, Science!, The Never Ending Story/Other FLB Events | Comments Off on PSA : Wear Your Seatbelt!

I’m not going to list reasons why you should wear your seatbelt.
I’m simply going to show you what happens when you DON’T wear your seatbelt.

If you’d like to have an impression of your face on the steering wheel at 30mph, thats up to you.

And, if you must have them :

In 2005, 43,443 people were killed in the estimated 6,159,000
police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes, 2,699,000 people were
injured, and 4,304,000 crashes involved property damage only.

It is estimated that seatbelts saved 15,632 lives in 2005.


Seventy-three percent of the passenger vehicle occupants who were in a
fatal crash in 2002 and were restrained survived; of those who were not
restrained, only 43 percent survived. [NHTSA, Traffic Safety Facts
2002, October 2003]

In fatal crashes, 73 percent of all
vehicle occupants who were totally ejected were killed. Only 1 percent
of restrained occupants were ejected. Safety belts are effective in
preventing total ejections. [NHTSA, Traffic Safety Facts 2002 –
Overview, July 2003]

In 2000, safety belts prevented nearly 11,900 fatalities and 325,000
serious injuries, saving $50 billion in medical care, lost
productivity, and other injury-related costs. [NHTSA, Economic Impact
of Crashes, May 2002]
In the year 2000, the total economic cost of
motor vehicle crashes in the United States was $230.6 billion. This
represents an amount equal to 2.3 percent of the gross domestic
product, or $820 for every person living in the United States. [NHTSA,
Economic Impact of Crashes, May 2002]

The lifetime economic cost to society for each fatality is over
$977,000. Over 80 percent of this amount is attributable to lost
workplace and household productivity. [NHTSA, Economic Impact of
Crashes, May 2002]

[Ed. comment – Even if YOU wear your seatbelt, and your buddy DOESN’T]

Overall, those not directly involved in crashes pay for nearly
three-quarters of all crashcosts, primarily through insurance premiums,
taxes and travel delay. In 2000 these costs, borne by society rather
than by crash victims, totaled over $170 billion. [NHTSA,Economic
Impact of Crashes, May 2002]

Stats from THIS page.

Meet the “Gravity Lamp”

Posted on February 24th, 2008 in Labs/Experiments, Lacking a Category, Science!, Tech News, Things we should do more of | Comments Off on Meet the “Gravity Lamp”

“A Virginia Tech student has won the Greener Gadget Award for a clever
LED lamp that gets all of its power from gravity, which is a seriously
renewable resource. Working kind of like a grandfather clock that needs
to be wound in order to work, the lamp has a weight that’s raised up
every day. As the day goes on, it slowly lowers, with that movement
powering the LEDs.”

Cool.  A lamp that I power (gravity brings the weight down, but I lift it up).
It doesn’t need to be plugged in.  Put it anywhere you want.  And its got a lifespan of 200 years of used for 8 hours a day.

Read more about the gravity lamp here :

Thinking about this lamp gives me some other interesting ideas.  What would happen if we applied something similar to weight lifting equipment?  Charge your cell phone each day with your workout?  How bout an LED gage that shows how much of a power-workout you’ve actually done?  There MUST be other ways to make functional gadgets from this idea.  What if you scaled this up to a larger weight that you carry up a staircase, with a slider that goes to the basement, and every time you go up the stairs, you take one of a few weights, to keep the cycle going.  We’re always complaining that Americans are overweight.  This would help us exercise, and could be a fun way to compete to see who can be “greenest.”

I almost want to try this on a huge scale.  I can picture a conveyor belt, with hundreds of cups that could be filled with sand, and a hopper at the top and at the bottom.  Put in in a busy office building, and get people to bring a cup of sand with them each time they go up in the building – be it via elevator, escalator, or stairs, and dump it into the hopper at the top.  See how long the conveyor could spin, how much sand it could move, and maybe how much power it could develop.

I like the idea of the LED Lamp, but even I have to admit that there are some problems with the idea on a larger scale.  Everything takes energy.  Gravity may pull the weight down, but I need to eat food to burn the calories to raise the weight up.  In an office building, the elevator needs to work harder to raise up that cup of sand.  It may be only a little bit more power, but its a cost none the less.

Thinking about this idea, though, leads to another idea.  One of the largest problems with wind energy and solar energy is that the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t always shine when we’re ready to use the power they generate.  What if we started looking at mechanical means of storing energy, instead of chemical means like batteries?  What if we used solar power to pump water during the day, running on extra power, then use the falling water to generate electricity during the night?  It’s not the most efficient system, because theres loss of energy due to friction, heat, maintenance of the pumps, etc.  But would it be cost effective?  How simple could the system be?  I don’t know that the idea is remotely plausible.  But its a thought.  If a grandfather clock ran run for decades with a simple winding of a key, or lifting of a weight, what else could we do with that little bit of power?

TEAM 0.5

Posted on February 6th, 2008 in Historic Technology, Labs/Experiments, Photos/Videoes, Picture of the Day, Science!, Tech News | 2 Comments »

A bit of science for us all. TEAM 0.5 has debuted. What is TEAM? Its the worlds most powerful transmission electron microscope. It gives images with .5 angstrom resolutions, which just so happens to be half the diameter of a single hydrogen atom. It’s located at NCEM at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. THey hope to setup a control room that shows the sample on a screen that looks like an HD flatscreen. 🙂 As of now, their opening date for outside users, is October 08. It corrects for a aberration that has long plagued such high res microscopes that make points of light look like disks. Fixing this has upped the resolution greatly. As of now, they can perform spectroscopy on one atom at a time, which allows scientists to precisely locate impurities of 1 atom per sample.
Here…is a mindblowing example:
Shown here is a gold crystal bridge. Those dots…..those are gold atoms

Thanks Eurekalert, and congrats to the folks at NCEM

Space (Two-Item post)

Posted on January 31st, 2008 in Historic Technology, Photos/Videoes, Science!, Tech News | Comments Off on Space (Two-Item post)

Item #1 : Space Shuttle Atlantis from above.
It’s a nice, large hi-res image too, much larger then shown here.

The Space Shuttle Atlantis begins the slow journey to Launch Pad 39A from
the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB).

This dramatic view looking directly down onto the Shuttle atop the Mobile
Launcher Platform (MLP) and crawler-transporter was taken from the VAB roof
approximately 525 feet (160 meters) above the ground. Atlantis is scheduled to
lift off on Mission STS-79 around September 12.” (Official full photo description)

More info about the image can be found here, along with larger/smaller versions of the image.

Ed. Note : Launched on Sept. 16, 1996, STS-79 spent 10 days, 3 hours and 19 mins. in space, landing Sept. 26 @ the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.  “The
new SPACEHAB Logistic Double Module (LDM) debuted
on STS-79, providing commercial logistics resupply
services for Phase I of the International Space
Station Program.”

Item #2 : NASA to beam “Across the Universe” by The Beatles into space on Feb. 4, at 7pm East Coast Time.

The transmission over NASA’s Deep Space Network will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the day The Beatles
recorded the song, as well as the 50th anniversary of NASA’s founding
and the group’s beginnings. NASA is full of anniversaries this week:
The launch 50 years ago this week of Explorer 1, the first
satellite, and the founding 45 years ago of the Deep Space Network, an
international network of antennas that supports missions to explore the

The transmission is being aimed at the North Star, Polaris,
which is located 431 light years away from Earth. The song will travel
across the universe at a speed of 186,000 miles per second.”