Science News of the Day

Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Dardedar » Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:09 am

[quote="Doug"]Tethered Wind Turbine

DAR
Hmmm, doesn't look very efficient. As one person noted:

"What kind of “long flexible cable” conducts megawatts? As the generator cannot be grounded, yer gonna need two conductors. High amps won’t do it unless superconducting. An ultra-high voltage spike extending 30 stories high invites… adventures."

Just saw an article on a kite energy:

Image

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I don't think these are going to have efficiency and durability of windmills.
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Doug » Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:48 pm

Darrel wrote:I don't think these are going to have efficiency and durability of windmills.


DOUG
Well, you are right that the cable is a problem with the tethered wind turbine, but it may be possible to just use a regular tether and send the generated electricity to earth using microwaves or some other non-cable means. Remember, we now have the technology to send energy without using conductive metal cables.

On the downside for tethered wind turbines, they are so heavy they require helium to keep them up, and there isn't enough helium to have so may millions of turbines aloft that they can supply the whole world (according to some websites). Kites don't need any helium.

But kites have another problem. Their generators are on the ground, which is a plus, but they can't generate as much electricity because (except for the carousel one you pictured) they typically use a method of turning a crank by the natural ebb and flow of wind currents, which is not very fast.

Each of them suffers from the problem of having to be reeled in during really intense weather. As some websites point out, though, if the cable snaps on a kite, you're out just a few hundred bucks when the kite flies away. With the wind turbine, you may be out thousands of dollars because it has much more built into it.
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Dardedar » Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:43 pm

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British Medical Association Says Homeopathy Is Witchcraft!

Hundreds of members of the BMA have passed a motion denouncing the use of the alternative medicine, saying taxpayers should not foot the bill for remedies with no scientific basis to support them.

The BMA has previously expressed scepticism about homoeopathy, arguing that the rationing body, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence should examine the evidence base and make a definitive ruling about the use of the remedies in the NHS.

Now, the annual conference of junior doctors has gone further, with a vote overwhelmingly supporting a blanket ban, and an end to all placements for trainee doctors which teach them homeopathic principles.

Dr Tom Dolphin, deputy chairman of the BMA’s junior doctors committee in England told the conference: “Homeopathy is witchcraft. It is a disgrace that nestling between the National Hospital for Neurology and Great Ormond Street [in London] there is a National Hospital for Homeopathy which is paid for by the NHS”.

...The Commons science and technology committee also said vials of the remedies should not be allowed to use phrases like “used to treat” in their marketing, as consumers might think there is clinical evidence that they work.

In evidence to the committee, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain said there was no possible reason why such treatments, marketed by an industry worth £40 million in this country, could be effective scientifically."

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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby kwlyon » Wed Jun 02, 2010 12:10 pm

Doug wrote:
Darrel wrote:I don't think these are going to have efficiency and durability of windmills.


DOUG
Well, you are right that the cable is a problem with the tethered wind turbine, but it may be possible to just use a regular tether and send the generated electricity to earth using microwaves or some other non-cable means. Remember, we now have the technology to send energy without using conductive metal cables.

On the downside for tethered wind turbines, they are so heavy they require helium to keep them up, and there isn't enough helium to have so may millions of turbines aloft that they can supply the whole world (according to some websites). Kites don't need any helium.


Transmission down the cable would not be that big of a deal. We routinely step voltages up to almost a million volts for long distance transmission. Thus a megawatt would only consist of about an amp of current down the tether. The problem is getting something as heavy as a line transformer up in the air! This would be the same issue one would have trying to lift a heavy high powered microwave transmitter. I am not sure we have the technology to pull this off at present--at least not practically. However the Helium issue is certainly something to consider. Take a gander at this article. It is interesting.

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/8.08/helium.html

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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Dardedar » Mon Jun 14, 2010 10:28 am

I had a friend over and he showed me this most excellent Dawkins link. Absolute morality in a nutshell.

So that's morality. Reason, observation and critical thinking give results that work and thus the best results, obviously. Religion, and believing because of authority, established belief, tradition and superstition don't work and give us very undesirable results. That's the test, religion fails.

But how about science? Same thing.

Want to see an example of science giving us the "right" answer once again? Watch this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52gfWh-3Wn0

It's a baby that was deaf, now hearing his mother's voice for the very first time due to his freshly installed cochlear implants.

That's science baby, and unlike praying and smearing the blood of a sacrificed goat on your right toe (Leviticus 14), science produces results that fucking work.

D.
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Doug » Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:06 am

Darrel wrote: Absolute morality in a nutshell.


DOUG
Yes, the best part is when Dawkins emphasizes how the morality he prefers is a morality that is "thought-out, reasoned, argued, discussed, and based on...intelligent design."

