Posts Tagged With: news

Spring and Some Random Gripes

It took a while, after a long hard winter, but Spring finally arrived at the end of April.  For a while, it looked like we weren’t going to be able to get out to the field on time, and even if we did manage to get out there, getting on the lakes would require an icebreaker.  Fortunately, the ice broke up during the third week of April, and there were some warmer temperatures to help things dry out.    As the Memorial Day weekend approached, the “bad thing” about spring in the Adirondacks appeared:  Black flies.

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Thursday Science

One of the great tag lines for a movie was for the movie Alien:   “In space, no one can hear you scream.”    Well, scientists being the curious type, have decided to test that hypothesis.

A smartphone has been blasted into orbit from India by a team of researchers from the University of Surrey.

They hope to use a purpose-built app to test the theory, immortalised in the film Alien, that “in space no-one can hear you scream”.

The phone will play out several of the screams submitted by people online.

Hey, who knows, maybe you can hear a scream in space!

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More Metor!

Nice video of 2012 DA14 passing by the Earth:

 Video Credit & Copyright: Daniel López (El Cielo de Canarias)

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Meteors, Bigfoot, and a Frog

Yesterday was a busy day for space enthusiasts.  The “big news” leading into Friday was the close approach of asteroid 2012 DA14.   It was the subject of various news reports with astronomers being interviewed to reassure everyone that no, the asteroid would not hit Earth, it was going to be close (inside geosynchronous orbit) but not a danger.   The ultimate in “dumb questions” – yes, there are dumb questions! – was when a CNN anchor asked Bill Nye if the asteroid was the result of climate change.

“We want to bring in our science guy, Bill Nye, and talk about something else that’s falling from the sky, and that is an asteroid,” said Feyerick. “What’s coming our way? Is this the effect of, perhaps, global warming? Or is this just some meteoric occasion?”

“Except it’s all science,” Nye said rescuing Feyerick. “The word meteorology and the word meteor come from the same root, so…”

OK, if anyone wonders why the media has so little respect these days …

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Anti-Vaccination Conspiracies and Darwin

Way back in the early 60’s, I, along with my classmates, had to stand in line for a nurse to jab us several times with a pronged needle.  Almost 20 years later, I stood in another line while an Army medic did the same thing.  Yes, I was vaccinated against smallpox.  Today, of course, most people don’t get this vaccine because the risk isn’t worth it.

There are side effects and risks associated with the smallpox vaccine. In the past, about 1 out of 1,000 people vaccinated for the first time experienced serious, but non-life-threatening, reactions including toxic or allergic reaction at the site of the vaccination (erythema multiforme), spread of the vaccinia virus to other parts of the body, and to other individuals. Potentially life-threatening reactions occurred in 14 to 500 people out of every 1 million people vaccinated for the first time. Based on past experience, it is estimated that 1 or 2 people in 1 million (0.000198%) who receive the vaccine may die as a result, most often the result of postvaccinial encephalitis or severe necrosis in the area of vaccination (called progressive vaccinia).

The reason is that smallpox no longer exists as a disease.   There are two known stocks of it in freezers, but as a health threat, it isn’t.  But at the time, the risk of the disease far outweighed the risk of vaccination.

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We have no idea of the news!

Back in the mid-80’s my father finally was able to get cable television.    Very quickly he became a fan of C-SPAN, and one program in particular:  The morning news from Moscow.  Back then, C-SPAN used to run time-delayed the morning news show from Russian television.   Since my father was as anti-communist as you could get, often expounding at great length about the domino theory and the evils of the Soviet Union, this was a bit of a shock.   Of course, I had to tease him about it, and he responded.  “No, no, you don’t understand!  It’s really good!  Do you know how much is going on in this world that we don’t know about?”

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