Archive for the ‘Science & Math Info’ category

Boat made of recycled products sails across the Pacific:

July 27, 2010

Image Credit: Torsten Blackwood / AFP - Getty Images

 

In an effort to raise awareness of the perils of plastic waste, a crew of six spent four months guiding a 60 ft. catamaran across the Pacific ocean. The hull of the Plastiki is constructed of 12, 500 plastic bottles that are connected with organic glue. The mast is made from recycled aluminum irrigation pipe. Solar panels and wind mills provided the onboard power during the 8,000 nautical mile journey.

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First Photos From NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory

April 23, 2010

The first photographs from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory were released this week.  In this photo, you can seen a huge loop of material shooting up from the sun’s surface.  This is known as a prominence eruption.

Image credit: NASA

Earth Day 2010: Celebrating The Earth For 40 Years

April 22, 2010

Navy’s Green Hornet to Launch Tomorrow

April 21, 2010
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Tomorrow, on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, the Navy’s specially designed F/A-18 jet, known as the Green Hornet, will take off over the Chesapeake Bay and will make the first attempt to break the sound barrier powered by biofuels.  A modified version of the Navy’s F/A-18 Hornet, the Green Hornet is powered by a blend of 50% petroleum and 50% biofuel, specifically, oil refined from the crushed seeds of the flowering Camelina sativa plant.  This is the first step in the Navy’s goal that half of naval energy consumption will come from alternative sources by 2020.  Not only good for the environment, it will help reduce dependency on foreign oil sources.

Backwards Orbiting Planets Discovered

April 14, 2010
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Several new exoplanets have been discovered that orbit backwards, that is, their rotation is opposite of that of their hosting star.  This is opposite of what is found in our own solar system.  But, when scientists looked back at older data, they found that this behavior is not unusual.  Out of a larger 27 planet sample, 6 were found to exhibit this behavior also.  These discoveries made lead to a revision of theories of planetary formation.

RNAi May Work in Humans

March 23, 2010
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A paper recently published in Nature offers evidence from a new study that nanotechnology may be successfully used in humans to target proteins associated with cancer, deliver medication, and turn off those proteins.  This study, using a mechanism called RNA interference (RNAi), is the first to use humans as subjects.  By targeting cancer at this level and avoiding healthy cells, negative side-effects as seen in chemotherapy would be significantly reduced.

New Way To Make Electricity?

March 16, 2010

Types of Carbon Nanotubes. Image credit: Michael Ströck/Wikipedia

Researchers at MIT have potentially discovered a new way to create electricity.  Using carbon nanotubes, which are only billionths of a meter across, the research team was able to create thermopower waves, a process they say could produce 100 times more energy than a lithium-ion battery.  To produce this wave, the team coated the nanotubes with a fuel. Using a laser or high-voltage spark, the fuel was ignited at one end of the tube.  The result was a fast-moving thermal wave that traveled along the length of the carbon nanotube.  The wave traveled about 10,000 times the typical speed of this chemical reaction and carried electrons with it, creating a voltage peak that was significantly higher than expected.