Darrel wrote:So that's morality. Reason, observation and critical thinking give results that work and thus the best results, obviously. Religion, and believing because of authority, established belief, tradition and superstition don't work and give us very undesirable results. That's the test, religion fails.


DOUG
Well, it is a matter of definition whether something gives the "best results." Before you can even discuss what works best you have to determine what would count as one outcome being better than another, and whether you want to measure moral systems by outcomes at all. On deontological ethical systems, the outcomes don't count at all--all that counts is following the moral rules no matter what happens as a result.

For example, on Immanuel Kant's deontological system, lying is always wrong. No matter what, you should never lie. So the philosopher A.C. Ewing asks: what if you are a diplomat who is put in a situation such that when you are asked about something by a foreign representative, if you lie you can avert a war, but if you tell the truth you will start WWIII and millions will die. Which gives the best results? For Kant, the fact that millions would die if you tell the truth has no bearing on whether you should tell the truth. So you should tell the truth no matter what the outcome.

The divine command theory can be considered a subset of deontological theories. The process Dawkins describes sounds like it is definitely not a deontological view. It may be any of several other kinds, but it isn't deontological.
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Savonarola » Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:13 am

Darrel wrote:Want to see an example of science giving us the "right" answer once again? Watch this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52gfWh-3Wn0

It's a baby that was deaf, now hearing his mother's voice for the very first time due to his freshly installed cochlear implants.

That's science baby, and unlike praying and smearing the blood of a sacrificed goat on your right toe (Leviticus 14), science produces results that fucking work.
... which is why prayer (and prayers) can eat their fucking hearts out.
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Dardedar » Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:43 pm

Jeez, can't Kant work a little fudge room, a little utilitarianism into this theory just to cover those really extraordinary cases? He was a smart guy. You would think he could have figured out how to do that.
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Doug » Mon Jun 14, 2010 5:18 pm

Darrel wrote:Jeez, can't Kant work a little fudge room, a little utilitarianism into this theory just to cover those really extraordinary cases? He was a smart guy. You would think he could have figured out how to do that.


DOUG
He didn't want to do that. He thought you could combine logic and ethics in such a way that logic could serve as a check against morality. But this only works if you examine only the concepts of morality to check for contradictions. Consequences would make each ethical determination independent of any other and make it too subjective.

Kant was like Rorschach in Watchmen: "No compromise, even in the face of Armageddon..."
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Dardedar » Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:28 am

In my exchanges with "radical theocrat libertarian, Bigfoot Ed" he would go on about evolution being the same as creationism because it is has "assumptions." Well that's true. As I pointed out, all claims have assumptions. What matters is if those assumptions are warranted rather than mere assertion based upon wishful thinking. Here is another example, on the Mt. Everest sized pile of examples, showing that biology (and by that I mean evolutions assumptions) got it's assumptions right and got the right answer in a way anyone can see:

Medical Breakthrough: Restoring Sight to the Blind

Stem cells from one's own eye can bring new sight to those blinded by burns.

See short video clip from ABC News.
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Savonarola » Thu Jun 24, 2010 10:45 am

Darrel wrote:In my exchanges with "radical theocrat libertarian, Bigfoot Ed" he would go on about evolution being the same as creationism because it is has "assumptions." Well that's true. As I pointed out, all claims have assumptions.
What assumptions are required for support evolutionary theory?

In my recent conversation with the roving preacher, each of us traced our positions back to required assumptions.
His assumptions: God exists and has existed for all time.
My assumption: The universe exists.

I proceeded to point out that my assumption isn't an assumption at all. It's a conclusion based on observation. Even he acknowledged that it is reasonable to accept that the universe exists, so if he wants to count it as an assumption, it must get added to his list of assumptions, too.
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Doug » Fri Jun 25, 2010 7:48 pm

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Apple cofounders Steve Jobs And Steve Wozniak are household names.

But there's a third, "lost" Apple cofounder: Ron Wayne, 76, who owned a 10% stake in the company that he sold just 11 days after it came into existence for $800. Today, it would be worth $22 billion.

"I felt that the way these guys were going, they would bulldoze their way through anything to make this company succeed, but it was going to be a very rough ride and if I wasn't careful, I'd end up the richest man in the cemetery," Wayne tells CNN, explaining why he wanted out.

"Unfortunately, my whole life has been a day late and a dollar short," he previously told Mercury News.

Although Wayne designed the first Apple logo and wrote the manual for the Apple 1 computer, he confesses, "I've never owned an Apple product."

Wayne now lives in a simple ranch house in Pahrump, Nevada, his net worth "tied up in his coin and stamp collection, according to CNN.

