Mercury: Coming from a Power Plant Not Near You

November 4th, 2007. By Dave Oei. 2,530 views.
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Chinese Coal Power Plant It’s bad enough that the United States uses coal-burning power plants that, as of 2000, were releasing 50 tons of toxic Mercury into the air yearly. How bad is Mercury? This bad. But at least the EPA has put rules in place to reduce emissions, over a period of…13 years. A step in the right direction? I suppose.

But just when the horizon is starting to look just that much more rosy, new reports suggest that Mercury originating from coal power plants in China are contaminating air, water, and fish in the United States. The effects are quantifiable and significant. What’s worse is there’s no end in sight. Ah, what a morbid way to end a post.

Photo: NationalHistoryMag.com
Source: Yahoo!

Squirrels….Are….Ok….To….Eat….Again

October 31st, 2007. By Dave Oei. 2,513 views.
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SquirrelIf you’re from New Jersey you’ve probably known about this for a while and have long since been able to breathe very longs signs of relief. Otherwise, this is news to you as it was to me. It turns out that the EPA had been doing routine testing of squirrels which lived near a dump to see if they were…er…fit for human consumption. The EPA said no because of elevated levels of lead found in their systems. But today, hurray-hurray, it turns out the EPA made a mistake with their testing and found that these squirrels were fine for eatin’ after all.

What does this have to do with science? Maybe….good scientists should try to repeat their results so they don’t have to unnecessarily inconvenience…uh…rodent eaters?

Note to PETA: Don’t shoot the messenger!
Recipes: Backwoods Bound
Song: Squirrels, by the Beastie Boys
Source: AFP

Elephant Walk and Kissin’ Up to Mama

October 30th, 2007. By Dave Oei. 2,281 views.
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Elephant WalkEcologists in Berkeley teamed with researchers from Save the Elephants and discovered that those elephants which herd with dominant matriarchs traveled significantly less for food when resources were scarce. I guess sometimes it is about who you know.
Source: Berkeley

New Chameleon-esq Gel – Not for Jello

October 30th, 2007. By Dave Oei. 5,167 views.
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GelsThe wonderminds at MIT have created a gel that can change colors quickly based on minute fluctuations in various environmental variables, such as humidity or temperature. The possibilities are seemingly endless, that is, except as a Jello coloring agent.
Source: MIT

Old Comet Comes to Life

October 29th, 2007. By Dave Oei. 2,332 views.
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CometNow visible to the naked eye, Comet 17P Holmes can be seen by looking in the constellation Perseus. Right now, there’s not much to see, but the view might prove noteworthy with a telescope.
Directions for finding the comet: Space.com.
Sample pictures: SkyAndTelescope.com.
Source: Harvard

Making Homer Proud

October 29th, 2007. By Dave. 2,300 views.
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BeerSometimes it’s not about building a better mousetrap, but building a device that dispenses beer much faster. These geniuses at TurboTap sell a special spout that ensures that beer travels with near laminar flow to minimize foam but maximize throughput. The result? Quick beer, good foam, burp.
Source: TurboTap

Pond Scum Reveals Animal / Plant Divergence

October 29th, 2007. By Dave. 2,427 views.
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AlgaeGeneticists at Stanford have dug their noses in pond scum, specifically, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii to shed insight into when this little organism spit from the animal kingdom. Turns out it was 1.6 billion years back. Plus or minus.
Source: Stanford

News to Snooze To

October 29th, 2007. By Dave. 2,348 views.
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sleep.jpgHow’s this for a guilt-less nap? Naps are good for your mental state, with positive effects lingering onto the following day. Plus, they don’t interfere with evening sleep. Siesta anybody?
Source: Cornell

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