See here.
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Doug » Thu Jul 08, 2010 10:55 am

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PAYERNE, Switzerland — An experimental solar-powered plane completed its first 24-hour test flight successfully Thursday, proving that the aircraft can collect enough energy from the sun during the day to stay aloft all night.

The test brings the Swiss-led project one step closer to its goal of circling the globe using only energy from the sun.

Pilot Andre Borschberg eased the Solar Impulse out of the clear blue morning sky onto the runway at Payerne airfield about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southwest of the Swiss capital Bern at exactly 9 a.m. (0700 GMT; 3 a.m. EDT).

Helpers rushed to stabilize the pioneering plane as it touched down, ensuring that its massive 207-foot (63-meter) wingspan didn't scrape the ground and topple the craft.

...The team says it has now demonstrated that the single-seat plane can theoretically stay in the air indefinitely, recharging its depleted batteries using 12,000 solar cells and nothing but the rays of the sun during the day.

But while the team says this proves that emissions-free air travel is possible, it doesn't see solar technology replacing conventional jet propulsion any time soon.

Instead, the project's overarching purpose is to test and promote new energy-efficient technologies. The team will now start to build a second solar plane that will be more efficient and have a larger cockpit to allow for longer flights. That plane should be ready for international flights by 2013, said Borschberg.

The round-the-world flight will eventually be made with five stops along the way.

See the article here.

See their website at: http://www.solarimpulse.com/
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Doug » Wed Jul 14, 2010 10:14 am

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"May I See Your Papers?"

Countries Look to Robot Armies for Border Defense...

European Union: Europe's answer to the United States' high-tech border fence is TALOS, which combines unmanned ground vehicles and sensors. TALOS is intended to "help in detecting, tracking and intercepting persons trying to cross the land border illegally between the border crossing points," according to an official description. The system would theoretically include guard robots that would spot people illegally crossing a border and even have special "interceptor" robots to confront intruders. There are no plans, however, for armed robots.

See here.
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby kwlyon » Wed Jul 14, 2010 5:56 pm

Seems like a serious waist of money at a time when resources are tight...
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Doug » Thu Jul 15, 2010 2:15 am

kwlyon wrote:Seems like a serious waist [sic] of money at a time when resources are tight...


DOUG writes:
Yes, but some company called Skynet, with a lot of clout, is setting this up...
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby kwlyon » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:19 am

Doug wrote:
kwlyon wrote:Seems like a serious waist [huked onn foniks wurked four mee] of money at a time when resources are tight...


DOUG writes:
Yes, but some company called Skynet, with a lot of clout, is setting this up...


If it will get me in Summer Glau's pants I will gladly vote for it...
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Dardedar » Fri Jul 16, 2010 10:23 am

Science and Democracy II: Dumbing Ourselves to Death

Oiling spewing into the gulf, ecosystems and economies facing irrevocable harm, long-term energy systems that must be rethought from the ground up. All of this was on the table when the president addressed the nation from the Oval Office on June 17.

What gets reported the next day? Well of course folks on the right hated it for one reason and folks on the left hated it for another but what hit me hard was a headline on CNN telling us the speech failed because it was pitched over the head of the American people. Its level was too high. And what level might that be? The Tenth grade.

According to one CNN analyst, a Paul J.J. Payback,

Obama's nearly 10th-grade-level rating was the highest of any of his major speeches and well above the grade 7.4 of his 2008 "Yes, we can" victory speech, which many consider his best effort, Payack said.

"The scores indicate that this was not Obama at his best, especially when attempting to make an emotional connection to the American people," he added.


And there in lies the problem, the whole problem, the deep problem that we all face. We live in a world of staggering complexity, a world poised at a dangerous turning point with science and technology living at root of both our problems and our possibilities. And yet, in this poised world and at this critical moment, our leaders are expected to speak to us as if we were seventh graders. Anything else is considered too highhanded, too professorial for the American public. (Do professors teach tenth grade?)

NPR
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Dardedar » Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:33 pm

Cat Has Predicted 50 Deaths At A Nursing Home

"Oscar the Cat has sensed 50 deaths at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, Rhode Island. On a typical day, Oscar remains distanced from patients except for those few who face hours until death. The cat keeps vigil, remaining by their sides until they pass. Read an article about Oscar's psychic talents by Dr. David Dosa, geriatrician at the Center. Dr. Dosa published a book, "Making the Rounds With Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat"."

Image

Huff Po

Oh for God's sake, the cat is killing the people! He's a murderer. The grim reaper! Get that cat away from people.
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby tmiller51 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:09 pm

I'm thinking that the cat really just wants to lay on something sort of warm that doesn't move around a lot, like someone who's dying.
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